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Lot 632
Lot.
(Ross, Charley.) Manuscript Archive of the Original Kidnapper(s)' Ransom Letters. Philadelphia, etc. July 3 - Nov 26, 1874. Comprising 23 of the 24 original holograph ransom letters, the "Rondout Lighthouse" letter & 20 of the original postal envelopes (including the Rondout Lighthouse envelope). Each letter is designated by a numerical notation in pencil or ink & sometimes both, likely by Christian K. Ross or by the publisher of his book, The Father's Story of Charley Ross. Of the 24 letters, the 23 present above are designated nos 1-4, 6-22, 22 1/2, 23. Only letter no. 5 is absent. The postal envelopes present are designated as nos. 1?, 3, 6-20, 22, 22 1/2, 23 & the Roundout Lighthouse; nos. 6 & 20 are fragments only. Comprisal: [Letter 1], n.p., Jul 3, [1874], 2pp, 8vo; [Letter 2], Philadelphia, Jul 6, [1874], 2pp, sm folio, close tears along folds; [Letter 3], Phila, Jul 7, [1874], 2pp, sm folio; [Letter 4], Phila, Jul 9, [1874], 2pp, sm folio; [Letter 6], Phila, Jul 9, [1874], 3pp, sm folio; [Letter 7], Phila, July 15, [1874], 3pp, sm folio; [Letter 8], Phila, July 18, [1874], 4pp, sm folio; [Letter 9], Burlington, Jul 21, [1874], 4pp, sm folio; [Letter 10], Phila, Jul 24, [1874], 4pp, sm folio; [Letter 11], Phila, Jul 30, [1874], 4pp, sm folio; [Letter 12], Phila, Jul 30, [1874], 2pp, sm folio; [Letter 13], Phila, Jul 31, [1874], 2pp, sm folio, paper loss affecting 3 or 4 lines of ms; [Letter 14], Phila, Aug 3, [1874], 2pp, sm folio; [Letter 15], Phila, Aug 4, [1874], 2pp, sm folio; [Letter 16], New York, Aug 20, [1874], 2pp, sm folio; [Letter 17], Albany, Aug 26, [1874], 4pp, sm folio; [Letter 18], New York, Sept 6, [1874], 4pp, sm folio; [Letter 19], New Haven, Sept 23, [1874], 4pp, sm folio; [Letter 20], New Brunswick, Sept 30, [1874], 3pp, sm folio; [Letter 21], [Newberg, NY], Oct 11, [1874], 4pp, sm folio; [Letter 22], Phila, Oct 31, [1874], 2pp, sm folio; [Letter 22 1/2], New Brunswick, Nov 3, [1874], 4pp, sm folio; [Letter 23], Phila, Nov 6, [1874], 2pp, sm folio; [The Roundout Lighthouse Letter], New York, Jun 20, [18]74, 2pp, (2) 12mo sheets. Letters & envelopes addresses by the kidnapper(s) to Mr. Ros [sic]. * Also includes 1p sm 8vo note, New York, Oct 25, [1874], signed by W.H. Westervelt (former Philadelphia policemen and friend of presumed kidnapper Bill Mosher, tried for the kidnapping, but convicted on conspiracy charges).
The notorious crime documented by the ms material above is considered the first U.S. kidnapping for ransom and is notable as occuring in and disturbing the idyll of one of America's first middle-class bedroom communities.
Estimate $3,000-5,000


Descriptions provided in both printed and on-line catalogue formats do not include condition reports. The absence of a condition statement does not imply that the lot is in perfect condition or completely free from wear and tear, imperfections or the effects of aging. Interested bidders are strongly encouraged to request a condition report on any lots upon which they intend to bid, prior to placing a bid. All transactions are governed by Freeman's Conditions of Sale.
Sold for $20,000 (buyer’s premium included)