The 1809 first edition of A History
of New York in Lehigh University's Special Collections is unique not
only because of its year of publication but also for a hidden treasure
it contains. Pasted on the inside front cover is a letter written
by Washington Irving himself. Addressing an unknown person, Irving
seems to be asking for help in securing an apartment. The details
of this letter are somewhat difficult to decipher but are transcribed below
as best we could. There is no record of how Lehigh acquired the book
or how the letter got there.
My dear Sir,
When you wrote to the person at Port St. Mary's will you have the kindness to [specify?] that the apartment wanted is to [consist?] of three [rooms?], with a kitchen. [Mr.?] [Hall?] [wishes] [it] _________ on the bay and [to?] [have?] a garden. A little way out of the town would be [preferable?]. He wishes it to be furnished. He has a mattress & bed back for _______ but [worse?] for his [research?]. If no just _________ can be [pursued?], one in a pleasant and lively part of the town will be desirable.
I [shall] write by [their] _______ to the Americas [Corral in Cadiz?] or [the] _______, as it may not be in his [favor] to attend to the written [accurately?]. I wish you ________ _______ could write and [whether?] any ________ of the kind are to be had.
______ [this?] trouble my dear sir, which circumstances careful [see?] to give you, and _______ me with ________ great regard.
Your obliged friend,
P.S. Have you _______ of _______ in your library. If so, will you have the kindness to send it by the [bearer].
Casa de [Cera?]. Aug. 9th
Manuscript | Resources | Credits