Sunday, November 26, 2006

the letter is back

unfortunately not only did i never know it was gone, i never knew it existed

oh, and the alice books are two of my absolute favorites of all time

Yale's Lewis Carroll Letter Ends Up On eBay

By KIM MARTINEAU Courant Staff Writer November 26 2006 NEW HAVEN -- A letter Lewis Carroll wrote to a friend in 1890 has taken police down a rabbit hole into the world of eBay, a marketplace overflowing with treasures, from Mad Hatter pins to Cheshire Cat mugs. But let the buyer beware: On eBay, as in Wonderland, things are often not as they seem.The letter Carroll penned to his friend Winifred MacDonald from his summer house on the coast of England surfaced on eBay earlier this year. "Hand written and beautifully signed," the vendor enthused. "Guaranteed authentic." The letter was genuine, all right, as the collector who bought it came to discover. Trouble was, someone else owned it: Yale University.After a friend spotted the letter on the Internet, a librarian at Yale's Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library checked the stacks. Sure enough, Carroll's letter, addressed to "My Dear Winnie," was missing. Through eBay, police tracked the letter to a collector in Utah who had purchased it for several thousand dollars. When the collector learned the item belonged to Yale, he graciously handed it over. The letter is now safe at the Beinecke once more and police are trying to re-create its journey in a pursuit that could prove as maddening as the hunt for Carroll's elusive Snark."Tracing it back all the hands it has gone through since it left Yale - that's going to be the difficult part," said Lt. Mike Patten, a spokesman for the Yale University Police Department.Charles Dodgson, better known by his pen name, Lewis Carroll, was a math teacher and ordained minister who dreamed up the children's classic "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" and such mythical creatures as the Jabberwock and Snark.Before Carroll came along, tales for kids were dull and humorless, with moralistic story lines, said Mark Burstein, vice president of the Lewis Carroll Society of North America and a book editor in Petaluma, Calif. Carroll injected joy and playfulness...............

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