Before he was the "Pride of the Yankees," before he was the "Babe Ruth of Columbia," Lou Gehrig first played official ball with Commerce High School. But before that, he was merely a model 8th-grade student at Manhattan's Public School 132—with a perfect attendance record to fittingly foreshadow his eventual consecutive-games streak!
Yes, the athletic young Lou was a tender 13 and a half when he signed this autograph album for his graduating classmate Percival Singerman (whose signed the book's first page, neatly notating the date of his graduation and most likely the date of Gehrig's penning), and no earlier signature specimen of the then Iron Colt has ever been discovered. Indeed, when it first came to light in March of 2011, this seminal scripting was unable to be authenticated due to a lack of comparable exemplars. However, Gehrig's own P.S. 132 autograph book from his June graduation six months later—thus, the second earliest sample—entered the hobby in November of 2011, providing iron-clad proof of an authentic match and selling at auction for just under $11,000. Clearly, "Henry," as he was still known, had already established by age 13 the trademark penmanship style that would become so iconically familiar to nearly a century's worth of baseball fans and autograph enthusiasts—including the "i" dot's placement over the "g."
An accompanying 2011 notarized LOA from Malcolm Singerman reads, in part, "My dad, Percival Singerman, was always proud of the fact that he went to the same grammar school as Gehrig did…When we drove over the GW bridge, Dad would detour through the Fort Washington/Inwood neighborhood of Manhattan, and point out his old school, the apartment house he lived in and other neighborhood spots. Gehrig’s name was invariably mentioned on these trips, and Dad always mentioned that he had Gehrig’s autograph from that time…My Dad never displayed Gehrig’s autograph, though he did show it to me and discuss it with me at my request, when I was in my early teens. When he passed away, I found the autograph book, Dad’s grade school graduation magazine and graduation program in an envelope in his papers, and I have kept it ever since.”
The historical importance of this treasure can hardly be overstated. Not only all of Gehrig's autographs, but indeed all Iron Horse memorabilia of any kind, can be traced back to their genesis right here, right now, in the ultimate foundation piece.
Includes: Autograph Book - measures 4-1/2" x 5-7/8", signed page is near the center. Gehrig signed "Henry Gehrig - January 1917." Book remains apparent EX, with pages well-preserved with minor edge wear. Full LOA from PSA/DNA, with autograph graded 9. School Newsletter - measures 6-3/4" x 9-7/8". This is the January 1917 edition of the Ye Fort Washington Courier, issued by P.S. 132. 20-pages, well-worn with horizontal fold line, separation at the binding (some tape repairs), and other wear throughout. Lists "Henry Gehrig" on the Merit List for being "Neither absent nor late during the term." Graduation Program - measures 6" x 9", features a horizontal fold line and edge wear. 1910s Vintage Period Snapshot of Young Gehrig and Mother - measures 1-7/8" x 2-5/8"; although not originating with the album itself, this endearing photo does appear to be contemporary with Lou's early school days at P.S. 132.