Description: James A. Woodbury (1819-1893) was an inventor, mechanic, and businessman from New England. He was granted a number of patents over the latter half of the 19th century for a variety of items, including: engines, paper shirt cuffs, and flush toilets, but, his specialty was woodworking machines and devices.
The letter's recipient, Henry F. Penfield (1785-1868), was a lawyer originally from the town of Penfield, New York, and was District Attorney of Ontario County from 1829-1832. He moved to Buffalo in 1836, and developed large interests in real estate there.
This letter, written in August of 1850 from East Boston, where Woodbury owned a wharf with his brother, Joseph, is a response to a request from Penfield to purchase a machine Woodbury had patented, likely the 'Planes for tonguing and grooving boards, &c.' he patented in June of 1850.
Woodbury wrote, "I would refer you to Mr. Crosby for particulars in relation to my patent as I stated to him how it was situated. I shall be in New York as soon as I can make it convenient to leave. Bro. Joseph said that you wanted to purchase your machine in Buffalo. I of course shall object to that as I am spending my time in making machines. Perhaps some arrangement may be effected between you and me in relation to it when I come to New York." He signed his full name clearly under the closing, "Very Respectfully Yours."
Written on one page of a sheet of very lightly ruled blue writing paper, folded to create an integral address leaf. When unfolded, the paper measures approximately 8.5" x 15.5". Addressed to Penfield simply at "City New York," the circular cancellation stamp is in red ink, and shows the letter mailed from Boston on August 17 at a cost of 5 cents. Item #A00951.
Condition: There are small holes at the intersections of the fold lines on the address leaf and there is also a torn flap of paper on a blank portion of the address leaf from when the letter was opened; the torn portion is still adhered to the wax seal. Otherwise, the letter is in good condition, and would be easy to display very nicely.