1889 - Civil War General William Tecumseh Sherman Attends Dedication of The Players Club and Makes Theatre Plans

1889 - Civil War General William Tecumseh Sherman Attends Dedication of The Players Club and Makes Theatre Plans
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Price: $595.00

Description

Description: On New Year's Day 1889, Sherman wrote to his friend, Margaret Middleton, from  his home on New York's Upper West Side - to remind her that they had made plans to go to the theatre a week from that date, and to provide a brief update on the previous couple days in his life: "Thank you for your welcome letter yesterday. I was equally disappointed on both occasions to find you out - but your Aunt Mrs Jerome entertained me fully. Just as sure as the 8th of January comes, I will claim you for Daly's Theater - and I am sure that we will both enjoy the play the more for being together. I saw Daly last night at the Dedication of the Players Club on Gramercy Park, and told him to expect us. My daughter Minnie Fitch with her little girl Mary has just arrived from Pittsburg for a month's visit. The rest of us are as usual. Please give the assurance of my great respect to Mrs Jerome, and believe me truly your friend." His signature is his traditional W.T. Sherman, with the W.T. particularly bold here.

This autograph letter signed is written on the first two pages of a sheet of ruled writing paper, measuring approximately 9.25" x 11" when unfolded. Also included here is the transmittal envelope. He did not include a return address for himself, but Middleton's address is written in Sherman's hand. There is a green Washington two cent stamp and a blank ink cancellation in the upper right corner. Item #A01109

The Players, a private social club with a theatrical theme, was founded by renowned Shakespearean actor Edwin Booth in 1888, with a grand opening celebration for new members on December 31 that year. It allowed performers and their wealthy benefactors a space to mingle, and is still operating at 16 Gramercy Park to this day.  

William Tecumseh Sherman (1820-1891) served in the US military for a number of years before resigning to spend more than a decade as a banker, businessman, and superintendent of a military academy. He rejoined the military for the US Civil War, becoming one of its most famous generals for leading Union troops across the south in "scorched earth" campaigns. After the War, he continued his military career and was promoted to General of the Army, his troops primarily fighting Native Americans along the wagon trails and railroads. In retirement, he was a constant presence at New York's theatres, lectures, and galleries, and also occasionally thrilled audiences at speaking engagements.

Margaret Lee Middleton (1848-1921) was a Manhattan socialite, who was a skilled and respected genealogist and librarian for many years. She also dedicated a portion of her time to work with charitable organizations. Like Sherman, she was an aficionado of theatre and the arts. Although she was nearly three decades younger than Sherman, the two struck up a close relationship in the 1880s based on their common interests, and often attended events together. It seems they may have been introduced by mutual friend, Mary Thompson Hunt, whose 1884 death brought them closer.

Condition: Fold lines, otherwise in very good condition and an interesting peek at Sherman's connection to the earliest days of a New York theatre community institution.