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I recently purchased a copy of William E. Barton's book on the Bixby Letter titled A Beautiful Blunder (Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill Co., 1926). The book cost $45, but given that a limited number of copies were printed, I figured the cost would be higher. When I got the book the other day, I found the following written on the inside front cover.

https://s27.postimg.org/7sv2do2zn/Bixby.jpg

Of course, the Bill Bixby who supposedly owned this is THE Bill Bixby of "Incredible Hulk" fame. I'm wondering what the opinion is of forum members as to whether this really is him. The only sample of his handwriting that I could find was a check he had written. Looking at the signature, there are similarities in the autograph and the check. The "W" in Wilfred looks the same as do the "i," "l," and especially the "f" which hangs down considerably below the line.

But I wonder? Was Lydia Bixby an ancestor to Bill Bixby? Bill Bixby, according to Wikipedia, was a fourth-generation Californian while Lydia Bixby died and is buried in Massachusetts. Of course, whomever wrote this didn't say that he was a direct descendent, but was a "relative to the Bixby Ancestors & the famous Lincoln letter to Mrs. Lydia Bixby."

If this is indeed Bill Bixby's handwriting, I don't feel so bad paying $45 for the book. But I'm just not sure. Any opinions?

Best
Rob
Hi Rob,

Geni.com traces Bill Bixby to his father, Wilfred Everett Bixby, Jr., who was the son of Wilfred Everett Bixby, son of Levy Samuel Bixby (1844-) who was born in Boston.

https://www.geni.com/people/Levy-Bixby/6...9216757589
Quote:Geni.com traces Bill Bixby to his father, Wilfred Everett Bixby, Jr., who was the son of Wilfred Everett Bixby, son of Levy Samuel Bixby (1844-) who was born in Boston.
Thanks, Linda! That does put a relative named Bixby in Boston, but I wonder if Levy and Lydia were related?

Quote:Very interesting, Rob. I do not know, but here are some more handwriting samples
Roger, thanks for finding those. I wasn't able to see the first three clearly, but the last two looked much the same as the one I found.

I was originally skeptical that it was really Bixby, because I bought the book off of Alibris, and the seller didn't mention anything about Bixby's signature in the description. Plus, there's no date as to when Bixby supposedly got the book or signed it. It seemed to me that a major selling point for a $45 book is that one is getting a copy signed by a celebrity. At least that has been the case in books that I bought that were signed by James G. Randall, Otto Eisenschiml and Blanche Wiesen Cook. Of course, all three of those were the actual authors, but given Bixby's celebrity, and the oddness of being a descendent of a known historical figure, it seems the seller would have mentioned that. I guess I need to contact the seller to find out what they know.

[Update] I sent the seller a message and am waiting to hear back. The store is Feldman Books and they are located in Menlo Park, California.

Best
Rob
Possible that the people working at the bookstore were unaware who Bill Bixby is.
It's been over 25 years since The Incredible Hulk, The Magician, Courtship of Eddies Father, and 50 years since My Favorite Martian.
(01-14-2017 01:09 PM)Gene C Wrote: [ -> ]Possible that the people working at the bookstore were unaware who Bill Bixby is.
It's been over 25 years since The Incredible Hulk, The Magician, Courtship of Eddies Father, and 50 years since My Favorite Martian.

That's true, Gene. It is possible. I still haven't heard back from the store, but if, and when, I do I'll let everyone know what they said.

Best
Rob
According to the Bixby Letter Wikipedia article, Lydia Bixby had a grandson named William Bixby, a son of Oliver Cromwell Bixby. As far as I know, Oliver was her only son to have sons of his own.
Got an email this weekend from the owner of the bookstore. He replied "I don't know anything about the provenance of this book, it just showed up at my store." Oh well, if it's legit I've got an interesting addition to my 390 books on Lincoln. If not, it's still an interesting story.

Best
Rob
Even if it is not him---the book with the inscription is a nice social conversation piece. I think either way the price of the volume is worthy!
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