Lot 123 of 395:
ALs from the ill-fated author of rare Colorado Handbook  

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Lot closed - Sold For (Includes Buyers Premium):$120
$200 - $300

Autograph Letter Signed - 1872 from the ill-fated author of rare Colorado Handbook

Willett, F.C.

Canon City, Colorado


July 6, 1872


4 pp. 

To Miss Abbie Langworthy [Evansville, Indiana] “…You may have heard that failing health has again driven me to the Mountains of Colorado. I am spending a few days in this little town, located in the wild Grand Canon through which the Arkansas River forces its way from the mountains to the plains. I came up from Pueblo by stage, forty five miles…I shall be glad to send you more of these letters which I am writing for the papers, giving some observations of mine on this region…I enclose an item clipped from the a late morning paper in Pueblo, which will give you some idea of the way I am endeavoring to amuse myself while seeking to regain my health…” Born in Vermont, Fernando Cortez Willett dropped out of Williams College to fight as an infantry private at Gettysburg during the Civil War. He then became a high school principal in Indiana, but, suffering from heart disease, moved west to frontier Colorado for his health, “traversing the state” on horseback, visiting each town to gather statistics and local history, which led to his co-authoring a Hand-book of Colorado, For Citizen and Traveller, published in 1872 in a limited edition of 500 copies. Subsequent revisions for “Miners, Settlers, Tourists and Investors” went through ten editions, though Willett did not live to see them. His Colorado travels gave him needed exercise and kept him in the dry, open air while he marveled at the fine mountain scenery of the Rockies, all of which seemed to hasten his recovery. But after entering a Theological Seminary in Cincinnati, he suffered another hemorrhage. Through friendship with an influential Indiana politician, he was appointed Secretary of the US Legation in Mexico, but upon arrival he again suffered a violent hemorrhage and died on the streets of Mexico City at age 33 – so all of his letters are scarce.

Lot Amendments

Folds seamlessly strengthened with archival tape, a bit yellowed; very good.

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