Rare Marquis letter acquired

Skillman Library’s Special Collections and Archives has added a new letter to its trove of personal archives from the Marquis. The letter, which is written in English, is dated May 24, 1824—months before his “Grand Tour” of the United States—and addressed to his dear friend Col. Marinus Willett, a retired Continental Army officer with whom he served during the American Revolution.

It will be included as part of a larger exhibit that will be presented this fall by the College to celebrate Lafayette’s farewell tour. “There aren’t a lot of Lafayette manuscripts out there,” says Ana Ramírez Luhrs, co-director of Special Collections and College Archives, explaining that this one was acquired from The Raab Collection in Ardmore, Pa. “This letter is a window into a very specific and important time in Lafayette’s life journey. We’re thrilled to have this letter in our collection.”

The letter, which is in remarkable condition despite being 200 years old, contains a sentiment describing America as “the land of genuine freedom.” The Marquis wrote those words while in Paris; just a few months after sending this note to his friend, he was back on U.S. soil, in New York, on Aug. 21, 1824.

Learn more about the letter on Lafayette News.

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