[Philadelphia? n. p.], October 6, 1842. Printed check measuring approx. 2.13 x 6.13 inches, signed “J. Fenimore Cooper.”. Some light toning and wear; in near fine condition, with the bank’s red cancel stamp just touching the edge of Cooper’s clear and legible signature. Item #19845
A check perhaps cashed to settle up accounts after Cooper’s return home from an extended stay in Philadelphia, where he had been at work completing his naval novel Wing-and-Wing; or Le Feu-Follet (published in November, 1842 by Lea and Blanchard, and by Bentley in London as The Jack o’ Lantern). Per Wayne Franklin’s biography, James Fenimore Cooper: The Later Years (Yale University Press, 2017), “Cooper had finished much of his work on the novel by the latter part of September. . . . Writing his wife from Philadelphia [headquarters of his American publisher, Lea & Blanchard] a week later, he told her he had finished all but the last three chapters, which he would write when he returned home. His plans must have changed, however, because he lingered in Philadelphia. . . . Evidently he finished the final chapter in Philadelphia as well and wrapped up his duties there by around Wednesday, October 5.” The financial arrangements of the publication of Wing-and-Wing (Cooper financed the stereotying of his own plates) essentially ended Cooper’s relationship with Lean & Blanchard.