Circa 1880s Alexander Cartwright Handwritten and Signed Genealogy Chart

Sold For: $2,400

Auction Year: 2017 spring

Lot: 1480

Item Year: 1885

Category: Autographed Baseballs/Flats/Photos

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One-page genealogy chart, undated, handwritten in both pencil and ink by Alexander Joy Cartwright Jr., one of the founding fathers of baseball. Although this chart is not formally signed by Cartwright, it does include one full-name signature and one partial (last name) signature, making it ideal for autograph collectors. The chart, which is written on Cartwright's business letterhead, details the lineage of his mother, Esther Cartwright (nee Burlock). It begins by listing Esther's grandparents and proceeds to document her parents and eight siblings, as well as the birth and (as applicable) death dates for each family member. The first Cartwright signature, scripted in black ink (grading "10"), appears on the third line which records the relationship of Esther to David and Elenor Laton: "(Mother's side) Grandparents of Esther Burlock - (Cartwright)." The full-name Cartwright signature appears in pencil (grading "8/9") along the base where he records the name of each spouse for Esther and two of her sisters: "Esther - married Alex J. Cartwright" (Cartwright was named after his father, Alex J. Cartwright Sr.).

Cartwright, who was one of the original key members of the New York Knickerbockers, is renowned for his contributions to the development of organized baseball and for having formulated many of the modern rules of baseball in 1845. His signature is extremely rare, though a handful of signed documents such as this have survived, originating years ago directly from the Cartwight family. Cartwright left New York in 1849 and headed West to make his fortune during the California gold rush. Failing to strike it rich, he continued on to Hawaii, where his fortunes quickly improved. Within two years he opened his own firm as a whaling and commission merchant. The business soon expanded to include matters of banking, handling of trust estates, insurance and real estate, which later led to the formation of Cartwright and Company Ltd., a firm that survives to this day. Cartwright also popularized the game of baseball in Hawaii and remained an ardent supporter of organized baseball right up until his death in 1892. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1939. The document (8.25 x 10.25 inches) is moderately toned and displays three horizontal folds. Three hand-punched "notebook" holes appear along the left border and there are a number of minor edge tears. In Very Good condition overall. Auction LOA from James Spence/JSA. Reserve $300. Estimate $1,000+.


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