Family Archive Of Author Charlotte Perkins Gilman Brings $60,000

“Focus On Women” Literary Auction Held By Swann Galleries

June 23, 2023

Swann Galleries’ third iteration of “Focus on Women,” 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.
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.
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).
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); 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,” ca. 1867 to 1879 ($4,750).
Additional highlights included works by Cindy Sherman and Flor Garduño, ephemera related to Seneca Falls, Ohio women’s rights conventions and the women's suffrage movement, and a hotel register related to female baseball players.
Prices reported include buyer’s premium.
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