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Lot #342
Eli Whitney

After revolutionizing American agriculture, the inventor looks forward to “the Cattle Show” at the 1821 county fair

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After revolutionizing American agriculture, the inventor looks forward to “the Cattle Show” at the 1821 county fair

American inventor (1765–1825) whose cotton gin revolutionized Southern agriculture. ALS signed “E. Whitney,” one page, 7.75 x 8, October 5, 1821. Letter to Oliver Wolcott, Jr., the governor of Connecticut. In full: “The Cattle Show at this place will be had on the 9th & 10th inst—I will be at Litchfield on the evening of Monday the 15th (if that day is fair, if not on the next fair day) & have so advised Mr. Watkinson & Mr. Woodbridge.” Handsomely double-matted and framed with an engraved portrait to an overall size of 20.5 x 14.5. Intersecting folds (one vertical fold passing through a single letter of the signature) and haloing to ink in a few lines, otherwise fine condition.

Whitney established his cotton gin factory in New Haven, and as a member of the New Haven Agricultural Society helped to establish the annual county fair around 1810, officially called the New Haven Agricultural Fair and Cattle Show. Farmers from across the state exhibited their prized oxen, steers, heifers, cows, and bulls, among other livestock. This was one of the earliest such fairs in America, and similar annual events became commonplace throughout New England. Autographic material from Whitney is very scarce, and this letter’s appropriate association with a popular agricultural exposition makes it especially desirable. Accompanied by a full letter of authenticity from PSA/DNA. RR Auction COA.

Auction Info

  • Auction Title: Rare Manuscript, Document & Autograph
  • Dates: #436 - Ended September 10, 2014

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