Bookman’s Alley autographs lead off Hindman sale Apr. 4

Bookman's Alley, Evanston, Illinois

Bookman’s Alley, Evanston, Illinois

CHICAGO – There is no doubt about it—Chicago is going to miss Bookman’s Alley. When Roger Carlson, owner of the beloved Evanston rare bookstore, he would be quietly closing shop this spring, it made the national news.

Bookman’s Alley is one of the few rare bookstores in the country that has managed to remain open without the aid of Internet sales, making it, also, one of the only rare bookstores where one can still get lost in the stacks and find a hidden treasure.

Carlson’s devoted regulars would spend hours settled into one of the comfy couches surrounded by his knickknacks, listening to jazz or perhaps a live performance on the upright piano.

Gracing the walls of Bookman’s Alley for the last three decades were numerous autographed quotations, letters and postcards from some of history’s most celebrated authors, musicians and historical figures. On Wednesday, April 4, the public will have the opportunity to bid on the autographs, which will be offered at auction by Leslie Hindman Auctioneers as the first 25 lots of the Spring Fine Books and Manuscripts Auction. will provide Internet live bidding.

Hand-picked by Carlson, for their content, rarity and wittiness, the collection boasts a number of impressive items, such as a rare postcard sent from F. Scott Fitzgerald while in “The Sahara,” stating: “‘The Sahara’ will reach me—or ‘Sheik Fitzgerald—Africa,’” with an original photograph of Scott and Zelda atop camels; a rare photograph of Joseph Conrad taken by Malcolm Arbuthnot signed by both photographer and author; a pension document signed by Napoleon granting the wife of a former general 200 francs; a hand-written letter from Nathaniel Hawthorne to a magazine stating he wishes to repay his $3 debt to them prior to leaving the country; and a handwritten note from John Philip Sousa to a young musician, giving advice as to which instrument he should pursue and, regardless of the choice, “stick to it.”

Together with the autographs are two high spots of literature, specifically the first Latin edition Systema cosmicum, Galileo’s advancement of the Copernican system that was notoriously placed on the Vatican’s list of outlawed books, and a fine first edition, first issue, of Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

An exhibition will be open to the public on Saturday, March 31, 10 a.m.-3 p.m., Sunday, April 1, noon-5 p.m., Monday, April 2, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., and Tuesday, April 3, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

For further information regarding the sale, contact Mary Williams Kohnke at 312-334-4236 or visit the Leslie Hindman Auctioneers website at

View the fully illustrated catalog and register to bid absentee or live via the Internet as the sale is taking place by logging on to


Fitzgerald F. Scott, Autographed Postcard signed ('Scott Fitzgerald') $3/5,000


Fitzgerald F. Scott, Autographed Postcard signed (‘Scott Fitzgerald’) $3/5,000

Galilei Galileo, Systema cosmicum, $8/12,000


Galilei Galileo, Systema cosmicum, $8/12,000