Motorcycle Archive.
Lot 1264
Sold for US$ 14,340 inc. premium
Auction Details
Lot Details
A remarkable archive relating to motorcycling:
1. Autograph Manuscript of Herbert Meriweather, approx. 60 pp, 4to, n.p., [1909], being a narrative of the author’s trip by motorcycle from San Francisco to New York in original foolscap notepad, final pages typed, pages heavily toned and chipped at edges, many leaves loose.
2. Album, approx. 20 leaves, oblong 4to, n.p., [1909], containing over 160 silver print photos of various sizes laid down to leaves, plus original printed maps annotated by Meriweather and newspaper clippings documenting his journey, some fading to images, maps creased and worn with some separation at folds, clippings toned.
3. Original pen, ink, and watercolor on board, 5 by 7 inches, signed “A.O. Saver” at lower right, of Meriweather on motorcycle crossing the desert, inscribed on the verso by Meriweather “Cartoon drawn by New York Herald Sporting Artist A. O. Saver during the recital of my experiences on trip from Ocean to Ocean to the Herald editors and Associated Press staff,” light toning, otherwise fine.
4. Motorcycle Illustrated Vol IV no. 23 (December 1, 1909). Containing article by Meriweather of his travels. Heavily creased, worn, chipped. With related printed ephemera.

In 1908 San Francisco native Herbert Meriweather agreed to join his friend, W.C. Deane, on what would be the first trip on motorcycle across the country by the southern route. Meriweather had ridden motorcycles since 1905, and was intrigued by the challenge. The cross-country trip, however, was not to be a race, but a leisurely journey to give the men the opportunity to see the nation (and in fact, Meriweather would not arrive in New York City until the following November). The two men left in November and traveled from San Francisco to Los Angeles, and from there down to San Diego, where Deane abandoned the trip, sold his bike and found steady work. Not to be deterred, Meriweather drove back to Los Angeles and took off east through San Bernadino and the desert toward Arizona, across Texas and Louisiana, and then north through Mississippi, Tennessee, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. In his manuscript he tells of his adventures riding along the crude roadways of the American west, or worse, along the narrow railroad shoulder when there were no roads to travel. Meriweather describes getting stuck in the mud and sand, wrecking his bike, coping with mechanical failure—and being chased by a pack of coyotes for three miles. In Senatobia, Mississippi, he reports, he was jailed overnight and nearly lynched after his engine frightened a team of mules. Meriweather’s photo album is perhaps the most remarkable relic of the trip, presenting as it does the photographs taken by him as he crosses the country, with identifying text in his hand, and the working copies of the maps he used traveling across the various states.
See illustration.