Stephen Crane Autograph Letter Signed
Shortly after publishing the great Civil War novel The Red Badge of Courage, Crane pens a rare letter from his upstairs room at "33 East 22nd"
Stephen Crane (1871-1900) was an American poet, novelist, and short story writer. Prolific throughout his short life, he is recognized by modern critics as one of the most innovative writers of his generation. He won international acclaim in 1895 for his Civil War novel, The Red Badge of Courage, which he wrote without having any battle experience.
Frequently plagued by financial worry, Crane moved around sporadically from rooming house to rooming house, establishing his residence at33 East 22nd in both 1894 and 1896; this letter appears to be from March 1896. At this time Crane was enjoying enormous success, having found himself an instant celebrity six months earlier upon the publication of his magnum opus.
The exclusive Authors Club of New York was founded in 1882. Members included leading authors Robert Louis Stevenson, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Mark Twain, and Theodore and Franklin D. Roosevelt. This letter likely dates around the time when he joined the Author’s Club, explaining the correspondence with the club’s secretary, Thompson, who died a short while later.
Crane himself died of tuberculosis in Germany at the age of 28. Any autographic material from Crane is exceedingly rare, given his early passing, with this being an especially fine example given his address in New York – the setting of much of his work – and the important period to which it dates. Kenneth Rendell remarks that "autograph material of Stephen Crane... is extremely rare, and anything in his hand is nearly unobtainable." A true treasure from this most elusive of American literary figures!
ALS, one page, 4.5 x 6, no date. Letter arranging a meeting with "Mr. Thompson,” probably Daniel Greenleaf Thompson, the secretary of the Author's Club. In full: "l am to be in the city now for some time.Won't you come in—say—Tuesday morning at 11 o’k.” Crane adds his address at the top, "33 East 22nd Street.”
In fine condition, with a mild overall block of toning and evenly trimmed edges.