John L. Sullivan
World Heavyweight Champion
1882 - 1892


b. October 15, 1858
d. February 2, 1918







This one-page letter is all in the hand and signed by former world heavyweight champion John L. Sullivan... Written boldly throughout in black fountain pen ink, Sullivan asks a friend to come see him perform in a play... Dated March 12, 1907 on Bellevue Hotel stationary this ALS will display perfectly!!

click here for close-up view

measures: 5.75 x 8.75"
condition: two horizontal folds from
being mailed, otherwise fine



John L. Sullivan: Champion of Champions

      Outside the ropes, as well as inside, Sullivan was supreme. In the minds of millions-and John L. stood in the forefront of these-he was as fearless as Siegfried, as strong as Hercules, as ferocious as an avenging Achilles, as invincible as Alexander, Caesar, and Napoleon combined. Sullivan the orator compared favorably with Demosthenes, even with his friend Senator Roscoe Conkling (whom, without condescension, he accepted as an equal). In his pleasures he had the violent appetite, if not the variety and discrimination, of the Emperor Nero, and certainly John L. was not inferior to him as an actor. He was, in fact, the great popular hero of his age. No other prize fighter has ever approached him in mass appeal; Jack Dempsey is at best a pallid second.
    In addition to his prowess in the ring and these other virtues, Sullivan possessed the one extra quality without which no man can hope to be a complete and authentic hero. He had a fatal weakness. John L. was a great sinner.
    In an age when the slightest public sign of inebriety placed a man forever beyond the pale, Sullivan was a boisterous, brawling, spectacular drunkard. And in an age when no man was expected so much as to glance at any woman but his wife, John L. (a married man, at that) lived openly and notoriously with a burlesque queen. He was undoubtedly the wickedest man of his time. And that took the curse off his greatness.
    Only two other Americans come to mind when I search my memory for a figure comparable to John L. Sullivan in universality of appeal. One was a baseball player named Babe Ruth. The other was an actor named John Barrymore. Each of them, like Sullivan, was supreme in his field. Each, like Sullivan, was a very sinful man.
    Now all three of them have joined the other gods and heroes in Valhalla, and I am sure it is a gayer and livelier place for their presence. But I am equally sure that no one laughs when the big fellow with the handlebar mustache signals for a cup of mead, and rumbles, "My name is John L. Sullivan, and I can lick any son of a bitch in the place."

Nat Fleischer

  The Bellevue Hotel
                   A  NAAD. Prop.
              Opposite the
              Railroad Depots
Patterson,  New Jersey.
                                  March 12th, 1907

Mr. John Wilson
                  My  dear  John
Received  your  letter  and
was  pleased  to  hear  from
you  and  to  know  that
the  wife  and  your  self
were  well.  Be  sure  and  call
and  see  me  Sunday  night
coming.  I  play  the  Lincoln
Square  Theatre  afternoon &
night,  get  down  in  the  after
noon  if  you  can.  With  the
best - of - good - luck  to  you
and  Mrs.  Wilson  until  I  see
you.       Your  friend  at  all
times      John  L.  Sullivan