Records & Results: Focus on Women — June 1, 2023

The house’s third iteration of Focus on Women on June 1, 2023, an auction dedicated to the contributions of women to art, life, and society, brought $361,090, a total more than the presale estimate for the auction, with archives and literature among the leading items of the sale.

Charlotte Perkins Gilman

The sale was led by a family archive of photographs and letters of Charlotte Perkins Gilman, which included 45 photos of Gilman and a typed draft of the comedic play, A Pretty Idiot written by Gilman and Grace Ellery Channing among other items. The lot brought $60,000. Also related to Gilman was a family association set of The Forerunner, a complete run of seven volumes published from 1909 to 1916, which earned $22,500.

Charlotte Perkins Gilman, The Forerunner, complete rune of seven volumes, signed and inscribed by Gilman, New York, 1909-16. Sold for $22.500.


Further archives of note included those once belonging to Fanny Stevenson, which documented her travels in the American West and Vailima in Samoa ($25,000); artist Mary Beth Edelson with an archive of working files and correspondence ($7,000); and travel diaries and photo albums from Loretta Belle Tulian Eaton ($5,250).


Sojourner Truth, Narrative of Sojourner Truth, a Northern Slave, first edition, Boston, 1850. Sold for $20,000.

Top-selling literature included a first edition of Sojourner Truth’s Narrative of Sojourner Truth, a Northern Slave, Boston, 1850 ($20,000); Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, London, 1817 ($13,750); a first edition of Compendio de la Vida, y virtudes de la venerable Catharina de San Juan, Puebla, Mexico, 1692, which tells the story of Catarina de San Juan ($11,250); and a first trade edition of Helena Bochoráková-Dittrichová’s Z Mého Detství Drevoryt, Prague, 1929, the first graphic novel ever published by a woman ($7,500). Religious text was on offer with Elizabeth Cady Stanton’s The Woman’s Bible, New York, 1898, signed and inscribed by Stanton ($13,750), and the Bible translated by Julia Evelina Smith into English, Smith was the first woman to accomplish this feat ($4,750). Also of note was Louisa May Alcott’s autograph script for a performance of Mrs. Jarleys Waxworks, dated circa 1867 to 1879 ($4,750).

Additional Highlights

Additional highlights included works by Cindy Sherman and Flor Garduño, a signed biography of Amelia Earheart, ephemera related to Seneca Falls, Ohio Womens Rights Conventions, and the women’s suffrage movement, and a hotel register related to Female Base Ball players.