Lot 188

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Bat Masterson Rare 1914 TLS to Old West Author w/ 3 Manuscript Pages

A typed letter from former Western Lawman William "Bat" Masterson (1853-1921) to author Robert M. Wright (1840-1915) regarding the publication of his 1913 autobiography Dodge City, The Cowboy Capital. TLS, 1p, measuring 8.5" x 11", dated February 4, 1914, New York. Signed at conclusion as "W. B. Masterson" during his time as a sportswriter for the New York Morning Telegraph. Within, Masterson praises Wright's book, calling it a "meritorious volume", and offers advice on how to increase sales. The letter is accompanied by three type manuscript pages from Wright's book, which detail the murder of Masterson's brother, Ed (1852-1878). Lightly toned, with expected creasing and two small pin holes present at top edge. Otherwise, a near-fine example. Attractively matted and displayed, flanked by a portrait of Masterson at left and biographical plaque at right. Framed to the overall size of 22.5" x 37".

In full:
"I got your letter yesterday and hasten to reply for fear I'll forget it as I find it is quite easy for me to forget things now.
I am indeed sorry that the book doesn't sell more readily than it does for it really is a meritorious volume. I will call Mr. Price's attention to what you say regarding his writing from time to time stories from the book and believe as you do that it will help its sale immensely.
What is required to stimulate the sale of a book is advertising and unless that it done there is little demand for a book no matter how interesting it is. I know of no way to help out in the matter here although it might be worth while to place some of them on sale in one of the book stores.
I have talked the book up among friends and one of them told me the other day he intended sending for a number of books to present to some personal friends. I loaned mine to him to read and he was greatly interested in it. I hope for better results with the book."

William Barclay "Bat" Masterson was a U.S. Army scout, lawman, professional gambler, and journalist known for his exploits in the late 19th and early 20th-century American Old West. He was born to a working-class Irish family in Quebec, but moved to the Western frontier as a young man and quickly distinguished himself as a buffalo hunter, civilian scout, and Indian fighter on the Great Plains. He later earned fame as a gunfighter and sheriff in Dodge City, Kansas, during which time he was involved in several notable shootouts. Indeed, given his reputation as notable western lawman, Masterson's promotion of Wright's book is unsurprising.

Masterson first arrived in Dodge City in 1877 as a deputy sheriff, alongside Wyatt Earp. The next year he was elected Sherriff of Fort County, Kansas, and would later wear a badge in both Colorado and New York. In 1878, Bat's brother Ed Masterson, then Marshal of Dodge City, was murdered by an outlaw as described in the pages of Wright's manuscript. At the turn of the 20th century, Masterson moved to New York and was appointed deputy marshal by President Theodore Roosevelt, although his principal vocation for the rest of his life became journalism. 

Robert Marr Wright, considered one of the founders of Dodge City, was first appointed by then-General Ulysses S. Grant to be a port trader at the Fort Dodge military outpost. He then went on to serve in various political offices between the mid-1870s and early 1880s, holding the positions of mayor of Dodge City, treasurer of Ford County, as well as the state's forestry commissioner. Wright published his autobiography, Dodge City: The Cowboy Capital in 1913, but ultimately suffered a financial loss from the venture.

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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