Lot #490
Ralph Waldo Emerson Handwritten Letter

Having secured a poem from the youthful "Henry D. Thoreau," Emerson solicits contributions for The Dial
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Estimate: $800+


Having secured a poem from the youthful "Henry D. Thoreau," Emerson solicits contributions for The Dial

Handwritten letter by Ralph Waldo Emerson (signature clipped out and absent), four pages on two adjoining sheets, 7.75 x 9.5, April 18, 1840. Letter to Rev. Thomas T. Stone in East Machias, Maine, written from Concord, in part: "Many years have passed since we have seen each other, but it has given me pleasure always to hear of your welfare…Last summer my aunt, Miss Emerson, enclosed to me a letter which you had written to her apparently after seeing my address to the Divinity College at Cambridge. That letter I read with great content…I did not hesitate to show it to George Ripley, to whom I found you was already known, & to my friend Margaret Fuller, a lady who is related to all wit. Miss Fuller has lately written to me to request me to ask that letter of you for the first number of her Journal, which is to be published in July next, under the name of The Dial. And this request has an ulterior view which is to introduce a request for your further aid to the same paper. The same appetite for expression that belongs to all circles apprised with new thoughts has driven a number of worthy persons in & around Boston to the project of a new quarterly journal. Mr. Ripley proposed to Miss Fuller that if she would conduct it, he would undertake the whole pecuniary management of it…Her qualification for this trust, is, not only her wit, acquisitions, & various accomplishments, but mainly the force of her character, & the good relation she sustains to a large number of cultivated persons. Besides the aid of Mr. Ripley, she has the help of J. S. Dwight, C. P. Cranch, Theodore Parker, A. B. Alcott, W. H. Channing, & others. And a few anonymous correspondents on whose writings I set a high value. Henry D. Thoreau, a youth teaching a school in this town, has given me for her a beautiful poem. I have promised her some contribution for each number for a year…If you have any passage of autobiography, of philosophy, of faith…will you not send it to me that its light & heat may glow for many, & may indicate on this Dial a brighter Hour…I do not think of any literary intelligence that will interest you. I am to be at work this summer in the hope to get out a volume or two of Essays in the fall. Pray let me hear from you soon." In very good condition, with splitting to the intersecting folds, complete separation to the topmost horizontal fold (which could be repaired by a conservator), an edge tear and seal-related paper loss, and Emerson's signature clipped off (and his name added in an unknown hand). Published intermittently from 1840 to 1929, The Dial became an influential outlet for modernist literature. The inaugural issue of July 1840 carried Thoreau’s poem 'Sympathy' and his essay on the Roman poet Aulus Persius Flaccus.

Auction Info

  • Auction Title: Fine Autograph and Artifacts, Ft. Art and Literature
  • Dates: #610 - Ended June 16, 2021

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