Rare 1897 Robert Fitzsimmons Handwritten Letter
The most unique handwritten letter yet, authored by heavyweight champion, Robert Fitzsimmons. Shortly after claiming the heavyweight crown in 1897, Fitzsimmons wrote this letter on a starched cuff, addressed to his friend James Roach in Evansville, Ind. This is an actual shirt cuff, which has since acclaimed national attention appeariong on the PBS TV program the "Antiques Roadshow" with Lelands principal Simeon Lipman. This relic has been in the possession of Al Stewart of Charlotte, N.C. Stewart, who had shown interest in the cuff letter while doing carpentry work for Roach in Indiana, was eventually given the item as a gift. The letter, dated Nov. 6, 1897 reads, “Dear Sir - Since I have seen you, I have looked at the map and find it (Louisville) is on, and the coming sporting place of the world. Of course, you have a few wooden shoes left. I met your friend Jack McGill, he is here with his sparring partner, Tim Sullivan. Yours in fond remembrance, Robt. Fitzimons.” As you can see, the champ has misspelled his own name. As a matter of fact, he was illiterate to a degree that inhibited him from even writing this letter. As explained by Al Stewart, Fitzsimmons had another friend actually write the letter for him, upon arriving in Louisville, then signed it afterward. The black fountain ink is thick, bold, and still completely legible. The address side of the cuff bears the handwritten address of “Mr. James Roach.” The remains of a 2-cent stamp is still visible along with the postmark stamp, “Louisville Ky. Nov. 6. 7 p.m., 97.” Other postal marks show it was received in Evansville at 9 a.m. the next day. The 11.5” cuff was actually folded and mailed. Two slits for the cuff links on either side of the “letter” of this heavily toned artifact.