Lot 319

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Varina Davis 1892 ALS: "…misfortunes in quick succession here prevented our offering our mites."

A letter from Varina H. Davis (1826-1906), wife of Confederate President Jefferson Davis (1808-1889), on black-bordered mourning stationary. ALS, 2p of a bifolium, measuring 5" x 8", dated June 19, 1892, New York City. Signed "V. Jefferson Davis" at conclusion, the letter comes in response to one Mrs. M. L. Oglesby's request for Varina Anne "Winnie" Davis (1864-1898) to solicit money from a wealthy acquaintance of the family: John S. Richardson. The elder Varina writes on behalf of her daughter, declining on account of a lack of familiarity with the man in question. Accompanied by its original envelope, from which the postage stamp has been exercised. Flattened letter folds present, with expected age toning and handling marks. Else, very good.

In full:
"Yours of the 15th just was forwarded here from Beauvoir. My daughter has asked me to answer your note, as it was unpleasant to be obliged to refuse a request of yours. Mr. James S. Richardson is one of our oldest friends, and the acquaintance began when my daughter was a very small child and he just returned from college. She holds no nearer relation to him than this, and could not take the liberty of soliciting, or presenting the request for another, for a contribution of money from him for any purpose. We feel assured that no intervention on the part of any one could add to his desire to accede to a request preferred by you in your own personality. With the hope that you may meet with success in your effort and much regret that misfortunes in quick succession here prevented our offering our mites. I am with my daughter's kind regards…"

Varina Howell Davis was the second wife of Jefferson Davis and the only First Lady of the Confederate States of America. She was married on February 26, 1845, at the age of 19 to Davis, eighteen years her senior, and the couple went on to have six children. Despite being married to the President of the Confederacy, Varina did not support slavery and was rather hesitant about secession and the war. Upon her husband's death in 1889, which led to a series of financial hardships, Varina and her youngest daughter Winnie moved to New York where they made a living writing for various magazines and newspapers.

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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February 21, 2024 10:30 AM EST
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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