A Collection Not Seen in a Century

A recently acquired private collection of autographs and letters includes war-date missives of Nathanael Greene and Baron von Steuben

Every day at The Raab Collection we field phone calls and emails from people who have inherited some historical documents. Occasionally, an entire collection has been preserved and passed down through several generations, and when that happens, we anticipate the discovery of exciting and unrecorded material. 

Such was the case when someone recently contacted us about a collection of autographs and letters that had been in their family for a century. We acquired it. Watch our preview video showing selections from the collection and featuring a conversation between Steven and Nathan Raab: 


1778: Nathanael Greene

The collection contains an unpublished Nathanael Greene letter from 1778 in which the Revolutionary War general pleads for funds from George Washington to conduct the Rhode Island campaign. 

1781: Baron von Steuben

This collection also includes a rare, unpublished 1781 letter from Baron von Steuben to Thomas Jefferson, then a governor in exile. In the letter, the military leader reports on the British success in Virginia.

1799: Stephen Girard 

Another discovery from the collection: a 1799 letter on banking by self-made millionaire Stephen Girard, who just about single-handedly funded the War of 1812, keeping the U.S. solvent until the war ended. 

Other historical and literary highlights from this treasure trove include letters by Daniel Webster, Alfred Lord Tennnyson, Anthony Trollope, Joel Chandler Harris, and others, as well as a signed musical quotation from La Boheme by Giacomo Puccini and a signed quotation by senator and statesman Charles Sumner.

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