Courtesy of Swann Auction Galleries

Hubert Herkomer, “Normandie” / The World’s Most Perfect Ship / French Line, 1939. Estimate $15,000-20,000.

New York — Swann Galleries’ Thursday, November 14 sale of Rare & Important Travel Posters marks the house’s twentieth annual sale in the category. A private collection of railway posters forms the cornerstone of the sale; also included are destination and resort advertisements, ocean liners, aviation and rarely seen designs.

The extraordinary private collection of American railway posters—the best the house has offered—includes a visual history from the early years of the New York Central Lines to the Streamliner trains of the 1930s and 40s. Highlights include Leslie Ragan’s Art Deco image of one of the last century’s most famous American trains, The New 20th Century Limited, 1939, estimated at $8,000 to $12,000 and Ragan’s first poster for the New York Central Lines, Chicago / New York Central Lines, 1929, at $5,000 to $7,500.

Further rail line designs of note include a run of sporting posters: Golf by the North Shore Line, a circa 1923 gouache maquette by Willard Frederic Elmes ($8,000-12,000); Football / Notre Dame by South Shore Line, 1926, by Otto Brennemann ($7,000-10,000); and Polo / By the North Shore Line, 1923, by Oscar Rabe Hanson ($7,000-10,000). Also featured is Paul Proehl’s Chicago for the Tourist / Illinois Central, 1925 ($5,000-7,500), and Jon O. Brubaker’s California / America’s Vacation Land / New York Central, 1925 ($10,000-15,000).

The sale is led by Hubert Herkomer’s 1939 advertisement for the ocean liner Normandie. The rare—and likely last—poster to be created for the end of the ship’s career is expected to bring $15,000 to $25,000. Additional ocean-liner posters of note include Montague Birrell Black’s White Star Line / Olympic & Titanic, circa 1910, which shows the Olympic and Titanic passing at sea ($6,000-9,000), and J.F. Butler’s Panama Pacific Line / New York California via Panama Canal and Havana, circa 1928 ($1,000-1,500).

Aviation posters include Boris Artzybasheff’s Bermuda by Clipper / Pan American World Airways, 1947 ($4,000-6,000); Guy Arnoux’s Air France / Amérique du Nord, 1946 ($3,000-4,000); and Weimer Pursell’s American Airlines / To New York, 1956 ($1,500-2,000). A run of charming and cheeky Air India posters from the 1960s rounds out the offering.

Destination advertisements to promote tourism from across the globe feature prominently. Travel to Australia is represented by Percival Albert Trompf’s Australia, 1929, which features a view of the beachgoing crowd of Bondi Beach from the vantage point of the front of the former Astra Hotel, expected at $8,000 to $12,000. Kenichi Kuriyagawa’s 1955 tourist poster for Kamaui Lake / Hokkaaido in Japan is present at $800 to $1,200, as well as a circa-1936 advertisement for the Fuji View Hotel in Fuji Hakone National Park by an unknown designer, estimated at $1,000 to $1,500. An early advertisement for Montauk Beach circa 1929 is present at $15,000 to $20,000, while Yellowstone National Park is represented by a 1910 Ludwig Hohlwein poster, at $10,000 to $15,000.    

Additional highlights include two rare images which were features in Swann’s inaugural travel poster auction of 1999, which have not been seen at auction since: Hernando G. Villa’s image for the Santa Fe Railroad, The Chief Is Still Chief, circa 1930, and Sascha Maurer’s New York World’s Fair / Thru Grand Central Gateway, circa 1939, both offered at $5,000 to $7,500.

Exhibition opening in New York City November 9. The complete catalogue and bidding information is available at and on the Swann Galleries App.


Jackie's six-page handwritten later, dated March 22, 1964, to author John Steinbeck.

Dallas, TX – A letter signed by former First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy inspired two dozen bidders before closing at $18,750 to lead Heritage Auctions’ 35-lot Estate of John and Elaine Steinbeck Manuscripts Internet Auction to $154,216.

The final price for Jacqueline Kennedy Autograph Letter Signed "Jacqueline Kennedy" was 7.5 times the pre-auction estimate of $2,500+. The six-page handwritten later, dated March 22, 1964, was written by Kennedy to Steinbeck. In it, she answered questions about her late husband, former president John F. Kennedy. The questions are believed to have been meant for inclusion in a JFK biography that Steinbeck never ended up writing.

Another Jacqueline Kennedy Autograph Letter Signed raced past its pre-auction estimate of $2,000+ when it drew bids from a dozen collectors, closing at $17,500. In the six-page letter, she described to Steinbeck her desire to write, or at least help someone else write, an autobiography of her late husband. The Steinbecks were in Europe when they learned John F. Kennedy had been assassinated; upon their return, JFK’s widow asked John Steinbeck to write her husband’s biography – a request he ultimately declined.

A John Steinbeck 1946-1947 Warm Up Journal, which the author described as “one of those interminable notebooks that serves no purpose but to warm me up and sometimes cool me down” also brought $17,500.  Dated from November 1946 through June 1947 and written in both ink and pencil, the journal is approximately one-third full, with 103 of 300 pages used. The journal reveals insights into the author's mind while he worked on The Wayward Bus, his (ultimately scrapped) play The Last Joan and other various projects.

Courtesy of Swann Auction Galleries

Edward S. Curtis, Prayer to the Stars, orotone plate, 1904. Sold for $21,250, a record for the image.

New York — Swann Galleries’ Thursday, October 17 sale of Classic & Contemporary Photographs featured a broad range of photographic material. “The sale cast a wide net with icons of popular culture, important historical images and classic masterpieces of fine art photography,” noted Daile Kaplan, the house’s Director of Photographs & Photobooks.

Edward S. Curtis’s portfolios and orotones attracted robust bidding. Highlights included Prayer to the Stars, orotone plate, 1904, that earned a record for the image $21,250; The North American Indian, Portfolio II, with 33 photogravures, 1908, which reached $27,500; and The North American Indian, Portfolio IX, 25 photogravures, 1913, which brought $13,750.  
Irving Penn’s sumptuous platinum-palladium print Cuzco Children, Peru, December, 1948, printed 1978, led the sale at $93,750. Also by among the top lots was Penn’s American Ballet Theatre, platinum-palladium print, 1947, 1968, which brought $18,750. Further fine art photography included Roy DeCarava’s Boy with Bowed Head, silver print, 1961, printed early 1970s, at $17,500.

Historical images included Henri Cartier-Bresson’s Gestapo informer recognized by a woman she had denounced, Dessau, Germany, ferrotyped silver print, 1945, printed 1947, which brought $42,500, a record for the image, and W. Eugene Smith’s Tomoko Uemura in Her Bath, silver print, 1971-73, at $13,750. Dorothea Lange was present with San Francisco Waterfront (Demonstration), silver print, 1934 ($20,000), and Migrant Mother, silver print, 1936, printed circa 1965 ($18,750). Also of note was a collection of 54 silver prints on carte-postale paper depicting the architecture of Cuzco, Peru by Martin Chambi, which earned $15,000.

Colorful works by contemporary photographers featured John Divola’s Five Prints, 1983-86, a complete portfolio of dye-transfer prints that earned $20,000, and McLean, Virginia, December 4, 1978, dye transfer print, 1978, printed 1984, by Joel Sternfeld brought $17,500.

The popular vernacular section saw competitive bidding for albums and folios documenting life in Asia and the South Seas in the late nineteenth century ($6,250), the 1939 World’s Fair ($6,250), and press photographs including images from the Great Depression ($4,000), the Yalta and Tehran Conferences ($813), as well as the Vietnam War ($6,000). 

Swann Galleries is currently accepting consignments for the spring 2020 season. Visit or download the Swann Galleries App for more information

The Armstrong Family Collection™ includes NASA documents, such as the last of NASA’s biographical data sheets on the astronaut.

Dallas, TX – The personal property of Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon, including flown mementos and classified NASA documents, highlights Heritage Auctions’ Space Exploration Auction, Nov. 14-16. The sale includes over 1,400 individual lots, which include nearly 750 lots directly from The Neil Armstrong Family Collection™.
A 6-1/2 inch by 4 inch flag from Armstrong’s home state of Ohio that flew to the moon aboard Apollo 11 is expected to spark serious bidder interest because it touches on both the moonwalker’s humble roots and his historic accomplishment for humanity, said Michael Riley, Director of Space Memorabilia at Heritage Auctions. It is worth noting that this, and flags from Indiana, Mississippi, and Wisconsin in this sale, are the last state flags that will be offered from The Armstrong Family Collection™.
“Collectors will find a significant number of objects that Neil Armstrong retained for most of his life before and after his historic moon walk,” Riley said. “These offering leans heavily on personal mementos and family gifts after his safe return.”
The Armstrong Family Collection™ includes NASA documents, such as the last of NASA’s biographical data sheets on the astronaut as well as an internal memo titled “Ground Rules For Lunar Mission Radiation,” drawing attention to a rarely discussed, yet early concern regarding the Apollo lunar missions. It reads, in part, “Apollo missions placed men for the first time outside the Earth's geomagnetic shield, subjecting them to potentially hazardous particulate radiation of an intensity and frequency not encountered in the Earth's environment ...” Heritage has made a full transcript of this memo available on
Collector’s objects include Armstrong’s personal NASA leather name tag, select coins from the astronaut’s personal collection, a handwritten 1964 postcard to his wife, Janet, and highly-coveted Apollo 11-flown sterling silver Robbins Medallions and Apollo 11-flown American Flags are among standout objects consigned directly from the family.
Items expected to draw intense interest is an Apollo 11 crew-signed "Type Three" insurance cover, featuring signatures by Armstrong, Michael Collins and Buzz Aldrin, bearing a pictorial machine cancellation from Kennedy Space Center dated July 16, 1969, the day that Apollo 11 was launched. A one-of-a-kind Apollo 11 State Dinner crew-signed souvenir lunar replica plaque with Neil and Janet's Presidential Invitations for the event on August 13, 1969.
All of the lots from The Armstrong Family Collection™ are sold with a Statement of Provenance signed by Armstrong's sons, Rick and Mark. Many of the items from the family collection were painstakingly sealed or encapsulated by Collectibles Authentication Guaranty (CAG) for study by future generations. Armstrong’s sons Rick and Mark have donated several items from the collection, and a significant portion of the auction proceeds, to museums and organizations worldwide, which support space exploration.
In addition to objects from Armstrong’s personal life and times, the auction offers hundreds of pieces of unique and rare space memorabilia fit for museum collections and private collections alike consigned by collectors all over the world.
·         An extraordinarily rare, Biological Isolation Garment (BIG) as planned for the Apollo 11 crew when exiting the Command Module after splashdown and while on their way to the Hornet's Mobile Quarantine Facility makes its auction debut at Heritage. Consigned from a private collection, the suit will be sold along with its original life preserver. The adjustable full-body suit with built-in medical rubber gloves, boots, and face mask, designed by scientists concerned that the Earth could possibly be contaminated by lunar organisms.
·         A signed and certified Apollo 11 Training-Used and Annotated “Lunar Module data card book” and pages from the Apollo 11 Lunar Module flown "LM G and N Dictionary" as flown to the moon and originally from the personal collection of Mission Lunar Module Pilot Buzz Aldrin
    •    An Apollo 15 Lunar Module flown sample scale, NASA SEB39105200-302, as presented to Mission Backup Commander Richard Gordon
    •    An extraordinary copy of David H. Baker’s book History of Manned Spaceflight containing hundreds of in-person signatures, including all 12 moonwalkers on one page in addition to Mercury, Gemini, Apollo, and Space Shuttle Astronauts, Cosmonauts, Stephen Hawking, Star Wars and Star Trek Actors, notable figures of aviation and more
Bidding is open for Heritage Auctions’ Space Exploration Auction featuring The Neil Armstrong Family Collection™, Part IV, taking place Nov. 14-16 live and online at

Courtesy of the Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens

Sir Thomas More (1478-1535), Utopia, 1516.

San Marino, CA — New works of art and literature will debut at The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens in Beside the Edge of the World, one of the programs marking The Huntington’s Centennial. The exhibition, on view Nov. 9, 2019 to Feb. 24, 2020, features works by artists Nina Katchadourian, Beatriz Santiago Muñoz, and Rosten Woo, and writers Dana Johnson and Robin Coste Lewis, and will give visitors the opportunity to experience video works, poetry, and more in a gallery setting, as well as an audio tour and a sculpture installation in the gardens.

Beside the Edge of the World uses an item at The Huntington—Thomas More’s satirical work Utopia (1516)—as a thematic point of departure. The Los Angeles arts organization Clockshop, in partnership with The Huntington, invited the three artists and two writers to consider More’s work and its map depicting the fictional “Isle of Utopia.” The cohort spent a year delving into the institution’s library, art, and botanical collections to create works that make up the exhibition, which is anchored by an installation in the Virginia Steele Scott Galleries of American Art’s Susan and Stephen Chandler Wing that will include a selection of the objects used by artists in their research alongside their new works.

Beside the Edge of the World is the fourth presentation of The Huntington’s /five initiative, in which The Huntington is collaborating with a cultural organization each year for five years to feature the work of contemporary artists reflecting on The Huntington’s collections.
“We selected the artists and writers in Beside the Edge of the World because of their interest in working in archives to re-frame and re-imagine history,” said Julia Meltzer, founder and director of Clockshop and co-curator of the exhibition with Jennifer A. Watts, curator of photography and visual culture at The Huntington and coordinator of the /five initiative. Watts added, “The exhibition will be revelatory. The work responds to the project’s directive with enormous energy and intellectual depth.

Thomas More structured his story around a newly created world that described an alternative society. “More was pushing boundaries, and these new works are, too,” said Meltzer. “The artists expanded their inquiry to borders and edges, islands, forgotten histories, and utopian experiments that necessarily happen on the periphery.”

Artist Nina Katchadourian’s research centered on the theme of monsters in maps and rare books within The Huntington’s archive. Her kinetic silicone sculpture “Strange Creature,” which the artist describes as “half-baby, half-fish,” is inspired by Ulisse Aldrovandi’s Monstrorum Historia (1642); the English edition of Abraham Ortelius’ Theatrum Orbis Terrarum (1608?), considered to be the first true atlas of the known world; and the ancient Chinese text Guideways through Mountains and Seas, compiled between the fourth and first centuries B.C., which describes mythical beasts “within the cosmos of heaven and earth.” Installed in the Chinese Garden’s Lake of Reflected Fragrance, the sculpture is meant to provide an element of surprise for visitors, appearing at the surface momentarily before disappearing underwater. The brief glimpses that visitors may catch of the “Strange Creature” are intended to suggest that there is more around us than we can see or perceive.

Filmmaker Beatriz Santiago Muñoz focused on The Huntington’s botanical collections. Her video work, “Laurel Sabino y Jagüilla” takes its title from the vernacular names of two Magnolia species native to the artist’s birthplace and home on the island of Puerto Rico. Magnolia is an ancient genus, dating back 20 million years; its family, Magnoliaceae, has survived ice ages, mountain formation, and continental drift. Magnolia splendens is now endangered by logging and wood harvesting. Filmed in the rain forest of Puerto Rico and in the botanical gardens at The Huntington, the work imagines the relationship of the Magnolia genus to utopia, photography, soil, vision, and time.

Artist, designer, writer, and educator Rosten Woo created "Another World Lies Beyond," consisting of a series of interrelated stories told through audio tours in the gardens along with a projection and artifacts installed in the gallery. Woo's research focused on the life and work of Robert Hine (1921–2015), a scholar of utopian communities in California whose archives are housed at The Huntington. Each audio story (accessed via smartphone in the gardens) offers a glimpse of the idea of the perfect state and the world just beyond it: a historian slowly goes blind as he documents American communes, only to regain his sight suddenly in his final years; a dilettante is charged with drawing the border between the United States and Mexico, and instead creates an archive of every living creature he encounters before being dismissed and discredited by Congress; an archivist plots to rename the world's largest tree and erase the history of America's most successful Marxist commune. Additionally, one of Woo's audio tours will guide visitors into the Chinese Garden where the phrase 'Another World Lies Beyond' appears on a placard at the main entrance to the garden. The phrase, which is also the title of the Woo's work, is intended to prepare guests for the space they are about to enter, a space separated from the mundane world of daily life.

Author Dana Johnson wrote a short story, “Our Endless Ongoing,” that unearths the history of a remarkable woman, Delilah L. Beasley, who wrote and self-published The Negro Trailblazers of California (1919). Beasley recorded the lives and stories of pioneering African Americans living in California in the 19th and early 20th century, from gold prospectors and early settler families to the founder of a utopian black community near Fresno.  Johnson’s short story, along with a biographical essay of Beasley, is included in a limited-edition publication Trailblazer: Delilah Beasley’s California, published by Clockshop and The Huntington. A copy of The Negro Trailblazers of California is on view at The Huntington through Jan. 20 in the exhibition Nineteen Nineteen.

Poet laureate of Los Angeles Robin Coste Lewis took Chapter 14 of Henry David Thoreau’s Walden as the starting point for a new poem. In Chapter 14, “Former Inhabitants and Winter Visitors,” Thoreau conjures up the community of free blacks who lived around Walden Pond long before he arrived. Lewis’s poem, titled “Inhabitants and Visitors,” erases and rearranges words and phrases in Thoreau’s text to illuminate the world of the free black community that once lived at Walden Pond. A limited-edition book of Lewis’s poem, along with images of the draft manuscript of Thoreau’s Walden held at The Huntington, will be included in the exhibition and sold at the Huntington Store.

Courtesy of Christie's

Maria Sibylla Merian’s Dissertatio de Generatione et Metamorphosibus Insectorum Surinamensium (1719) & De Europische Insecten (1730). Price realized: $225,000.

New York — On Friday, 25 October Christie’s New York Fine Printed Books & Manuscripts sale realized $3,367,250. This sale marked the first time the category was presented during Christie’s Classic Week , which runs until 29 October.

The top lots of the sale were the 1994 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences awarded to John Forbes Nash, Jr. for his contributions to Game Theory, which sold for $735,000, Maria Sibylla Merian’s Dissertatio De Generatione Et Metamorphosibus Insectorum Surinamensium (1719) & De Europische Insecten (1730), which sold for $225,000, and the 1994 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences awarded to Reinhard Selten for his contributions to Game Theory, namely as the first person to "refine the Nash equilibrium concept for analyzing dynamic strategic interaction," which sold for $225,000.

Another highlight from John Forbes Nash, Jr. included "Non-Cooperative Games." Offprint From: Annals Of Mathematics, Pp. 286-295, Vol 54, No 2, September 1951, formulating the theory of non-cooperative games and describing the Nash equilibrium, which achieved $137,500 against a pre-sale estimate of $3,000 – 5,000. Additionally, Quentell's Low German Bible, with brilliant contemporary color, in low German, ca. 1478 realized $43,750 against a pre-sale low estimate of $8,000 and A secret anti-Puritan polemic — a rarity of printed Americana, Samuel Groom, 1676 realized $137,500 against a pre-sale low estimate of $20,000.

Courtesy of Bonhams

Handwritten letter from Jane Austen to her sister Cassandra, September 1813. Price realized: $200,075.

New York – A rare handwritten letter by Jane Austen sold for $200,075 at Bonhams Fine Books & Manuscripts sale in New York on October 23, establishing a new world record at auction for an autograph letter signed by the novelist. It had been estimated at $80,000-120,000.
From the famous Dodge Family Autograph Collection, the letter is full of lively detail, wit and charm, vividly echoing the world she deftly portrayed in her novels. Austen (1775-1817) wrote the letter to her sister Cassandra, her most frequent and intimate correspondent. It is full of family news and characteristically acute observations on the activities of the day. Earlier that day, Austen had accompanied her three nieces to Mr Spence the dentist, and she gave Cassandra a lively account of their ordeal, "The poor Girls & their Teeth! ... we were a whole hour at Spence's, & Lizzy's were filed & lamented over again & poor Marianne had two taken out after all ... we heard each of the two sharp hasty screams.”
Ian Ehling, Bonhams Director of Books and Manuscripts in New York, comments: “This is stellar result for an amazing Jane Austen letter, setting a new world record for an autograph letter signed by Jane Austen. The overall result of the sale was very strong and we are looking forward to our next sale on December 5 featuring two private collections.”
Other highlights from the sale included:
    •    A fine series of Indian bird drawings dated 1828 by Christopher Webb Smith sold for $275,075. It had an estimate of $50,000-80,000.
    •    An extremely rare, documented letter of outlaw Jesse James sold for $212,575. It had an estimate of $200,000-300,000.
    •    A fine and rare early plan of the City of Houston dated 1867 by Theodore Kosse and T. Scott sold for $75,075. It had an estimate of $30,000-50,000.


Courtesy of the University of Texas at Austin Harry Ransom Center

Frederick Seidel’s notebooks are part of an archive recently acquired by the Ransom Center.

Austin, TX — The papers of American poet Frederick Seidel (b. 1936) have been acquired by the Harry Ransom Center, a humanities research library and museum at The University of Texas at Austin.

The archive contains working drafts of 12 of Seidel’s major collections, handwritten poems and notes, as well as unfinished and unpublished poems. The circle of acquaintance represented in the archive is wide, and present is correspondence with Leonard Bernstein, T.S. Eliot, Elizabeth Hardwick, Anthony Hecht, Stanley Kunitz, Robert Lowell, Anne Sexton and others. The archive contains pocket diaries, photographs, reviews and other documentation of this most singular poetic life.

“The Frederick Seidel Papers will shed light on this most elusive and private of poets,” said Stephen Enniss, director of the Harry Ransom Center. “The archive will allow researchers to probe the boundaries between the writer Frederick Seidel and the observing figure that inhabits this distinguished body of work. His very iconoclasm casts a bright light on the beautiful and the ugly in contemporary life, and he has left us a body of work that future readers will turn to to better understand our time.”

Seidel has been captivating and provoking readers for more than 50 years, since Louise Bogan, Stanley Kunitz and Robert Lowell selected his Final Solutions for a poetry prize administered by the 92nd Street Y. The judges’ decision was overturned when Seidel refused to make changes to the manuscript, which was deemed too controversial for publication. The book was later published by Random House in 1963.

He did not publish another book for 17 years, but since the relaunch of his career with Sunrise in 1979, he has published 14 collections and two selections of his work. Sunrise won the Lamont Poetry Prize, and Going Fast was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in 1999. His Collected Poems, 1959-2009 was published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux in 2009.

Poet Calvin Bedient once called Seidel “the poet the 20th century deserved,” an acknowledgment of the way a Seidel poem gives expression to elements of our contemporary experience we might prefer be left unsaid. Seidel often explores themes of wealth, privilege, race and sex, putting his work in the crosshairs of contemporary cultural debates. Of his own work, Seidel has said simply, “Everything in the poems is true.”

Seidel’s publisher Jonathan Galassi, commenting on the provocative nature of his work, said “he has made a private myth that is one of the great aesthetic constructions of our era, joyfully doffing his cap as he vrooms toward oblivion on one of the fiery motorcycles he extols but no longer rides.” He adds, “He is the last flâneur, a consummate artist whose work affords great joy.”

The Seidel papers join the Ransom Center’s deep collections of English and American poetry including the papers of Billy Collins, Robert Lowell, Ezra Pound, Anne Sexton, James Tate and Dara Wier, among others.

Courtesy of Sotheby’s

Original Olympic Games manifesto, written in 1892 by French aristocrat, educator, and athletics advocate Pierre de Coubertin.

New York — Sotheby’s presents the original Olympic Games manifesto, written in 1892 by French aristocrat, educator and athletics advocate Pierre de Coubertin, which outlines his vision for reviving the ancient Olympic Games as a modern, international athletic competition. The first modern Games were organized shortly thereafter in Athens, Greece in 1896, and the ideas espoused by Coubertin continue to underpin the Olympic spirit of excellence and sportsmanship that has made the Games the preeminent international sporting spectacle to this day.

The 14-page manuscript is the only known copy of the manifesto in existence, and was written in French by Coubertin as a speech he delivered in 1892 for the fifth anniversary of the French Athletics Association held at the Sorbonne. In his speech, Coubertin outlined his idealist vision for reviving the ancient Olympic Games as part of a wave of progressive social movements taking hold in Europe and the United States, and he drew connections to the rise of athletics to other new ideas, technologies and systems that were propelling human progress and innovation, such as the telegraph, railways and developments in scientific research. Coubertin provides case studies on the state of athletics in countries such as Germany, Sweden, the United Kingdom, France, and elsewhere around the world to show that athletic endeavor was no longer primarily the domain of military training, but had evolved into a pursuit of individual excellence that had personal as well as societal benefits.

Speaking of this new class of amateur athletes, Coubertin described them as having “the merit of seeking in effort only the effort itself, of imposing upon themselves constraints to which no-one is pushing them, of submitting to themselves to a discipline which is doubly effective because freely consented to.” He concluded by stating “it is more perfectly human to worship effort in a disinterested way and love difficult things simply because they are difficult. That is the philosophy of sport in general and of our union in particular.”

In this vein, Coubertin described sport as “the free trade of the future” that would trade in the exchange of rowers, fencers and runners. His vision for a world united by athletic pursuit was imbued with ideas from Greek classicism, conservative paternalism, a liberal emphasis on the importance of free individualism and an emerging fin de siècle belief in civilized and peaceful nationalism.

Two years after delivering the speech at the Sorbonne, Coubertin founded the International Olympic Committee in 1894, with the ethos of his speech serving as the foundation of the committee’s mission. In 1896, the modern Olympic Games debuted in Athens, and Coubertin’s admonishment that the future of sport would be democratic and international proved prescient and lasting.

Richard Austin, Head of Sotheby’s Books & Manuscripts Department, said: “The Olympic Games manifesto represents one the most important recorded documents in the history of sport and culture. The modern Olympic Games is one of, if not the single most important global shared human experience, and it represents a universally held belief in the human spirit that is unmatched in any sporting or comparable event. The manifesto boldly proclaims a wholly modern and progressive vision of humanity, and Coubertin’s timeless statement is one that continues to resonate today in its concept of unity.”

The Olympic Games manifesto will be on view at Sotheby’s Los Angeles 22-23 October, as well as Sotheby’s New York 14-17 December. While the original manuscript has never previously been publicly exhibited, a high-quality copy of the manifesto was displayed at Copenhagen City Hall during the 2009 Olympic Congress.

Purchase, David Zeidberg Library Acquisitions Fund, 2018. Courtesy of The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens, San Marino.

"The Book of John Mandeville," England, second half of the 15th century. Bound manuscript in ink and pigments on parchment.

San Marino, CA — As part of its yearlong Centennial Celebration, The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens presents a two-part exhibition that invites visitors to consider the continued relevance of the Library's role in documenting the human experience.

The more than 100 items in "What Now: Collecting for the Library in the 21st Century" highlight the power of objects to reveal the past and construct new histories and narratives. Part 1 of "What Now" will run from Oct. 19, 2019 to Feb. 17, 2020, and Part 2 from May 2 to Aug. 24, 2020, in the West Hall of the Library building.

The carefully chosen materials in "What Now" provide a window into the ever-growing cultural heritage available at The Huntington and confirm the Library's significance as a major destination for knowledge making and intellectual discovery in the 21st century. New resources speak to contemporary areas of scholarly inquiry, including environmental history, borderlands studies, radicalism and dissent, the human body, sensory experience, literary expression, military history, and material culture.

Among the oldest works on view will be a Middle English manuscript of one of the foundational texts of travel literature, "The Book of John Mandeville," from the second half of the 15th century. The most recent works on display will be large-scale archival inkjet botanical prints from 2009, created with a flatbed scanner by California artist Jane O'Neal. All works in the exhibition have been acquired by The Huntington in the 21st century.

"The objects in 'What Now' are curators' choices to reveal how The Huntington continues to expand its holdings for humanities scholarship," said Claudia Funke, Avery Chief Curator and Associate Director of Library Collections, and exhibition cocurator. "They also demonstrate the types of materials that we value as we seek to preserve documentary and artistic creation for future generations."

Visitors are encouraged—through the juxtaposition of books, manuscripts, maps, prints, and photographs—to explore and reconceptualize existing strengths across the Library's core subjects and geographies, which include North America, the Pacific Rim, the Atlantic World, and Europe.

Commonalities in the wide array of items to be shown suggested the eight themes into which exhibition objects are organized. These, in turn, logically matched up to form four pairs: "Love and Conflict," "Numbers and Secrets," "Landscape and Migrations," and "Materiality and Process." "Objects from different locations and times are placed in conversation within and across these broad and fundamental themes, which are intended to be provocative and not determinative or restrictive," noted Funke.

"Love" includes an example from the Christopher Isherwood papers, a 1961 letter from Isherwood to his partner, Don Bachardy, that illuminates the relationship of an openly gay artist couple years before the Stonewall uprising. The theme also features fancy 19th-century valentines created by the firm of female entrepreneur Esther Howland, from the Nancy and Henry Rosin Collection of Valentine, Friendship, and Devotional Ephemera. Among the objects in "Conflict" are a 1774 letter from a father scolding his son for selling the cargo of a brig that never made it to the Boston Tea Party and a pink sheet of angry telephone messages for the first Latina member of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, Gloria Molina, regarding her opposition to Proposition 187, which affected undocumented immigrants.

"Numbers" features invoices, account books, and other documents that address researcher interest in numeracy, quantification, and past economies, such as a ledger belonging to social reformer Susan B. Anthony that tallies expenses in preparation for the Ninth Woman's Rights Convention in 1859. An educational item in the Jay T. Last Collection of Graphic Arts and Social History, a pull-down classroom chart, indicates how 19th-century teachers used colorful graphics, diagrams, and pictures of familiar objects to engage students with the basics of arithmetic.

A lighthearted example in "Secrets" is one of The Huntington's 42 English paper fans with substantial printed text, "The Ladies Telegraph" from 1798, with words explaining how to use it to signal secret messages across a room. Entertaining in a different way are the notes of aerospace engineer Albert Hibbs, which reveal his secret calculations for winning a fortune at roulette in Nevada.

The Library's collecting as displayed in "Landscape" complements The Huntington's renowned gardens. Human impact on Los Angeles environs is shown in a 1920s photographic panorama of flower fields in Hollywood, from the recently acquired Arthur Ito papers, and in a grittier one of the Venice oil fields from the Ernest Marquez Photograph Collection. A notebook by African American science fiction writer Octavia E. Butler records the bleak view from the window of a Greyhound bus as it passes through inland California.

Human movement across lands and cultures is reflected in "Migrations," which includes author Paul Theroux's journal for his classic book "The Great Railway Bazaar." Other materials speak to current interests in transnational studies. The 20th-century immigrant experience is documented through both visual and textual materials, including neon studies made in 1936–37 for buildings in LA's New Chinatown owned by prominent immigration attorney You Chung Hong.

The increasingly virtual world of creation and expression has brought renewed interest in the material aspects of the physical resources that the Library collects. "Materiality" includes such contrasting items as an original floor tile from Hollywood's El Capitan Theatre and a 1905 anatomical flap book that details the female human body and was coedited by a female physician.

"Process" highlights the actions and operations that go into creating. The 1926 sale agreement between Ignacio Lozano and the Mergenthaler Linotype Company records the technological acquisition that enabled La Opinión, one of the most important Spanish-language newspapers in the United States. A late 19th-century volume from the Library's important holdings related to chromatics, "The Practical Ostrich Feather Dyer," details the steps in fashioning dyed feathers for the millinery trade at the height of their popularity.

"'What Now' will be quite different from what you see in the Library's main exhibition hall of treasures," said Erin Chase, assistant curator of architecture and photography, and exhibition cocurator. "Many of the works are modest objects, yet they present a range of voices and perspectives across time and place. They aren't Chaucer, Audubon, or the Gutenberg Bible, but they, too, tell important stories and provide the texture and diversity essential to the historical record."