New York: 1837. Approximately 5 x 7", holograph on printed letterhead torn from a ledger, ragged at the edges with a small piece missing at lower margin leading the loss of a couple of words.
On January 21, 1837, Mr. Henry Rankin, of 2 Washington Square, dropped nearly a century on finely trimmed hats at Mrs. M. Van Veghten's upstairs shop on the Bowery - a sizable purchase now, and an astronomical amount to pay in 1837.
The building was built about 1798. An early Bowery Bookshop, that of James G. Shaw, was downstairs at this time, and would eventuall also become a circulating library, later owed by George Powell, and then Lewis H. Embree. We hope that Mr. Rankin saved a little money for books as well.
We used to walk by 134 on our walk to the old bookshop, and always took note of the building but for a different reason - the artist Eva Hesse was as longtime resident in that upstairs space. We suspect that Hesse would have had a lot to talk about with the ghost of the widow Van Veghten.
A fascinating look into the early commercial days of the Bowery and the palimpesest that is NYC. . Item #29396