Kenneth W. Rendell: The World’s Preeminent Dealer in Historical Letters, Autographs, Historical Documents, and Manuscripts

Books by Kenneth W. Rendell

Politics, War, and Personality  

Politics, War, and Personality: Fifty Iconic World War II Documents That Changed the World

120 Pages
Published by: Whitman Publishing, 2013

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"This book, Politics, War, and Personality: Fifty Iconic World War II Documents That Changed the World, gives us a fleeting glimpse of the storehouse of historic items that are enshrined in that museum. Though it includes only 50 of some 8,000 documents and artifacts, it represents a sampling of what a visitor might see there. Therein, perhaps lies the book's main purpose: a menu to tempt the person with a sense of history to make a pilgrimage to the Boston area to view the greatest collection of World War II items in the country.

Perusing the documents in this book has, I think, restored much of my perspective. They have reminded me of how vast the war was, how much transpired in Russia, the Pacific, and the Far East. Much happened besides Operation Overlord, important thought it was. I know that Politics, War and Personality will do the same for others.

Ken Rendell, master collector, literary sleuth, and historian, has given us a book that I will long treasure and restudy. Thousands of others will do the same."

-John S.D. Eisenhower


World War 2  

World War II: Saving the Reality, A Collector's Vault

"Ken Rendell is the repository for the actual Holy Grail documents of World War II. … Amazing collection of artifacts you cannot see any place else in the world."
- Tom Hanks

144 pages
Published by: Whitman Publishing, 2009

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"World War II: Saving the Reality uniquely captures the experience of this monumental conflict. Along with compelling narrative and never-before-published photographs, you'll hold replicas of nearly one hundred wartime artifacts: letters from the front, autographed portraits of commanding generals, urgent communiqués, Nazi propaganda, historic newspapers, Top Secret instructions, patriotic posters, and more. These pieces of history, from the archives of the famous Museum of World War II, are tucked and folded into envelopes and pockets within the massive, boxed collector's book. Pulitzer Prize winning historian Doris Kearns Goodwin calls it remarkable and praises its emotional journey back in time. Phil Reed OBE, a director of the Imperial War Museum in London, says “Kenneth Rendell’s Museum of World War II simply has no equal. The museum can at last be widely enjoyed through this volume."

- Whitman Publishing, LLC


History Comes to Life: Collecting Historical Letters and Documents - World War II, European political and military history, American history  

History Comes to Life: Collecting Historical Letters and Documents

279 pages
Published by the University of Oklahoma Press, 1995
Hundreds of illustrations and a lengthy bibliography

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“The book discusses the reasons why collectors acquire these tangible links to the people they admire; the material available on the market; the people who are attracted to the field; where manuscripts are to be found; the detection of forgeries; ways in which the value of documents is determined; and the care and preservation of collections.

“Rendell also provides a mass of information of the type, availability, and rarity of autograph material for more than one thousand prominent personalities in various subject areas—American history, including an in-depth coverage of presidential material; English, French, and other European political and military history, including World War II; music, art, literature, and the performing arts; and other areas, including science, business, exploration, religion, law, and sports.

“Rendell’s comprehensive reference work, augmented by its lavish illustrations, is the result of thirty-five years of experience and accumulated knowledge. Rare document dealers and collectors, both novice and expert, as well as historians, librarians, and general readers will reach frequently for this essential book.”

— University of Oklahoma Press


Forging History: The Detection of Fake Letters and Documents - George Washington, Richard Wagner, Charles Dickens, Benjamin Franklin, Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, Robert Burns, Hitler diaries  

Forging History: The Detection of Fake Letters and Documents

172 pages
Published by the University of Oklahoma Press, 1994
209 illustrations and extensive bibliography

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“Focusing on three of the most skillful and notorious forgeries of modern times, Kenneth W. Rendell compellingly demonstrates that the authentication of historical documents and letters depends on analysis rather than intuition.

"Rendell begins by showing the reader paired examples of writing of historical figures (such as George Washington, Richard Wagner, and Charles Dickens) and then demonstrating which of each pair is genuine and which forged.

“Building the reader’s confidence in his method, Rendell then presents four extremely well-executed forgeries from the past, ostensibly written by Benjamin Franklin, Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, and Robert Burns, approaching each from a different technical viewpoint. When compared with genuine examples, however, their flaws are immediately apparent.

“The book culminates in an analysis of three major forgeries of recent times—the Hitler diaries, the Mormon letters, and the Jack the Ripper diary. Mixing technical details with anecdotes based on his own involvement in the investigation of each document, Rendell discusses the psychological reasons that the forgeries succeeded for as long as they did.”

– University of Oklahoma Press


The Western Pursuit of the American Dream: Selections from the Collection of Kenneth W. Rendell  

The Western Pursuit of the American Dream:
Selections from the Collection of Kenneth W. Rendell

358 pages
Published by the University of Oklahoma Press, 2004
500+ illustrations

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“The collection is about seeing the world of pioneers through their eyes; the books they read that influenced them to go west; the letters they wrote at the time about their hopes, plans, and experiences; and the artifacts that represented their everyday activities as well as special events. No one can ever re-create the anxiety that people in the past have felt and few present-day historians seem to appreciate the importance of the sense of hope that the perceived opportunities in the West meant to real people at the time.”

— Kenneth W. Rendell

“The Western Pursuit of the American Dream: Selections from the Collection of Kenneth W. Rendell…. succeeds in giving a sense of the struggle to tame the gorgeous wilderness that stretched beyond the tidy civilizations of the east…. It’s worth spending time with.”

— New York Times

“The migration of the American people to the West has often been associated with the quest for the American Dream. In The Western Pursuit of the American Dream, Kenneth W. Rendell, renowned dealer in Americana, draws on his extensive collection to tell the story of the West through surviving words and artifacts.

“Rendell’s collection is both eclectic and comprehensive. His book includes examples of artwork, clothing, currency, furs, historical documents, jewelry, musical instruments, stagecoaches, weapons, and more. Accompanying the illustrations are passages from early letters, journals, books, and other documents.

"Rendell also provides useful information regarding the market for similar artifacts.

“With more than five hundred color illustrations, this volume is a notable resource on the history of the West and a testimony to one man’s pursuit of an American dream.”

– University of Oklahoma Press


Autographs and Manuscript: A Collector's Manual  

Autographs and Manuscript: A Collector’s Manual

Kenneth W. Rendell, Co-editor

560 pages
Published by Charles Scribner, 1978

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Selected by the American Library Association as one of the Outstanding Reference books of its year, it was the most comprehensive book ever published on the subject up to that time, with chapters by leading authorities on all aspects of collecting. Sponsored by the Manuscript Society, of which Kenneth Rendell is a former President.


With Weapons and Wits: Propaganda and Psychological Warfare in World War II  

With Weapons and Wits: Propaganda and Psychological Warfare in World War II

105 pages

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This is my first foray into serious collecting World War II. To see how it has developed, go to

Manuscripts: The First Twenty Years  

Manuscripts: The First Twenty Years

Kenneth W. Rendell, Co-editor

429 pages
Published by Greenwood Press, 1984

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A compilation of the most noteworthy articles published by the Manuscript Society during its first twenty years. [Kenneth W. Rendell is a former President of the Society.]


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Historical Letters, Manuscripts and Documents - Renaissance Times to the Present

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