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Henry Chadwick Signed Piano Composition List with Chadwick Family Provenance!
Starting Bid - $500, Sold For - $3,300
Although his fame today rests upon his literary works in the field of baseball, Henry Chadwick's writing talents were not confined to the printed sports page. Chadwick was also an accomplished composer and wrote many songs and musical numbers, many of which were published. Offered here is a one-page sheet, written entirely in Chadwick's hand, giving a partial list of his compositions. Chadwick's full signature appears along the top as part of the title, which reads "Piano Forte Compositions And Arrangements By Henry Chadwick." Listed below are the titles of forty-five different works, including waltzes, polkas, marches, quick steps, and quadrilles. Both the text and Chadwick's signature have been penned in black ink and grade "7" overall. The lined sheet (7.5 x 12.5 inches) displays two vertical and three horizontal folds (along the edges of which are a few tiny tears), as well as a few small areas of light discoloration. In Very Good condition overall. The signed list is accompanied by two printed sheet-music examples of compositions by Chadwick: The Atlantic Quick Step (1847) and Matamoras Grand March (1846, featuring a woodcut illustration of and dedicated to Major General Z. Taylor on the cover), both of which are included on the handwritten list of Chadwick arrangements. Each sheet music is in Excellent condition.
Interestingly, this piece first appeared as Lot 624 in REA's May 2007 auction. However, at the time of that sale we had no way to properly document its remarkable provenance. This piece originated years ago directly from Henry Chadwick's great-great-granddaughter, Fran Henry. Fran Henry's father, John Chadwick Worden, was Henry Chadwick's great-grandson, and her grandmother, Avicia Mortimer Eldridge Worden, was Chadwick's third grandchild. Avicia looked after both Henry Chadwick and his wife, Jane, during their later years and after their passing she inherited many of their personal belongings. While the bulk of Chadwick's baseball collection was bequeathed to Albert Spalding, who later donated it to the New York Public Library, Avicia was still left with a tremendous number of personal papers, documents, letters, books, memorabilia, and baseball items. This signed piano composition list is one of the many autographed Chadwick pieces that were discovered by Fran Henry when she was cleaning out her grandmother's house in 1980. Interestingly, Fran Henry discusses the discovery of the Chadwick items in a special guest article (the first in a special series of guest articles) on John Thorn's official Major League Baseball historical website, "Our Game."
Additionally, an image of this very offered item can be found on MLB's Baseball Memory Lab, which hosts the Henry Chadwick Archives. The piano composition list can be found under the tab "Memorabilia."
John Thorn, of course, is the official baseball historian of Major League Baseball and also a longtime friend of Fran Henry. In his preface to Henry's article, Thorn also makes note that "Fran will create a special section of MLB’s Memory Lab project. It will create, through firsthand documents and artifacts, a highly personal portrait of a man [Henry Chadwick] most of us today know principally by his plaque in Cooperstown, awarded in the year before that institution opened its doors." Since the time of Henry's discovery of Chadwick's personal papers in her grandmother's house, many of the pieces have since entered the marketplace, and those pieces have long been absorbed into advanced collections in the hobby. Few of these Chadwick family items surface today, and when they do, it is always a special honor for REA to offer them. Chadwick-signed items are extremely rare and the demand naturally far exceeds the limited supply. When this piece originally appeared at public auction as Lot 624 in REA's May 2007 auction it realized $2,350. It has been consigned to this auction directly by the original purchaser. Total 3 items. LOA from James Spence/JSA. Reserve $500. Estimate $1,500+.
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