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Lot #167
Alexander Graham Bell

"Please send two bullets same size as that in President's body"

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Estimate: $6800+
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"Please send two bullets same size as that in President's body"

Remarkable ALS, one page, 4.75 x 8, Volta Laboratory letterhead, July 15, 1881. Addressed to the Executive Mansion, a letter to J. Stanley Brown, the private secretary to President Garfield, in full: "Experiments made last night with Induction Balance very promising. Please send two bullets same size as that in President's body. Keep newspaper correspondents away from my laboratory if possible." In fine condition, with a trimmed bottom edge and torn upper edge. In mid-July of 1881, Bell was invited to the White House to locate the bullet fired into the back of President Garfield by assassin Charles Guiteau. In an attempt to achieve what the nation’s best surgeons could not, Bell searched for the bullet with an induction balance device, an early version of the metal detector inspired by the work of Gustave Trouve. Bell made efforts on July 26 and August 1, but was ultimately unable to locate the stray bullet; it was later determined that the metal bedsprings below the supine president had skewed the experiment. President Garfield agonized for nearly another two months before succumbing to his wounds on September 19, 1881. With such a close association to the tragic fate of America’s twentieth president, this is a superb and hopeful letter from one of the Industrial Age’s foremost names. Pre-certified PSA/DNA.

Auction Info

  • Auction Title: Fine Autographs And Artifacts
  • Dates: #495 - Ended March 15, 2017

This item is Pre-Certified by PSA/DNA
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