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Extremely Significant 1908 Henry Chadwick ALS to Sam Crane Regarding the Disposition of His Baseball Collection
Starting Bid - $10,000.00, Sold For -
One-page handwritten letter, dated February 27, 1908, from Henry Chadwick in which he bequeaths many of his historical baseball "mementoes" to his good friend and protégé Sam Crane. This is an especially significant and poignant letter, as it was written just two months prior to Chadwick's passing. He was in very poor health at the time, and, true to his nature, his final days were occupied more with finding a new home for his remaining baseball mementoes than reflecting upon his own mortality. "Father" Chadwick had long been the greatest advocate of the national pastime and that fact, along with his unquestionable integrity, resulted in his having been chosen as the caretaker for many of baseball's most important artifacts, a stewardship he did not take lightly. Now, upon his imminent demise, he felt obligated to find another person who would both appreciate their historical importance and preserve them with the same care and devotion that he had. That man was his good friend Sam Crane. Crane was a fellow sportswriter who had mentored under Chadwick and later ascended to the position of sports editor at the Brooklyn Eagle. After Chadwick's retirement Crane replaced him as New York's most respected baseball journalist and, in turn, inherited Chadwick's reputation as the city's greatest exponent of the game. Here, in this letter, Chadwick fully passes the torch to Crane and bids farewell to his most treasured pieces. He writes in full: Friend Crane, Many thanks for your letters of last week. I quite enjoyed your last reports in publications and await your next letter. Enclosed are the other relics from our National Game's early days. I must preface the fact that I am entrusting you with my souvenirs for the mere fact that I am nearing the end of my days - and I know that you more than others will preserve these historic items. I plan on giving my scrapbooks to Al Spalding for posterity for I know he will preserve them with the same integrity that you will entrust these relics. It is in the best interests of preserving our history that I have honored your requests to safeguard my mementoes. Yours very sincerely, Henry Chadwick. - P. S. Make special note of Frank Queen's gold ball from use campaign of 1868 - and the ball I played with at Hoboken with the Knicks in '47 - H.C. Both the text and signature, penned in black fountain pen, display varying degrees of strength and grade "7/8" overall. The disposition of Chadwick's collection was a lengthy process and he had actually begun the task a few years earlier, slowly meting out materials to a number of trusted individuals. During that period Crane was one of the primary recipients, for the reasons stated in this letter. The items sent to Crane on this occasion were surely among the final remaining pieces in Chadwick's collection, for he died two months later on April 20th. As mentioned in the letter, Chadwick did eventually leave his scrapbooks to Albert Spalding, who then bequeathed them (along with all of his own baseball albums) to the New York Public Library, where they remain intact as part of the institute's permanent collection. The letter, penned on an unlined sheet (8.25 x 5.5 inches), displays two vertical fold lines and light soiling. In Very Good to Excellent condition. The letter is affixed to a scrapbook page (10.75 x 13.5 inches) which originates directly from a scrapbook kept by Sam Crane. (Note: This is one of four pages removed from the scrapbook, which, along with the balance of the scrapbook, are being offered in four separate lots in this auction.) Also affixed to the page is a "cabinet style" news photo of Chadwick (inscribed by Chadwick along the base of the mount) and various newspaper clippings of "Chadwick's Chat" articles. The news photo (heavily outlined for press publication) is affixed to a thick cardboard mount (5.5 x 8 inches), at the base of which is written "To Sam Crane, With Compliments of Henry Chadwick" (with heavy scuffing to "Chadwick" and possibly not in Chadwick's hand). Various small newspaper clippings are also affixed to the mount which border the photo. In Very Good condition. The balance and the reverse side of the scrapbook page feature various baseball newspaper clippings including articles written by Sam Crane. LOA from James Spence/JSA. Reserve $10,000. Estimate (open). SOLD FOR
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