New Haven Bee Hive Enigma
By: Bernard Biales, Calvet M. Hahn

Apr 1 , 2002

 

The Knapp ‘oracle’ cover is addressed to Mr. Day at New Haven and is identifiable by the shape of the 12½¢. The contents read as follows:

 

To the doom’d
When Roses bloom on Heda’s brow,
And violets vein the sunless snow,
When birds of Paradise can bear
Unchille’d Siberia’s desert air;
When man’s weak voice shall charm to sleep
The wild and tempest-shaken deep-
Then thou shall win the seeming good
Thou hast in vain so long pursued

New Haven Oracle

June 26, 1838

Kieffer noted that at the time of the original find, one copy was sold to Chambers, but it was not in the Paige Chambers’ sale nor is it in the Rhode Island Historical Society files, where some Chambers material ended up. A copy was sold to Harry Dunsmoor, allegedly for $40. The good material in the Dunsmoor holding was sold intact to Ed Mayer and was then in the H.R. Harmer sale of the Mayer material as it had not sold intact to Phillip Rust. In the Mayer sale it brought $1700, selling to Judge Fay. At the subsequent Fay sale at Robert A. Siegel it brought $675 from Henry Houser, but it was returned when it did not get a clean certificate as a postal marking. Arthur Warmsley then purchased it from the lawyers for the estate for a rumored $100. After Warmsley’s death, the remnants of his holding were sold at Kukstis where Bernard Biales acquired this cover.

The text of the Dunsmoor cover reads as follows:

“Sir – I am commissioned by Miss F.A.C., of this city to inquire into the reason of your distance to her, after what ( ) last fall have you forgotten your passionate ( )? Do you consider yourself bound both morally and honorably to fulfill you engagement with her? Are you aware that your ( ) has a direct tendency to break her heart. She loves you dearly. Has she given you any cause to neglect her: I feel it to be my dut6, being her relative, to demand your intentions. I am very respectfully,
Geo. A. Drake”

The third cover of the original find was sold to F. A. Eaton for $5 because it was supposedly in a fire and water damaged, so that Kieffer had to retouch it before selling. It was later bought back by Kieffer. It then went to auction in the 1960s and again in the 1970s where it supposedly brought $3,500 from Henry Houser. It later went along with his New Haven material in a Siegel sale to a dealer who resold it to Andrew Levitt for one of his clients.