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Joe Johnston to Edward Bok
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Joseph Johnston, the former Confederate general, replies to Bok’s letter. “…your wish that I should ‘cooperate in the discussion of the American pantheon’ is by far the highest compliment ever bestowed upon me…”

JOSEPH E. JOHNSTON. Autograph Letter Signed to Edward Bok, Bedford Springs, Penn., September 4, 1885, 2 pp., 4⅞ x 8 in.

Inventory #22359.07       Price: $1,200


            Bedford Springs, Septm 4th 1885

Editor Brooklyn Magazine

Dear sir

            I have just received you favor of the 1st inst. and read it with high gratification. I assure you, for this additional proof of your wish that I should “cooperate in the discussion of the American Pantheon” is by far the highest compliment ever bestowed upon me. What you write of the personal feelings of the editor-in-chief given me still higher gratification.

            Before writing to you on this subject I convinced myself by repeated trials, of my unfitness to join in its discussion.   < p. 2 >   The best result of those trials is, in my opinion, unfit to be shown even in confidence. For that reason I did not accede to your proposal. Anxiety to lose by my own act no part of your favorable opinion induces me to adhere to that decision.

            Very Truly Yours

                        J.E. Johnston

Historical Background

The purpose of the correspondence between Confederate Generals and Edward Bok was to acquire autographs, and valuable Civil War information for “The American Pantheon,” a project Bok was clearly excited about, but that never seemed to materialize.

Joseph Eggleston Johnston (1807-1891), born in Farmville, Virginia, was one of several southern officers to resign from the Union army and join the Confederacy. He is notable for relieving Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson of command at Harper’s Ferry and organizing the Army of Shenandoah. His rank beneath younger officers caused animosity between Johnston and Jefferson Davis, who refused to promote him to higher status. Johnston’s frequent retreats, including at Vicksburg and Jackson, Mississippi led to his dismissal in 1863. He regained command in the last months of the war before surrendering near Dunham Station, North Carolina on April 26th 1865. Post-war, Johnston was elected to Congress.

Edward William Bok (1863–1930) was a Dutch born American editor and Pulitzer Prize-winning author. He was born in Den Helder, The Netherlands. At the age of six, he immigrated to Brooklyn, New York, and became an office boy with the Western Union Telegraph Company in 1876. In 1882, he began work with Henry Holt and Company, and then, in 1884, he became involved with Charles Scribner’s Sons, where he eventually became its advertising manager. From 1884 until 1887, Bok was the editor of The Brooklyn Magazine. His 1920 autobiography, The Americanization of Edward Bok, won the Gold Medal of the Academy of Political and Social Science and the Pulitzer Prize for Biography or Autobiography. Edward W. Bok died on January 9, 1930.



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