Photograph Signed. WILLIAM BUTLER YEATS.
Photograph Signed
Photograph Signed

Photograph Signed


A rare gelatin silver print bust portrait of Yeats as a young man, signed and inscribed by Yeats to U.S. politician and later U.S. secretary of state Bainbridge Colby: “To Mr. Bainbridge Colby with kind regards from WB Yeats March 1904.” Inscribed in ink on the flush board mount beneath the photograph.

The photograph is undated but likely predates the inscription by a few years: c.1900, when Yeats was in his mid-thirties. On the verso of the photograph mount is written in pencil: “Young Yeats photo by [????] not to be used without Mr. Yeats permission.” (We have not been able to determine the identity of the photographer.)

Yeats traveled to the U.S. for the first time from November 11, 1903 - March 9, 1904, where he presumably met Bainbridge Colby. Colby (1869-1950) was a young and successful lawyer with many well-known clients (including Mark Twain). By 1904 he had already entered politics, having just concluded a term as a member of the New York State Assembly. He would later ascend to U.S. Secretary of State (1920-1921) under Woodrow Wilson and was a champion of the women’s suffrage movement. (It was Colby who issued the proclamation announcing that the 19th amendment granting women the right to vote had been ratified.)

Gelatin silver print on original board mount. c.1900. Archivally framed with UV-protected museum glass. Photo including margin with inscription: 8.5x11in. Photo alone: 7x9in. Framed: 14.5x17.5in. Toning to mount, some abrasions to photo. AN EXTREMELY RARE EARLY SIGNED PHOTO OF YEATS.

Price: $17,500 .

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