James Spedding (1808-1881), editor of Sir Francis Bacon, literary critic and Cambridge Apostle [ Lady Juliet Pollock [ née Creed ] (1819-1899), wife of Sir William Frederick Pollock (1815-1888) ]
Both letters from '60 L. I. F.' [ i.e. 60 Lincoln's Inn Fields, London ]. 3 June 1847 and 24 April 1854.
Learned and witty, Spedding was a popular figure within the literary scene of Victorian London. As he lay dying following an accident, Tennyson rushed to the hospital and begged admission to his bedside. When approached by Delia Bacon, he dismissed the Baconian theory with contempt, and was the first to realise that the play 'Henry VIII' was a collaboration between Shakespeare and John Fletcher. Both of the present letters are signed 'Jas Spedding' and addressed to 'My dear Mrs. Pollock', and both in good condition, on lightly aged and worn paper, with minor traces of glue from mount.
Catharine Victoria Thompson [ Catharine Howard Thompson ], Boston Baconian, editor of 'The Sphinx Magazine' and astrologer [ Sir Francis Bacon and the authorship of the plays of William Shakespeare ]
Items dated 1898, 1916, 1925 and 1931, the last two from Boston, Massachusetts.
Thompson was a well-known Boston astrologer in the early decades of the twentieth century, with a lucrative private practice and columns in the 'Ladies Home Journal' and the 'Boston Globe', the latter syndicated to nearly a hundred other American newspapers. In August 1933 she was unmasked as a fraud by a disgruntled secretary in an article in the 'Ladies Home Journal'. Seven items, in good condition, on paper with light signs of age. ONE: Typescript titled 'A Boston Woman Who Has Made Good | Catherine Howard Thompson'. Dated internally to 1916.
G. W. Bacon [ George Washington Bacon ] (1830-1922), American-born London cartographer and publisher [ G. W. Bacon & Co., 127 Strand ]
On letterhead of G. W. Bacon, F.R.G.S., 127 Strand, London. 15 December 1886.
The letter is 2pp., 8vo, and the order form 1p., 8vo. In good condition, on aged and worn paper. A skilful facsimile: Bacon has even included an interpolation on the first page to make it look more like an authentic letter.
F. G. Kitton [Frederic George Kitton] (1856-1904), English artist and writer, an authority on Charles Dickens, Shakespeare and Francis Bacon
St Albans, England. 20 March 1899.
1p., on 11 x 9 cm card. Addressed on reverse 'To the Editor of The Book Buyer | c/o Messrs. C. Scribner's Sons | New York City | U.S.A.' With two postmarks. In fair condition, lightly aged and worn, and postage stamp removed. Since posting a letter on the previous day, he has 'discovered another article satirising the Bacon-Shakespeare theory', as with the one 'in Macmillan', anonymous. It is titled 'Who wrote Dickens's Novels?', and appeared in the Cornhill Magazine, August 1888. 'The author humorously endeavours to prove that Gladstone wrote them!!'
One page, sm. folio, sl. crumpled and stained, C17th hand. Another copy (BL Sloane MS. 3562, f.99, to Spedding, the "best copy") is reproduced in Spedding, ed., 'The Works of Francis Bacon', vol. XIII, p.144, with the suggestion that, though James was capable, Bacon himself could have written it. A copy is also to be found in the Harley MS., and presumably elsewhere. The Sloane and Harley copies differ in small matters from this one (one of several examples, "nobis" for "Sloane's "vobis" in 'quam nobis suspecta'). One obvious anomaly.
[Perkins, Bacon & Co [Perkins, Bacon & Petch], London printers of banknotes and postage stamps, including the Penny Black in 1840 [Archibald Bennet (1783-1868), Secretary, Bank of Scotland]
Letter from Perkins, Bacon and Petch, 69 Fleet Street, London. 16 January 1852. Letter from Perkins, Bacon & Co: 69 Fleet Street E.C. 27 February 1863. Letter from the Bank of England: 28 August 1852.
These two items cast interesting light on the working practices of a notable firm in a specialist field of printing. ONE: From Perkins, Bacon & Petch, 16 January 1852. 4pp., 4to. In good condition, on lightly-aged paper. They have received his letter, from which they quote a passage in which Bennet states that on 'account of the inconvenience caused by the time which must elapse before we can obtain a supply of Letters of Credit from London to revert to our former practice of obtaining them from our Edinbugh Engraver.
Peter Levi [Peter Chad Tigar Levi] (1931-2000), Professor of Poetry at the University of Oxford and Jesuit priest [Dom Moraes (1938-2004), Indian poet; his wife Henrietta Moraes (1931-1999)]
Place not stated. December 1960.
2pp., foolscap 8vo. In fair condition, on lightly aged and worn paper. A fair copy of a twenty-eight line poem, arranged in seven four-line stanzas. Signed at end 'P. L. | December 1960.' The first stanza reads 'Rain-threaded gull-wheeling bell-clamorous air, | by wind shifted, by smoke lightly weighted, | in which sirens beautifully despair, | no monumnet crumbles uncelebrated,'. The poem ends with a simile of 'Adam when he woke: | stood for a moment as if he had been blind, | and bent suddenly over Eve, and spoke.' There is no indication that the poem has been published.
Samuel Smiles (1812-1904), Scottish writer and reformer, author of 'Self-Help' (1859) [John T. Bacon of Blackburn, Lancashire, autograph hunter; S. A. Walker of Regent's Street, London, photographer]
On letterhead of 8 Pembroke Gardens, Kensington W. 18 July 1882.
2pp., 12mo. Bifolium. Good, on lightly-aged paper. In original stamped and postmarked envelope, addressed by Smiles. The 'last photographic likeness' of Smiles 'was taken by Mr S. A. Walker, 230 Regent Street W'. Smiles has 'no doubt' that Walker will let Bacon 'have a copy' (i.e. Bacon will not be getting a free copy from Smiles). Smiles's book 'Physical Education' was 'published by me no less than 44 years ago. It had a small sale, and is now quite out of print. Though pretty good at the time, there are now far better works on the subject.'
John Mackenzie Bacon (1846-1904), British lecturer, scientist, aeronaut [BALLOONING; VICTORIAN AMATEUR PHOTOGRAPHY]
16 September to 22 November 1901; on 'Coldash, Newbury' letterheads.
Autograph items (all 12mo) very good; TLS (letter 7, quarto) aged and worn at extremities. All items bearing the Society's stamp, and most docketed as answered. Letter 1 (16 September 1901, three pages). Asks if Wood will 'act as Judge' at a 'Photographic Exhibition' held at 'a local Institution'. Letter 2 (23 September 1901, four pages). On behalf of Committee thanks Wood for agreeing. 'The Exhibition beings to take definite shape'. Suggests that 'one other Colleague to assist' may be needed, and suggests individuals. Letter 3 (27 September 1901, four pages).