Items signed by many of history's brightest luminaries will be sold May 31st by University Archives

The Rare Signed Manuscripts, Books & Sports Memorabilia auction starts at 11 am Eastern and features signed items in many categories. All 388 lots are up for viewing and bidding right now. Online bidding is available on multiple platforms.

WILTON, Conn. - Hartok -- An autograph letter handwritten in German and signed by Ludwig van Beethoven, regarding his only opera, Fidelio; an autograph letter signed by Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson following his historic raid on the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad in 1861; and an autograph letter signed by John Adams in 1801 regarding the influence of Virginia Democrats will headline University Archives' next online-only auction scheduled for Wednesday, May 31st.

The auction – titled Rare Signed Manuscripts, Books & Sports Memorabilia – will start promptly at 11 am Eastern time. All 388 lots in the catalog are up for viewing and bidding now (on the University Archives website (, as well as, and Telephone and absentee bids will also be accepted.

"Major collecting categories in our outstanding May auction include music, science and U.S. Presidential, with outstanding autographed material from Ludwig van Beethoven to George Gershwin; from Albert Einstein and Max Planck to Thomas A. Edison; and from George Washington to Joe Biden," said John Reznikoff, president and owner of University Archives.

The undated autograph letter in German signed by Beethoven (as "Beethoven") also features excellent musical content relating to his only opera, Fidelio, a love story about a wife disguised as a man rescuing her husband from a political prison. Beethoven's letter was addressed to Friedrich Sebastian Mayer, the baritone singer who played Don Pizarro, the prison governor in the first two productions of Fidelio. The letter carries a pre-sale estimate of $80,000-$100,000.

Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson wrote a one-page autograph letter signed to a neighbor on June 29, 1861, as commander of the 1st Brigade of the Confederate Army. Earlier that spring, Jackson had conducted multiple raids against the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad, one of the Union Army's main supply lines, destroying tracks and bridges and confiscating locomotives (est. $12,000-$15,000).

John Adams wrote an autograph letter, signed and dated March 31, 1801, addressed to Isaiah Thomas, Jr., the Worcester printer of the formerly Boston-based Patriot weekly Massachusetts Spy. In it, Adams wonders if Massachusetts is being overrun by the "moral and political opinions of Virginia" in a reference to the ascendant Thomas Jefferson and other Virginia Democrats (est. $7,000-$8,000).

University Archives is located at 88 Danbury Rd. in Wilton, Conn. For more information about University Archives and the online Rare Signed Manuscripts, Books & Sports Memorabilia auction on Wednesday, May 31st, please visit

John Reznikoff

Source: University Archives

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