News | January 15, 2024

Sun Yat-sen Hand-Annotated Manuscript Sold for $75,625 at Auction

RR Auction

Sun Yat-sen's How China Was Made a Republic

Sun Yat-sen's hand-annotated typed manuscript titled How China Was Made a Republic has been auctioned for $75,625 by Boston-based RR Auction. This important artifact provides unique insights into the thoughts of the founding father and first president of the Republic of China.

The manuscript is dated at the end in Sun's hand "Shanghai, August 12, 1919". It boasts Sun's ink emendations on every page, sometimes simply striking through errant letters or making minor spelling corrections, and other times adding complete sentences or clarifying remarks.

Originating from the collection of Paul Myron Wentworth Linebarger, an American lawyer and legal adviser to Sun Yat-sen, the manuscript begins with Sun Yat-sen reflecting on the revolution that transformed China from a monarchy into a republic. It covers key events in Sun's life, including the First China-Japan War, his time abroad in America, Europe, Japan, the Boxer Rebellion, the Wuchang Uprising, and international relations.

Notably, Sun Yat-sen corrects details such as names and locations throughout the manuscript, providing a nuanced perspective on historical events. His handwritten amendments offer readers a closer look at the process of documenting and shaping the narrative of China's transformation.

Paul Myron Anthony Linebarger, son of Paul Myron Wentworth Linebarger, describes the manuscript in a prefatory note. According to Linebarger, this carbon copy of Dr. Sun's autobiography in English is a unique version with corrections in Sun's handwriting. It differs significantly from other translations, making it a rare and valuable historical document. 

Other highlights from the same Fine Autograph and Artifacts sale included: 

  • Bob Dylan's handwritten and signed lyrics for All Along the Watchtower ($53,625)
  • Sam Houston signed letter to his brother on his arrival in Texas ($40,676)
  • Benjamin Franklin signed document for a Revolutionary War veteran's pension ($24,361)
  • George A. Custer signed letter questioning President Andrew Johnson's pardoning of rebels ($20,836)