London—A letter sent in 1846 discussing a potential visit to Brookroyd, and asking for more information about coaches leaving Bradford sent from Charlotte Brontë to her lifelong friend Ellen Nussey stole the show yesterday at Fraser’s sale, ‘Autographs, Manuscripts and Historic Sporting Memorabilia


1846 Letter from Charlotte Brontë to Ellen Nussey

[Lot 137] £16,000

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The Boston Athenæum will open its red leather doors at 10 1/2 Beacon Street on Sunday, November 2, from noon until 4:00 p.m. for a free public Open House. There will be activities, talks, and more for all ages, offered on a first-come, first served basis. 

All twelve stories of the Boston Athenæum’s National Historic Landmark building, most usually limited to Athenæum members only, will be open to the public for self-guiding tours for the first time in more than a decade.


New York—On Tuesday, October 21, Swann Galleries will offer a diverse selection of Early Printed, Medical & Scientific Books in a wide range of fields, including theology, Enlightenment literature, travel, astronomy, the occult and psychiatry.

The lot with the highest pre-sale estimate is a single leaf from a paper copy of the 42-line Bible in Latin, aka the Gutenberg Bible, Mainz, circa 1450-55, with text from Acts and two manuscript initials (estimate: $40,000 to $50,000). The last time Swann offered a Gutenberg Bible leaf it sold for $55,200 in April 2013.

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New York—An extensive archive of the pioneering astronomer, astro-photographer and telescope designer, George Willis Ritchey will be placed on the auction block as part of the History of Science sale on October 22 at Bonhams in New York.

The archive (est. $450,000-$550,000) is an incredible collection of Ritchey's life work. It includes glass plates of celestial phenomena that were used in Ritchey’s lectures; hundreds of vintage photographs whose subjects vary from natural terrestrial wonders to celestial phenomena to telescopes and observatories; a 27-inch cellular mirror; over 40 books, periodicals, and pamphlets; correspondence with sub-contractors and further notes relating to the famous Ritchey-Chrétien telescope in Washington, DC; notes on the origin of the Moon; lecture notes; and the original French patent for cellular mirror technology. A more detailed list of items is available upon request.

The 2014 Harnett Biennial of American Prints is the eleventh competitive national exhibition organized by the University of Richmond Museums and is a celebration of contemporary printmaking by artists throughout the United States. The juror, Mary Fisher, artist, author, advocate, and social entrepreneur, selected prints by 45 artists from 24 states from entries submitted by 209 artists. The exhibition is on view from October 28 to December 12, 2014.

Fisher is an American designer who has survived AIDS and cancer to become a globally recognized artist, author, advocate, and social entrepreneur. She made history in 1992 when she addressed the Republican National Convention with a speech about advocacy in the fight against HIV and AIDS. The artist is founder of the Mary Fisher Clinical AIDS Research and Education (CARE) Fund at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

The Center for the Book in the Library of Congress and the Library’s Rare Book and Special Collections Division, along with the Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association of America (ABAA) and the Fellowship of American Bibliographic Societies (FABS), have announced the winners of the National Collegiate Book-Collecting Contest. The organizations assumed leadership of the contest in 2010 with major support from the Jay I. Kislak Foundation.

Established in 2005 by Fine Books & Collections magazine to recognize outstanding book-collecting efforts by college and university students, the program aims to encourage young collectors to become accomplished bibliophiles. The magazine conducted the annual competition before turning over leadership to the new institutional partners.


Chicago—Christie's announces a valuation day of books and manuscripts in Chicago for one-day only on October 17.  Gretchen Hause, Christie's Books and Manuscripts specialist, welcomes the public to Christie's Chicago Regional Office located at 875 N Michigan Ave #3810, Chicago, IL from 10am to 5pm.  She will provide, at no charge, provisional auction estimates for books and manuscripts that are of a type and value typically sold at Christie's.  For more information, please contact the office at (312) 787-2765.


San Francisco—A Walt Whitman manuscript of "Rain Enigma" [Voice of the Rain] was the leading lot of Bonhams’ $940,163 auction of fine books and manuscripts on September 22 in San Francisco. The manuscript, which achieved $52,500, is of a poem which appeared in the first annex “Sands at Seventy” of the 1891-1892 edition of “Leaves of Grass." In addition to the hand-written manuscript, the piece featured an autograph inscription of Horace Traubel, Whitman’s close friend and self-described "spirit child.” 

The manuscript, which was one of 268 lots offered, sold as a result of competitive bidding that continued throughout the auction. Bidders from 19 countries took part in the sale, with particularly strong phone and internet participation.


NEW YORK—Contemporary images share the stage with 19th-century albums, modernist portfolios and classic black-and-white photographs in Swann Galleries’ auction of Fine Photographs: Icons & Images on Friday, October 17.

Contemporary art highlights range from Scandinavian artist Simen Johan’s Untitled #137, a digital c-print of a lamb from the series “Until the Kingdom Comes,” 2006 (estimate: $9,000 to $12,000) to conservationist-photographer Nick Brandt’s remarkably intimate Lion Before the Storm I, pigment print, 2006 ($18,000 to $22,000).

New York—Bonhams, one of the largest auctioneers in the world, presents an item of outstanding proportions at its History of Science sale in New York on October 22—an original viewing window (est. $150,000-250,000) from the Manhattan Project's Hanford Site in Southern Oregon, employed in the production of plutonium for the atomic bomb known as Fat Man, dropped on Nagasaki, Japan on August 9, 1945. 

The windows, of which few have survived, were constructed to allow the project's scientists to oversee plutonium production without being exposed to lethal levels of radiation. Composed of numerous layers of glass mixed with 70% lead oxide, the window emits an eerie yellow glow. Because of the high lead content, the glass reacts more like a metal, sweating like ice when heated, and crumbling when ground or cut, making it a truly exotic material. Despite the window's provenance, the glass is not radioactive.

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