Rare Autograph Letter Signed, from the Paul Richards Collection, 3 pp, two of which are on "The American Magazine, New York" letterhead, 4to, with holograph envelope, New York, March 11, no year, but 1913 or 1914.
by REED, JOHN
In our exceptional hand written letter, Reed writes to the mother of his friend Alan Osgood who had died in 1912. Alan Osgood was a friend of John Reed's, a fellow Harvard graduate, who lived with Reed in Greenwich Village after graduation in 1910. They both worked on the "Harvard Lampoon." Together with Alan Seeger and others, they lived at 42 Washington Square. Osgood died quite young, most likely in 1912 as noted in "John Reed: The Making of a Revolutionary," by Granville Hicks (page 82). It is noted that Osgood was dead when Seeger was in Paris and Alan Seeger left for Paris in 1912.[ The website www.poetryfoundation.org/bio/alan-seeger notes that after graduation from Harvard in 1910, he moved to Greenwich Village where he continued "writing poetry and slept on the couch of his classmate and notorious revolutionary, John Reed," but after two years, he left for Paris. Seeger died in 1916.] Reed moved to New York after graduation in 1910 and began working at "The American Magazine," a job he got through Lincoln Steffens. He did not work there long, probably no longer than one or two years. He began selling articles to the "Saturday Evening Post," "Colliers," and "The Century Magazine." In 1913 he joined the staff of "The Masses" which published "more than 50 articles, reviews, and shorter pieces" [www.ANB.org]. Reed writes, "I wanted to send you a copy of this book [he is referring to "The Day in Bohemia, or Life Among the Artists," written in 1912, privately published in 1913] of mine, which was written last year, about the crowd of us who lived in Forty-Two [Washington Square], and of which I spoke to Mr. Osgood when I last saw him. I never changed this book from the way I wrote it. You'll see that I treated Alan in just the way I always treated him. After he was gone, I thought that I would simply leave the manuscript unchanged, so as to keep him living. This book was to be a sort of little memorial from me to Alan; and that is how I published it." Reed mentions another friend also referred to in "The Day in Bohemia," Sam McCoy who he had asked for Mrs. Osgood's address as a fire "burned most of my letters, and particularly my address book." Referring to all of the friends he lived with, "All the fellows… speak to me of the highly exaggerated accounts of our life together… are glad that I wrote it in this doggerel, absurd way. I hope it won't offend you - I wrote it as much for Alan as for the rest." Reed specifically discusses a trip he had hoped to take with Alan while revealing a tender part of his personality, "My plan of going to China is rather in the air. Since my father's death… I don't want to go far away from my mother…." Reed's father died in 1912. He notes, "Alan and I were going to ship before the mast on a sailing ship and go around the Cape of Good Hope to the Far East…." This information is noted in Granville Hicks' book (page 82). Reed ends the letter noting that Osgood's mother's interest in, "my welfare touches me very deeply. I hope with all my heart to be able soon to see you…." Signed, "John Reed.". Our research has shown this letter to be unpublished, but the exact information on Reed planning a trip with Osgood is noted in Granville Hicks' book "John Reed: The Making of a Revolutionary.".
(Inventory #: 4092)
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