Autograph Letter Signed - 1930
Rare autograph letter in English signed M. K. Gandhi and entirely in his hand, to Professor Floyd E. Armstrong of the [now] Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Unusually fresh and bright, having been well preserved over the past 80+ years, this letter is in exceptional condition; in brown ink on light brown paper folded twice, measuring 8.5″ x 5.5″, and accompanied by original mailing envelope addressed in Gandhi’s hand, postmarked from his Sabarmati Ashram in Gujarat. Letters in English by Gandhi are exceptionally scarce. In full:
I thank you for your letter. I think you have correctly represented my position. I am glad it has appealed to you.
M. K. Gandhi
2 : 2 : ’30
Dated February 2, 1930, this letter was written just a week following Gandhi’s publication of India’s Declaration of Independence, and one month to the day before he warned the British that he and others in his ashram would begin breaking the Salt Laws. This was a momentous period in Gandhi’s life, mere days before a major civil disobedience campaign against the British in India.
In protest of the 1882 Salt Act, which forbade Indians from making their own salt (enforcing a British trade monopoly), Gandhi led a 200-mile march from his ashram in Ahmedabad to the coastal town of Dandi. Arriving at the Arabian Sea with 78 followers, Gandhi knelt down and, as a gesture of defiance, picked up a piece of natural, unprocessed salt from the shore, thereby violating British law. His march received widespread support across India, inspiring thousands of Indians to follow his example of non-violent civil disobedience. British authorities arrested more than one hundred thousand protesters, including Gandhi himself, but were forced to release Gandhi and other Indian leaders to negotiate an end to the protests.
With letter of provenance and history of correspondence from Professor Armstrong’s family, including a receipt for Armstrong’s room accommodations at a hotel believed to have been near the ashram in 1929.