The Acquisitions Table: William H. Bryant, Letter, 1858

William H. Bryant, Letter, 1858.

442326_0001This entertaining letter between friends was written from Boston by William H. Bryant to his friend Nathaniel in 1858. The letter is self-confessed by the author to be of little significance: “As I have a little spare time I thought I would improve it by writing you. Do be sure news are not very plenty.” Bryant goes on to recount recent social events, including a wedding and a concert, and reports that his boot and shoe business is dull. What is most striking about this seemingly ordinary letter are Bryant’s illustrations and comics. Bryant drew a rather risqué caricature of the bride and groom on the front of the letter, and the entire back page of the letter is filled with two comic scenes. One shows a man asking a shop girl for tobacco in an elaborate manner at J. J. Barrows’s dry good’ store. While again probably killing time, as he was doing with his letter writing, Bryant was amused by his own illustrations, asking Nathaniel, “If you can without any trouble, I wish you would show Bugbee these pictures.”

Published by

Tracey Kry

Assistant Curator of Manuscripts and Assistant Reference Librarian, American Antiquarian Society

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