George Washington Carver letter archive to make $120,000?

An archive of letters from the scientist and botanist George Washington Carver to his friend Sophie Liston is the top lot of an African Americana at Swann Auction Galleries.

It is valued at $80,000-120,000 ahead of the sale, which will take place in New York on March 27.

George Washington Carver letters
George Washington Carver is lauded for his work in the field of agriculture

Carver is famous in the US for his work in the field of agriculture - particularly in the development and promotion of alternatives to cotton, which was both destructive to the soil and blighted by the boll weevil.

He urged poor farmers to grow crops, including peanuts and sweet potatoes, that had multiple applications and would also provide them with sustenance.

Carver met Liston while studying at Simpson College in Indiana where they formed a strong friendship. They continued to write to one another throughout their lives and the archive covers almost the entire span of Carver's illustrious career.

An archive of material from the abolitionist Bourne family is estimated to make $40,000-60,000.

The material includes speeches and correspondence by George Bourne (1780-1845), a Presbyterian minister thought to be the first abolitionist to call for an immediate end to slavery in America.

Also included is a range of documents pertaining to his son Theodore Bourne (1822-1886), co-founder of the African Civilization Society, which sought to help educated black Americans to return to Africa and develop the continent.

This idea came about as a result of the failure of the reconstruction period, which saw slaves freed but still subjected to institutional racism.

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