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William Preston Johnston

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“Where all the other students are, or are not, in the breasts of our maidens,

I wish them the best talents of all, the talent of behaving themselves well . . . ”

William Preston Johnston, 1831–1899.  Confederate colonel; son of General Albert Sydney Johnston and aide-de-camp to Confederate President Jefferson Davis; president, Louisiana State University, 1880–1883; first president of Tulane University of Louisiana, 1884–1899.  Autograph Letter Signed, Wm Preston Johnston, one page (recto and verso), 5¾” x 9¼”, on stationery of Tulane University of Louisiana, New Orleans, [Louisiana], December 23, 1897. 

Johnston responds to the request of a penmanship student at the State Normal School in Emporia, Kansas, now Emporia State University, for a handwritten letter sending a reminiscence, a favorite sentiment, or a word of advice for inclusion in albums to be devoted to the handwriting of prominent people.  He writes, in full:  “Your letter of Nov 4th has been received, but not the copy of your Normal Monthly, which may have been mislaid before my return to this city.  /  I am delighted to find that the representatives of ‘1800 students’ class me with ‘the great and good men of the earth’, and I sincerely wish I deserved the  title.  If a favorite sentiment or word of advice secures my title, I will gladly give it. /  Where all the other students are, or are not, in the breasts of our maidens, I wish them the best talents of all, the talent of behaving themselves well, which they, doubtless, possess.  /  With great respect I am  /  Truly Yours . . . ” 

Johnston has boldly written and signed the letter in black fountain pen.  The letter has two horizontal mailing folds, neither of which affects the signature, and mounting traces on the back from prior mounting in one of the albums mentioned above.  There is some show-through of the ink and the mounting paste from the back, although it is not obtrusive; the scans above make it more evident than it actually is in hand.  Overall the letter is in fine condition.

The letter is accompanied by a typed letter signed on Tulane stationery dated November 3, 1899, on Tulane stationery from Richard Kearny Bruff, at the time Assistant Secretary of the University, replying to a student’s letter to Johnston by saying that Johnston had died and sending a printed portrait of him.

Unframed.

 

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$325.00

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