SAN FRANCISCO – Turner Auctions + Appraisals will stage a sale titled Books & Ephemera, including Historical Documents from the Chapman Family of Connecticut, on Saturday, August 20, starting at 10:30 am Pacific time. Featuring more than 220 lots from the 17th to the 20th centuries, the auction includes antique and vintage books on many subjects and in diverse languages. There is also a wide selection of works on paper that spans engravings, vintage photographs, maps, war posters, lithographs and artworks. Absentee and Internet live bidding will be available through LiveAuctioneers.
An important part of this auction features the historical documents, papers and ephemera of Edward Mortimer Chapman and his family. Born in 1862, Chapman graduated from Yale Divinity School in 1890 and served as pastor of Old Lyme Congregational Church from 1906 to 1915. Chapman’s written works integrated his wide-ranging theological, literary and historical interests. A descendant of Robert Chapman, one of the first settlers of Saybrook, Connecticut (circa 1635), Edward Chapman was an avid chronicler of history of his family and the area.
The Chapman family’s offerings, mostly dating to the 18th century, include letters, land grants and sales, deeds, ledgers, opalotype milk glass portraits and miniatures, silhouettes, tintypes and photographs. Among the highlights are various letters from Woodrow Wilson, with whom Chapman had a personal acquaintance through the Old Lyme Church and time spent in the Old Lyme art colony. Chapman corresponded with Wilson and his family both when Wilson was president of Princeton University and then during his tenure in the Oval Office.
A particularly notable Woodrow Wilson letter is a one-sheet typed letter on White House stationery, signed by the president, offered with its franked stamped envelope, dated August 15, 1914. The letter is a personal thanks for the condolences sent by Edward M. Chapman following the death of Wilson’s first wife, Ellen Axson Wilson. He writes that it was “delightful to feel the warm touch of a friend’s hand at such a time…” Its estimate is $300-$500.
Other strong lots include the Howard Chandler Christy World War I poster known as Americans All, dating to 1919. This example is linen-backed, and its condition is described as good and bright overall. It is estimated at $300-$500.
Another standout is Richard Price’s 1784 booklet Observations on the Importance of the American Revolution, and The Means of making it a Benefit to the World. It sports a marbled paper cover and is described as being in fair to good condition. It is estimated at $800-$1,200.
Of interest to fans of Tiffany Studios, illustration art and women’s history is an opalotype milk-glass portrait of Clara Miller Burd, (American, 1873-1933), signed by her as “CM Burd” and estimated at $200-$300. Burd was a stained glass artist and designer who was educated at the Chase School and the National Academy of Design, New York. She worked for the Tiffany Glass Co., producing memorable ecclesiastic works, and was a children’s book and magazine illustrator.
Lot 63 showcases four large, illuminated Tafsir al-Qur’an manuscript paper leaves, rendered in Arabic and Persian and dating to the 18th or 19th centuries. Each white and cream thin paper leaf has text on both sides and measures 18 6/16 by 12 6/16in. Overall the leaves are regarded as being in very good condition, with some light soiling. Together they carry an estimate of $400-$800.
The final highlight is a patriotic eagle silk embroidery souvenir, dating to the late 19th or early 20th century, and likely made in Japan. The eagle form is raised or padded, has a glass blue eye, and stands on a shield with two flags above an E Pluribus Unum banner. It is estimated at $150-$250.
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