Irving, Washington.  CH 20 of Life of Washington
Lot 11
IRVING, WASHINGTON. 1783-1859.
Autograph Manuscript, being Chapter 20 from Volume IV of The Life of George Washington,
US$ 20,000 - 30,000
£16,000 - 24,000

Amended

Fine Books and Manuscripts

9 Mar 2017, 13:00 EST

New York

Lot Details
IRVING, WASHINGTON. 1783-1859.
Autograph Manuscript, being Chapter 20 from Volume IV of The Life of George Washington, 33 pp, 8vo, n.p., [1857?], with corrections and emendations throughout, the various sections cut up and pasted together, and inlaid to larger leaves, engraved portrait of Irving facing printed title page, minor soiling and light staining, stain to upper margin of last 5 mounts. Green morocco by Matthews, covers decoratively ruled in gilt, spine decorated with GW monograms, silk doublures and endpapers, some wear to joints.
Provenance: Lucy Wharton Drexel (1841-1912, bookplate); Boies Penrose II (bookplates, 1902-1976).

ORIGINAL MANUSCRIPT FOR CHAPTER 20 OF VOLUME IV OF "THE LIFE OF WASHINGTON IRVING," complete, with extensive deletions, emendations and revisions, comprising pages 300-324 of the first edition. This portion of the manuscript begins with Cornwallis at Hillsborough and focuses on the Battle of Guilford Courthouse (as supplied on printed title leaf), a pivotal moment in the colonist's cause. Although an undermanned British unit under Cornwallis defeated the colonists at Guilford, Cornwallis troops suffered tremendous losses, and he was forced to abandon his Carolina campaign and turn instead toward Virginia (and ultimately Yorktown).
Most of Washington Irving's manuscripts have been broken, and when they come to market, it is usually in fragments. This can be attributed to the fascination Irving held for the American public even during his life, as well as the culture of collecting in the 19th century, which often prized the part over the whole. This is a rare, complete manuscript chapter from the greatest of American writers on the greatest of American generals and statesmen.

Saleroom notices

  • The manuscript is for Chapter 20 of Voume IV of "The Life of George Washington," not "The Life of Washington Irving."
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