Lot 231

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"America The Beautiful", Our Nation's Second National Anthem. Handwritten Lyrics Signed by Katharine Lee Bates.

Autograph manuscript boldly signed by Bates as "Katharine Lee Bates," below four stanzas written entirely in Bates' hand of our nation's second National Anthem, "America the Beautiful." 1p, 8.5" x 5.5", no date, Wellesley, Massachusetts, Flattened folds, minor toning, and evidence of previous mounting on verso, else fine.

The first draft of "America the Beautiful" was sketched out in the summer of 1893 when Bates taught English at Colorado College in Colorado Springs. Several impressive sights along the way found a place in her poem, including the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago, which held a bright promise for the future within its brilliant alabaster buildings; the waving wheat fields of Kansas, through which her train traveled; and the imposing view of the Rockies and the Great Plains from atop Pikes Peak. On that mountain, the kernel of the poem was born, and she wrote a few stanzas in her notebook upon returning to her room at the original Antlers Hotel. The poem was published two years later in The Congregationalist, to commemorate the Fourth of July and it quickly caught the public's fancy. Amended versions were published in 1904 and 1913. The only payment Miss Bates ever received for her efforts was a small check from the Congregationalist when "America the Beautiful" was first published.

The original copy is held by the Falmouth Historical Society. An example previously realized $40,000 at a New York auction in 2004 and Heritage sold one example in 2009 for $22,705.00 and another in 2010 for $21,750.20. The present copy is a rare opportunity to own what is our nation's "Second National Anthem" written in the hand of its author and signed.

This item comes with a Certificate from John Reznikoff, a premier authenticator for both major 3rd party authentication services, PSA and JSA (James Spence Authentications), as well as numerous auction houses.


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September 28, 2022 10:30 AM EDT
Wilton, CT, US

University Archives

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Bid Increments
From: To: Increments:
$0 $99 $10
$100 $299 $20
$300 $499 $25
$500 $999 $50
$1,000 $1,999 $100
$2,000 $2,999 $200
$3,000 $4,999 $250
$5,000 $9,999 $500
$10,000 $19,999 $1,000
$20,000 $49,999 $2,500
$50,000 + $5,000