Items Signed by Einstein, Lincoln, Marilyn will Headline University Archives Online Auction April 10

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John Reznikoff
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Wilton, CT, USA, March 26, 2024 — A vintage black and white pin-up photograph of Marilyn Monroe taken circa 1947 and signed by the budding starlet, a two-page typed letter signed in German by Albert Einstein in 1935 containing mathematical equations and edits in his hand, and a handsome Civil War-dated military commission signed by Abraham Lincoln are just a few of the expected top lots in University Archives’ upcoming online-only auction planned for Wednesday, April 10th.

The Rare Autographs, Manuscripts, Books & Memorabilia auction will start at 10:30 am Eastern time. All 364 lots in the catalog are up for viewing and bidding now – on the University Archives website – – as well as the popular platforms, and Telephone and absentee bids will also be accepted.

“The carefully curated lots in our April auction offer collectors a great buying opportunity,” said John Reznikoff, president and owner of University Archives. “The catalog is especially strong in U.S. Presidents, Science, the Arts (Literature, Art & Music), Entertainment, Civil Rights, Early America and Sports. It’s a rare chance to acquire outstanding autographed material, historical documents, rare books, photographs, relics and memorabilia from many collecting categories.”

Lot 178 is the vintage black and white 8-inch by 10-inch pin-up photograph of Marilyn Monroe, signed by her as “Marilyn Monroe” just a year after she had discarded Norma Jeane Mortenson in favor of her iconic stage name. The early career photo, PSA/DNA graded 10, has it all: photo quality, signature quality and image composition. It has a pre-sale estimate of $28,000-$35,000.

Lot 315 is the two-page typed letter signed in German by Albert Einstein on Sept. 14, 1935, with mathematical equations and edits in his hand. The letter is to a friend and fellow physicist, Cornelius Lanczos, in which Einstein describes difficulties he had encountered when attempting to articulate the theory of general relativity through useful equations, challenges which he said “had cooled my confidence below the freezing point” (est. $24,000-$30,000).

Lot 45 is the Civil War-dated military commission signed by President Abraham Lincoln and co-signed by Secretary of War Edwin Stanton, dated July 1864, promoting Maryland-born career army officer Robert H.K. Whiteley (who remarkably had declined a command in the Confederate Army at the outset of the war) to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in the Ordnance Department, tasked with overseeing Union munitions at Pittsburgh (est. $6,000-$8,000).

Lot 97 is a four-page autograph letter in French signed by the artist Paul Gauguin while visiting the artist’s colony in Pont-Aven, Brittany, France, circa April 27, 1888. The letter, which has been fully translated, is packed with artistic content and professional gossip about Camille Pissarro and others. Gauguin dismisses the prevailing attitudes towards monochromatic color theory, in contrast to his own bright palette, asking, “Is that color?” (est. $20,000-$30,000).

Lot 133 is an original mimeograph entitled “Advance Text of speech to be delivered by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.” (better known as his “I Have a Dream Speech”), which King delivered later that day, August 28, 1963, in front of the Lincoln Memorial in his March on Washington. The mimeograph was run off by March’s Press office early that morning (est. $20,000-$30,000).

Lot 316 is an extremely rare one-page document signed by the British polymath Robert Hooke, relating to the Great Fire of London of 1666 and penned in London on July 4, 1670. In addition to being one of the greatest scientists of Early Modern Europe, Hooke also served as Surveyor of the City of London and settled many claims following the conflagration (est. $18,000-$25,000).

Lot 319 is a one-page autograph letter signed by the artist and inventor Samuel Morse, dated November 11, 1861 and addressed to A.J. Goodman, Esq., describing the origins of his most famous invention, the telegraph. Morse strenuously defended his intellectual property rights for the telegraph, in courts and out, for 25 years prior to writing the letter (est. $15,000-$20,000).

Lot 88 is a transmittal cover, boldly free franked by President George Washington as “Free / Go: Washington,” circa October 21, [1799], less than two months before his death. The cover was addressed to a Revolutionary War veteran, Captain Abraham Shepherd of Shepherdstown, Va., who was one of the only known set of five fighting Patriot brothers (est. $10,000-$15,000).

Lot 284 is a 15-page autograph letter in French, signed by Aleksey Tolstoy, the Russian writer and second cousin of novelist Leo Tolstoy, addressed to an Italian journalist who had inquired about the former’s personal and professional life. Tolstoy expounds at length about his writing process, notable works, and upbringing in “Little Russia,” or Ukraine. (est. $10,000-$15,000).

Lot 152 is a scarce, two-page autograph letter signed by Continental General Nathanael Greene and addressed to Commander-in-Chief George Washington on June 24, 1780, in which Greene triumphantly announces the Patriot victory at the Battle of Springfield (also known as the Battle of Connecticut Farms.) Letters from Greene to Washington are very rare (est. $10,000-$12,000).

Lot 34 is a collection of three items relating to John F. Kennedy’s friendship with Democratic Governor Elbert Carvel, nicely arranged in a frame, including a Kennedy signed presentation photograph; a typed letter signed by Kennedy; and an RSVP on White House stationery. “Bert” Carvel served two non-consecutive terms as the Governor of Delaware (est. $8,000-$10,000).

Lot 182 is a first edition copy of “Dr. Haydn’s IV Original Canzonettas, for the Voice with an Accompaniment for the Piano-Forte Dedicated to Mrs. John Hunter” (London, 1794), signed by classical Austrian composer Joseph Haydn as “Haydn” on the full title page. This rare musical collectible highlights the collaboration between Haydn and the Irish-born female poet Anne Hunter, who provided lyrics to several of Haydn’s musical compositions (est. $8,000-$10,000).

University Archives has become world-renowned as a go-to source for rare items of this kind. It is actively seeking quality material for future auctions, presenting a rare opportunity for sellers. Anyone who has a single item or a collection that may be a fit for a future University Archives auction may call John Reznikoff at 203-454-0111, or email him at

For more information about University Archives and the 364-lot, online-only Rare Autographs, Manuscripts, Books & Memorabilia auction scheduled for Wednesday, April 10th, at 10:30 am Eastern time, please visit Updates are posted frequently.