Letters penned by Binghamton's namesake up for auction

By WBNG News

August 27, 2014 Updated Aug 27, 2014 at 11:40 PM EDT

Binghamton, NY (WBNG Binghamton) Historical letters dating back to the 1700s have been uncovered, penned by William Bingham, the man after whom the city of Binghamton was named.

Bingham's letters will be auctioned off Saturday, but on Wednesday the public got a sneak peek at the impressive estate of local philanthropists Theodore 'Ted' and Ruth Mulford. The couple generously supported many local museums, historical societies, hospitals and other organizations throughout their time in Binghamton.

"It's just so nice to be able to look and to have this historic reference... and also just, William Bingham. Binghamton was named after him. He's the namesake," said auction organizer Terri Peters-McGraw. "You know, so to have them is really quite, you know, amazing."

Somehow, Mulford acquired these letters, written by Bingham to his New York City lawyer Nicholas Low. In the letters, Bingham asks him to secure a patent for a new invention that would be the first of its kind, and would help America grow tremendously.

That invention was the steam-powered propulsion system for ships, an innovation that would help transition the nation into the Industrial Revolution.

The event drew quite a crowd Wednesday, including Kathryn Sirsen, who has been to her fair share of auctions. Sirsen was impressed by the unique assortment of antiques in the Mulford home and planned to return for the weekend auctions.

"I might bid on some of the Indian jewelry or the sterling silver," Sirsen said.

Wednesday's event was part of a community 'Give Back Initiative'. A donation of $5 was suggested at the door, and all proceeds from the evening will benefit the Tri-Cities Opera Company, an organization of which the Mulfords were particularly fond.

Saturday's auction will begin at 10 a.m. at the Mulford estate, located at 90 Grand Blvd. in Binghamton.

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