- A pair of handwritten letters by one of the most influential writers of the 19th century.
Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (1832-1898), known more commonly by his pen name Lewis Carroll, was a renowned English writer, mathematician and photographer.
As Carroll he wrote Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (1865), its sequel Through the Looking-Glass (1871), and the epic poem The Hunting of the Snark (1876), all of which are classic examples of the literary nonsense genre.
To date his works have sold millions of copies around the world, and have inspired countless adaptations on the stage and screen.
Dodgson was also a highly skilled amateur photographer, who took up the new art form during the 1850s and established his own studio, creating an estimated 3,000 photographs during his life.
In January 1877 Dodgson began a correspondence with Edward T. Draper, an agent for the Royal Marines and a fellow amateur photographer.
Draper sent Dodgson several photographs, including some of his 13-year-old daughter Dolly, telling him she was a fan of his books.
Dodgson then wrote in return to Dolly Draper, and struck up a friendship with the family.
These two handwritten letters are part of that correspondence.
Dodgson's first letter, dated February 5, 1877, included a photograph of himself and poked fun at his famous 'alter ego' of Lewis Carroll:
"Here is the portrait of the man I told you about. He is no relation of mine (but I have known him all my life)—at least, if he is a relation, I don’t know what sort of relation you would call him—He is about the same age as I am, but he certainly isn’t my brother, nor any kind of cousin."
The four-page letter is written across two adjoining sheets, and measures 3.25 x 5.25". In fine condition, with a rusty paperclip mark on the top of the front page.
In the second letter, dated April 12, 1877, Dodgson mentions sending Draper and her family copies of his most famous books, and also includes a piece of nonsense wordplay typical of his work:
"I think the only way to prevent you all forgetting me again…is to send each a copy of some one of my 3 books…I’ll tell you what I was thinking of sending…—For Jessie, Alice’s Adventures…for Roger, the Snark…& for you, the Looking-glass…
"With these helps, you may perhaps remember me for a while, but it will give a far better chance if you would put me in among your Modern History dates…—And then if even Roger says ‘Why, I don’t believe you care a fig for Mr. Dodgson,’ you can say ‘Ah, but I care a date for him!’"
The three page letter is written on two adjoining sheets, measuring 4.5 x 7", and is in fine condition. Dodgson's signature at the bottom of the letter has been clipped, and replaced with a facsimile.
Both letters are written in Dodgson's trademark violet ink, an unusual colour which he used for the majority of his correspondence throughout his life.
Additionally, the second letter is contained in its original folder from Walter Benjamin Autographs, the renowned US autograph dealership established in 1887.
Benjamin is recognized as playing a significant role is the development of the autograph collecting hobby in the late 19th and early 20th century, and the company continued to trade for 121 years.
Later typed copies of both the letters are also included.
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