Original manuscript of his platform lecture, “Queen Fashion.”. Lectures, New Mexico, L. Bradford Prince.

Original manuscript of his platform lecture, “Queen Fashion.”

Flushing, N. Y., February, 1865 (with additions). 33 pages, ruled leaves approx. 12 x 8 inches written rectos only, with an interpolated smaller page 13-1/2 and another small interpolated page. With the original cardboard tube in which Prince carried his lecture notes, the tube inscribed with the title and Prince’s name and date, as well as a dated list of the many venues where the lecture was delivered, from Jamaica (N.Y.) in February, 1865 to Santa Fe on Jan. 31, 1895. Tube splitting and worn; some light soiling and wear to the rolled manuscript, with a tear from one lower corner of the first page, with loss of a few words; in good, sound condition, seemingly complete. Item #18069

“For many years the sovereignty of this world has been the subject of fierce contention; mankind has been divided into great parties, each equally enthusiastic in asserting the claim of its particular favorite; a vast multitude shouting vociferously that Cotton was King, wihle an equally zealous host insisted on the claims of King Corn & some time ago a third aspirant to royal honors appeared in the person of Prince Petroleum, but I hold most decidedly that all of these are but base pretenders with no real claim to the sovereignty, for every lover of good order, established rights, ancient prerogative & regular succession, must acknowledge that this world is governed by no salic law, but that the legitimate & rightful sovereign is *Queen Fashion.*” From the eventual territorial governor of New Mexico, LeBaron Bradford Prince (1840-1922) comes this handsome and evocative manuscript from the heyday of the American lecture circuit, a wryly humorous take on the social benefits of fashion. (Nobody would have taken the healing waters of Saratoga without fashion; churches would have remained poorly ventilated had they not been enlarged to accommodate the commodious women’s dresses of the 1860s.) It seems worth noting that according to ads in the columns of various numbers of Round Table from 1868, Prince and Samuel L. Clemens both appear to have been represented by the American Literary Bureau for the winter of 1868-1869, Clemens for his “American Vandals in the Old World,” Prince for this lecture and two others. The manuscript here shows signs of correction, emendation, and updating as Prince brought the piece out over the years; the pasteboard tube gives testimony to Prince’s willingness to take his act on the road around New York—and eventually on one occasion to the friendly halls of New Mexico. Examination of OCLC and (more productively) NUC suggest that while Prince seemed willing to publish his remarks on anything from bimetallism to the Mayflower spirit to the history of New Mexico, this piece on Queen Fashion was never separately published or likely ever collected.

Price: $600.00