Autograph Letter Signed.

SPARKS, Jared (1789-1866).

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This controversial American historian and editor pioneered the use of primary historical documents in compiling his many histories, but his tendency to heavily edit those documents earned him much criticism, as did his habit of snipping up important George Washington documents to send handwriting samples to autograph collectors; owner and editor of "The North American Review" (1823-29) and president of Harvard University (1849-53); among his many books are "The Writings of George Washington," "The Works of Benjamin Franklin" and "The Diplomatic Correspondence of the American Revolution." ALS, 3pp, 7 3/4" X 10", Cambridge, MA, 1850 November 6. Addressed to Benson J. Lossing (1813-91), historian and wood engraver. Writing as the new Harvard University president on a pale blue 4pp lettersheet, Sparks notes, "I regret that I cannot give any definite answer to your inquiry concerning Washington's 'Life Guards'. My impression is, that this Guard consisted of men, who were detailed from time to time from the general ranks of the army, probably selected with reference to their fidelity & military character. I do not remember in the Army Returns any mention of this Guard, as a distinctly organized body of men." Sparks thanks Lossing for sending him his serialized "Pictorial Field Book of the Revolution" (1850-52), which Lossing both wrote and illustrated: "I can estimate at their full value the great pains & labor you have bestowed in the preparation of this work, both in regard to the incidents which you have collected & to the drawings intended for their illustration." Then, perhaps in reply to a request from Lossing for such "incidents" to use in this book, Sparks closes with: "Jane McRea was deliberately shot by an Indian. This fact, among others mentioned in the 'Life of Arnold' on this subject, was told to me by Samuel Standish, who was standing near the party at the time, saw all that passed, & could not be mistaken." ("Life of Arnold" refers to Sparks' own book, the 1835 "The Life and Treason of Benedict Arnold.") Choice content from one noted Revolutionary War historian to another. Bookseller Inventory #

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Title: Autograph Letter Signed.

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