An important archive of materials pertaining to Admiral John Grimes Walker and the Panama Canal are to cross the block at Heritage Auctions.
The lot will lead a sale of historical books in New York on April 9 with a $30,000-50,000 estimate.
Walker was president of the Isthmian Canal Commission, the committee set up in 1904 to plan the route. The archive consists of letters to and from Walker alongside photographs and other documents that tell the remarkable story.
In one letter he explains to his wife: "I may have to go soon to Central America to negotiate treaties with Nicaragua and Costa Rica looking to the construction of a canal.
"The President wishes me to go, saying that he thinks I can do it better than anybody Else and that unless Mr. Hay has something that he thinks better to propose, he intends to send me�Ǫ
"It is the greatest Engineering problem the world has ever known and if successfully accomplished will go down to future generations as marking one of the greatest Epochs in the world history."
An 1864 signed letter by Abraham Lincoln concerning the promotion of a New Jersey colonel is also on offer, with a valuation of $18,000-25,000.
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