The Secrets of Historic Handwriting, with Sotheby's - Atlas Obscura
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New York, New York

The Secrets of Historic Handwriting, with Sotheby's

A one-night-only chance to examine handwritten personal notes by Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King Jr., and John Keats, while enjoying one of the most remarkable private spaces in New York City.

Atlas Obscura and Sotheby’s have teamed up to provide exclusive access to items from an upcoming online auction of rare manuscripts. This is a remarkable chance to see these items in the flesh, and you’ll see them in one of New York’s incredible spaces, an apartment near the top of the Woolworth Building, one of America’s most beautiful buildings. 

The night begins with a prosecco reception inside a landmarked apartment on the 40th floor of the historic building, where we'll toast to the incredible stories, preserved architecture, and sweeping views available to you. F.W. Woolworth himself kept his private office on this floor, because he thought it had the best view in Manhattan.

Heather Wolfe, a Rare Book School educator and curator of manuscripts at the Folger Shakespeare Library,  will share the hidden histories of handwriting that only a trained paleographers sees. Under her guidance, we will reveal how long ago, scribes traditionally handmade their writing ink by making a sample for our own use.

Selby Kiffer, senior vice president in the Books and Manuscripts department in Sotheby's New York, will lead you in a viewing of rare and meaningful handwritten artifacts, including a handwritten note from Abraham Lincoln, a drawing by Hunter S. Thompson, and a letter from Martin Luther King Jr. about being named Time’s Man of the Year.  We'll end the evening with a handwriting session of our own, led by the handwriting educators of Handwritten.

Guests will be able to enjoy complimentary prosecco, beer, and wine during the event. 

This event is produced in partnership with Sotheby's Fine Books & Manuscripts Department. To view their current catalog of items up for auction, including items described above, head to the Sotheby's online auction, open until June 28th, 2018.

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About The Woolworth Building

Built in 1913 and celebrated as the tallest building in the world at the time of completion in 1913, The Woolworth Building majestically rises 792 feet above City Hall Park at the gateway to Tribeca. Woolworth spared no expense on the construction, evidenced from the detailed exteriors and interiors of the graceful tower. The top 30 floors of the 58-story building, including the penthouse, are being restored as apartments.



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Advance tickets only. All sales final. No refunds or exchanges.