Sale 2471 - Printed & Manuscript African Americana, March 29, 2018
“I AM CONTENT TO BE MADE KNOWN THROUGH THIS SPECIMEN OF YOUR ART” 194 c DOUGLASS, FREDERICK. Letter to the sculptor of his well-known bust, praising the work. Autograph Letter Signed to Johnson M. Mundy. One page, 8 x 5 inches, on a sheet of lined paper; apparently detached from an integral blank on the left edge, two horizontal folds, three lines underlined in pencil. Washington, 23 March 1880 [3,000/4,000] During this period, Douglass was serving as United States Marshal for the District of Columbia, and working on the third edition of his autobiography. He wrote to Johnson Marchant Mundy (1832-1897), a sculptor from Rochester, NY, the city where Douglass had lived for many years. Eight years before, Mundy had completed a bust of Douglass for the University of Rochester.A casting of this bust is now on display at the Douglass Historic Site. In full:“My dear sir: I am obliged by your note and the photographs of the bust. They are excellent.The more I look at the bust, the better I like it.There is a fullness and a completeness about it which I have not often found in that class of work. Its rigid truth strikes at once, and I am content to be made known through this specimen of your art to all who may come after me, and who may wish to know how I looked in the world. I saw our friends on Capital Hill a day or two ago. Spoke kindly of you, and spoke sincerely, no doubt.With great respect, yours truly, Fred’k Douglass. Order for me 1 dozen of the photos.Will send the cash on delivery.” See Stauffer, Picturing Frederick Douglass, page 84.