Phoenix, Arizona: 8 September 1883. Quarto (ca. 25x30 cm). 4 pp. on two separate leaves with printed letterheads of the "Daily and Weekly Arizona Gazette," and printed ads of the "Fine Job Printing at California Prices.". Black ink on laid paper, written in a legible hand. Fold marks, but overall a very good letter.
Interesting well-preserved letter by Homer McNeil, an Arizona pioneer, printer and publisher of the "Arizona Gazette" in 1880-1889. Written on the paper with the newspaper's original letterhead, the letter talks about the recent smallpox epidemy in Phoenix and McNeils' desire to emigrate (he briefly went to San Francisco in the late 1880s, but returned to Arizona in 1890 and stayed there till the end of his life), a greyhound pup he bought for his brother, a photo of his "girl" (possibly, his future wife Carolyn Jane Morris (1866-1948), they got married in November 1885), and his work in the printing office. Overall a nice early letter by a noted Arizona printer and publisher written just two years after the incorporation of Phoenix.
Iowa-born Homer H. McNeil came to California in 1878 and Phoenix in 1881. In the 1880s, he owned and published the "Arizona Gazette" and incorporated the "Gazette Printing & Publishing Co." in 1884. Later on, he was involved in the printing business in San Francisco, San Jose and Fresno, but returned to Arizona in 1890 and operated a printing business in Phoenix and a general store in Tolleson. The archive of "H.H. McNeil's Company" is deposited in the California Historical Society (H. H. McNeil Company (Stationers, printers, and binders, Phoenix, Arizona), 1909. Kemble Z3 Ephemera Collection. California Historical Society. https://californiahistoricalsociety.libraryhost.com/repositories/2/archival_objects/9788).
The text of the letter: “I assure you I am not struck after Arizona; the only trouble is I cannot get out of it. Will sell as soon as can and emigrate from here. Small-pox has paralyzed business here and just now when money should be plentiful and business lively, it is dead, but we look for better times soon. By the way I have a grey hound pup I am going to send you the first opportunity I have. It is one of the finest bred animals in this country <…> In color it is a dark chestnut, or more of a blue and is as smart as they grow dogs.
I enclose a photo of my girl, tell Sadie she must not show it to anyone until she hears from me again; that is she must not show it in order to recognize who it its; if you cannot make it out I will tell you in my next. <…> The photo is very good, but she looks too awfully sour, and is setling too straight. Tell Sadie she can frame the girl and I side by side. She is a school-marm.
I have been working night and day for the past five days on a Spanish paper I have just got the printing of. I send one for you to look at and see how you would like it to set that sort of truck for a while. As soon as Mahoney’s small stickers come I will try to collect his bill and remit my account in ful, but good Lord, a dollar here now is as large as a cartwheel.
As to Benson, the man I now have is a steady, sober, industrious business fellow, one who I can trust with anything, but is not a printer. This man only attends to local and editorial and occasionally goes in the country collecting for me, this gives him, about one-half the time to loaf, whereas if he was a practical man he could often help out, as the man did whom I had before this one. If Benson is a good newspaper man and printer, I will give him a sit in course of time at $100 per month, but how long before such time arrives, I cannot say. If he will write me I can let him know when I have an opening.”.
Price: $1,250.00 USD