Presidents and Political Leaders

Listings shown are sorted alphabetically.

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family visits Egypt and Jerusalem

Populist reformer, Sec. of State under Wilson, three time candidate for President, lawyer in the Scopes Trial. ALS on The Commoner stationary, his publication on issues and the populist movement, front and back of a single page discussing his wife and daughter travelling to Egypt and Jerusalem. [#4474]

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Chase writes to noted legal author Benhamin V. Abbott
Lincoln's Chief Justice

ALS, 2 pages, Washington April 27, 1867, to the noted lawyer Benjamin Vaughan Abbott about a proposed legal text. Abbott produced three important works in 1879. Chase tells Abbott that the judges he has spoken to approve of the project. He then offers a few corrections on a draft. The letter is on the 1st and third pages of a folded 8vo sheet and is in excellent condition.

Chase was a Presidential nominee in 1860. After losing to Lincoln he was later asked to serve in the Civil War Cabinet as Treasury Secretary. While contributing significantly to the success of the war by raising necessary funds and keeping the government financially afloat we never quite lost the Presidential ambition. Lincoln nominated him as Chief Justice in 1864. Although he had a long career on the Supreme Court his most memorable role may have been as presiding Judge during the Impeachment Trial of Andrew Johnson. [#4418]

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Executive Mansion card
First Lady

Executive Mansion card signed "Frances F. Cleveland". The card measures approximately
4 1/2 x 2 3/4. The First Lady has signed in a brown ink. The card is in excellent condition.

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Preparing for his White House re-match with Harrison
Targets McKinley's tarrif as harmful to the economy

Signed letter 2 pages, Buzzards Bay August 1, 1892. Preparing for his re-match presidential race against Benjamin Harrison, Cleveland thanks a correspondent for information about the price of dry goods due to the McKinley tariffs, championed by Congressman William McKinley. Cleveland will pass the information along to the national party and urge them to give greater attention to blaming Republican policies on economic problems. This is nice example of Cleveland engineering his successful White House comeback later in the year.

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Early Bill Clinton handwritten letter
42nd President

Autograph letter signed, on personal stationary, August 24 [1976] 4to. A scarce personal note to an early supporter. This letter was written in 1976, the year he ran for Attorney General and won his first office. The stationary is simply headed “Bill Clinton”. In his hand the future president thanks a supporter for lunch and adds an intriguing line, “I have done what I could.” He has signed it with his first name only and a large paraph. One can only guess at what he had tried to do: broker a political deal, win over a possible supporter or disarm a potential critic?

In 1974 Clinton launched his political career by running for the United States House of Representatives. He lost that race which was his good luck since it opened the door to state office and eventually the Governor’s office which launched his presidential career. This early letter was written just as his political rocket was about to take off.

The letter has some minor spotting away from the writing and signature and is accompanied by the original envelope addressed in Clinton’s hand. Early letters before he held office are very scarce and this handwritten example with the envelope makes for a nice investment opportunity.

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Anticipates economic problems leading to WWII

Signed letter 7/9/31 on personal stationary thanking a partner at J. P. Morgan for a letter with an intriguing holograph PS regarding European finances: “Those who advise action in Europe will soon be asked to head the syndicate for a loan.” A European banking crisis was leading to general economic worries. In Germany the crisis was helping push frustrated Germans to the empty hope of the Nazi Party. Coolidge expresses both his isolationism and his philosophy of laissez-faire economics. He also demonstrated his lack of appreciation for post WWI forces that may have contributed to WWII. A better than average Coolidge—and they are almost always average.

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Formal Harris & Ewing portrait as First Lady
First Lady

Formal signed photo as First Lady. Taken by the notable Washington photographs Harris and Ewing the 6 x 9 image is on printed on a larger photographer’s mat measuring 8.5 x 12. The First Lady signs just below the image “To Mr. Robert M. Goff of ____ Academy Sincerely yours Grace Coolidge June, 1924.” The photograph and autograph are in superb condition. [#4304]

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Assoication with Mckinley assassination

Aide to Presidents Cleveland, McKinley and Roosevelt. Held three Cabinet positions under Roosevelt, Secretary of Commerce and Labor, Treasury and Postmaster General. Signed letter to John Milburn on White House stationary as Roosevelt’s personal secretary, December 8, 1902. Milburn was Chairman of the Pan-American Exposition in 1901where McKinley was assassinated. The wounded President was taken to Milburn’s home where he died a week after being shot. Cortelyou was by McKinley’s side and helped support the President to the floor as he collapsed from the two shots. [#4509]

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Vice President and Nobel Peace PRize winner

Vice President under Coolidge, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize. Signed letter as President of the Central Trust Company of Illinois, 3/11/12 acknowledging a request. [#4615]

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Remarkable collection related to the capture of his aide-de-camp

Moving ALS informing parents their son is missing, along with other material relating to the capture and eventual release of Eisenhower’s personal aide, Lt. Craig D. Campbell. The centerpiece of this small archive is a 2 page Eisenhower ALS on separate sheets of Allied Force Headquarters stationary April 12 [1943]. In an unusually personal and moving letter Ike informs his aide’s parents that he believes that Campbell was taken prisoner. Eisenhower provides an explanation that comes surprisingly close to feeling some responsibility for their son’s fate. “Because he’s never had an opportunity really to live with soldiers under campaign conditions, I left him with a reserve division, just to get that experience. He was keen to do it, and we agreed he was to stay there three to four weeks.” But the reserve unit went to the front lines and became separated from their division. He signs the letter with his full signature “Dwight D. Eisenhower.” There is a 6.5 x 9 black and white Army photo of Ike in uniform inscribed on the white border “To Mr. and Mrs. J. B. Campbell, parents of my A.D.C, Lt. Craig Campbell- Dwight D. Eisenhower.” The group includes two Mamie Eisenhower ALS’s: 2 pages Jan. 22, 1943 with holograph envelope to Campbell thanking him for sending a dog’s photo and a one page ALS with holograph envelope April 25, 1945 to Lt. Campbell’s mother informing her that she has learned that Campbell has returned to the states. Col Thomas Drake, a decorated officer taken prisoner at the Battle of Kasserine Pass and later released for humanitarian reasons sends, sends a personal letter in 1944 to the parents. Drake knew Campbell and assures his parents that their son “will come out of it alright” and encloses a couple reports he had given about life in the POW camps. There are three telegrams confirming Campbell’s capture and release. The nine pieces offer a moving, even haunting perspective of how a soldier’s uncertainty and captivity affect people around him, including the Allied Commander. The Eisenhower letter is an extraordinary and rare example of Eisenhower revealing emotion about the fate of a single soldier.

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Regrets appointment of Earl Warren
And not to happy with his golf game either

Signed letter on personal stationary 7/10/67, to his brother Ed. Ike recalls a lengthy letter Ed wrote to him opposing the nomination of Earl Warren as Chief Justice. “On that note I hasten to say that you were right.” He then mentions his golf game “The scarcest marks on my card are pars, while triple Bogies and even quadruple Bogies are not uncommon. He signs it with initials only “D.E.” Two file holes at top center, otherwise fine with a very rare and desirable comment regretting his most controversial nomination.

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On the health of Webster's predecessor in the Senate
Statesman and 1860 Vice Presidential candidate

Autograph letter signed, Washington, February 4, 1827, one page on a folded four page sheet with franked cover addressed to General H.A. A. Dearborn.

Everett, then serving as a Representative from Massachusetts, reports on events in Congress including legislation on bankruptcy and an apparent effort to provide some job or appointment for retiring Massachusetts Senator Elijah Hunt Mills. “E. H. Mills appears to be gaining strength in the house. I wait with anxiety to hear from the Senate. I fear these efforts of his friends will be unavailing even if successful. His health does not I think promise him the Continuance of a capacity to work, if it does of life.” Mills was elected to fill a vacancy in the Senate and then won a term of his own in 1820. He lost re-election in 1826 to fellow Federalist Daniel Webster. His term ended in March 1827, a month after Everett’s letter, and he died two years later. His health did keep him from ever seeking public office again.

Henry A. S. Dearborn was an officer in the War of 1812, helping defend Boston Harbor. He held several local positions including the politically important post of Collector of Customs for Boston when he received this letter. In the following few years he would be elected to the state Legislature and then the U.S. House of Representative. His father was Revolutionary War General Henry Dearborn who also served as Jefferson’s Secretary of War. The file docket on the back panel above the wax seal is almost certainly in his hand.

Everett was one of the leading orators in America in the mid 1800’s when public oratory was in high gear as a combination of entertainment and intellectual pursuit. For all of his contemporary fame, power and success he is perhaps best remembered today as a man who twice played a minor supporting role in Abraham Lincoln’s political life. In 1860 Everett was the unsuccessful candidate for Vice President with John Bell as the Presidential nominee on the Constitutional Union ticket. One of four parties on the ballot that year, the Bell-Everett ticket came in third winning only 39 of the 303 electoral votes. In 1863 Everett delivered the main address at the dedication of the National Cemetery at Gettysburg. The dedication was moved back from a planned September date to November to allow Everett the extra time to prepare his important address.

Folds, with some separation beginning at one fold, a pencil docket in the top left margin and some loss of paper above the address panel of the back page. [#1865]

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Pledges to support Court’s decision on the Missouri Compromise

Impressive one page ALS promising to abide by the Supreme Court decision in the Dred Scott case. Responding to an inquiry from E. H. Wade, the former president on Feb. 25, 1857, declines to answer the question “whether in my opinion the ‘Missouri Compromise’ was Constitutional or not“ since the question is before the Supreme Court “…where it has been ably argued and will soon be decided.” Fillmore claims it would be arrogant for him to offer an opinion and then adds “My duty is to submit to that decision as the last appeal known to our Constitution.” The court ruling—just a few weeks later was the infamous Dred Scott decision. Fillmore’s presidency was dominated with growing sectionalism over slavery and the Compromise of 1850. Although out of office when he wrote this letter his pledge to recognize and support the Court’s role to settle the issue of slavery is rather remarkable. Fillmore is hardly common in letters of content and this one specifically mentioning the Missouri Compromise and pending Scott decision is exceptional. It is in excellent condition.

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Ford welcomes Party unity after '76 GOP nomination win against Reagan
38th President

Gerald Ford signed letter, one page, The White House, August 30, 1976. Two weeks before this letter, Ford had narrowly defeated Ronald Reagan for the Republican nomination. California Congressman Del Clawson sent the President a pledge of support to Ford after the convention.

Party unity was essential if Ford was going to have any chance in the general election, particularly in California. Ford is quick and gracious to reach out to his former House colleague Del Clawson who voted for fellow Californian Ronald Reagan. "Thank you so much for your warm message of congratulations and support. It is reassuring to know that your confidence and loyalty will be reflected in the total team effort which will bring us to victory on November 2."

The 1976 Republican National Convention was the last meaningful convention to actually determined the outcome of a presidential nomination. Reagan had challenged the incumbent president for the nomination. Ford went into the convention with a lead in pledged delegates but he did not have a majority. The lead-up to convention balloting included intense personal cajoling and pressure from both camps. A key procedural Floor vote went Ford's way creating the momentum for the actual nomination win of 1,187 votes to Reagan's 1,070.

Ford, of course lost the general election to Jimmy Carter. Four years later Carter faced his own party fight when he was challenged by Senator Ted Kennedy for the nomination. That fight was over before the convention but he had to face Reagan in the general election. Reagan and Ford had flirted with teaming up in 1980, with Ford running as Reagan's vice presidential running mate. It is arguable that Ford's convention victory of Reagan, referenced in this letter, paved the way for a stronger Reagan candidacy in 1980 that ushered the Reagan era.

Del Clawson was a member of the Church of Latter Day Saints, one of the first Mormon's to serve in Congress outside of Utah. He was a member of the House from 1963-to 1978.

The letter is in excellent, fresh condition with an inconspicuous single envelope fold. It is accompanied by the original unstamped White House envelope, indicating that the personal message from the President was hand-delivered to the Congressman's office. It is boldly signed in a heavy black ink "Jerry Ford". This is a very desirable Presidential letter referencing the last great convention fight for a presidential nomination. Although it does not mention Reagan by name it is also a wonderful association piece for Reagan collectors. [#3019]

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Nice McKinley association
To the man in whose home McKinley died

McKinley campaign manager. ALS on Senate stationary, July 7,1902 to John Milburn. Milburn was Chairman of the Pan-American Exposition in 1901where McKinley was assassinated. The wounded President was taken to Milburn’s home where he died a week after being shot. The salutation to “old John” may be an inside joke. Roosevelt reached out to Hanna for alliance and help in the Senate to which Hanna agreed on two conditions, one of which was the TR stop referring to him as “Old Man” [#4498]

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Claims to be a powerless friend of the oppressed
Important Civil Rights content

Signed letter as President with Civil Rights content, April 21, 1892. Harrison responds to Judge Albion W. Tourgee of New York who sent a heartfelt plea of help from an African American woman. The specific cause of her distress is not mentioned but almost certainly it was over legal discrimination and inadequate legal protection. Harrison writes, in part: “I sympathize with her distress in behalf of her people and know [how] difficult it is to convey an understanding of the limitations that are upon me.” He then mentions a notorious instance of false accusations and execution of three African American males in retaliation for another woman’s refusal to relinquish her seat on a railroad simply because of her color. “Take the Memphis case and what can I do? Only lift my voice in protest against such outrages, which I have never failed to do upon every opportunity.” Harrison letters with content are scarce and those even touching race relations are almost unheard of as president. This one has great association being written to a notable Jurist who led the fight for civil rights and argued the landmark Plessy v. Ferguson case. The one page letter on lined Executive Mansion stationary is in excellent condition.

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Presidential date photos to the President's Stenographer
31st President (1929-1933)

Pair of signed photos to Ruth White. Ruth White was a White House stenographer from the Hoover through the Eisenhower Administrations. She would marry George Durno, a Washington reporter for the International News Service. The photos are accompanied by a letter from Hoover’s secretary Lawrence Richey, two days before Hoover left office, thanking White for her service to him and the President. There is also a copy of the typed transcript of a 1970 interview White had with an historian for the Herbert Hoover Library Oral History project.

Herbert Hoover photo is a formal Bachrach portrait inscribed on the photographer’s margin “To Mrs. Ruth S. White with kind regards of Herbert Hoover”. The image is 7 ¼ x 9 ¼ and the overall dimensions are 10 x 13. There is slight, almost insignificant toning at the very top edge from prior framing, otherwise in superb condition and an outstanding example of a presidential signed photo of Hoover.

Lou Henry Hoover photo measures 7 ¼ x 9 ¼ and is inscribed in the white background “To Miss Ruth S. White with cordial greetings Lou Henry Hoover”. Minor edge burns from framing. It appears that the photo may have been slightly trimmed for framing. Lou Hoover is quite uncommon in signed photos. [# 2142]

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Hughes receives the Theodore Roosevelt medal

Chief Justice, Sec. of State, Presidential candidate. Signed letter 10/3/28 to George Kunz acknowledging congratulations on his being awarded the Theodore Roosevelt Distinguished Service Medal for 1928. [#4484]

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Superb, fresh condition ALS by the first Chief Justice to his son

First Chief Justice, autograph letter signed, October 28, 1823, Bedford [New York], 1 page, 7 3/4 x 9 ½ to his son Peter. Jay writes about family matters and his daughter's health. He also arranges for some shipment of two barrels of ale and seeks some information on how long it should stay in the barrel before bottling. The letter is in near pristine, fresh condition on off-white paper and uniformly neat, dark writing. It does show flattened mailing folds but a very attractive full page example with a perfect signature.

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desriable White House letter as First Lady

Lady Bird Johnson signed letter as First Lady with a holograph salutation. The First Lady thanks Gerald Wagner for a white orchid and a United Nations concert. She has crossed out the formal salutation and handwritten “Gerry” as well as signing the letter in full “Lady Bird Johnson”. The letter is on White House stationary with the blind embossed presidential seal. The October 23, 1968 letter was written just two weeks before the election of Richard Nixon and the start of her transition back to private life. There is a stamped docket on the reverse of the letter. Although not a rare autograph, Lady Bird’s autographs as First Lady are seen less often than other periods and her White House letters are desirable. [# 4225]

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Lincoln's last Treasury Secretary

Lincoln's last Treasury Sec., ALS one page 1864 on Comptroller of the Treasury stationary. [#4599]

Monroe signs a license to steal
Monroe, James
Letter of Marque

Letter of Marque for Woodbury Langdon, master of the Brig named Revenge. Monroe signed the instructions, which are accompanied by a copy of the Act of Congress allowing Letters of Marque. The Act is on the first two pages and Monroe's printed instructions with personal signature are on the third. There is some toning or foxing along some fold lines and the third page but not affecting the signature, which is jet black. Overall in excellent condition with flattened folds.

A Letter of Marque is a government commission for private ships to essentially wage war or commit piracy against other private vessels. They were used to help supplement the Navy and disrupt enemy commerce. The Founding Fathers viewed Letters of Marque as an extension of the nation's war making powers and reserved the right and control of this power to Congress. The appropriately named Brig Revenge came from Virginia. Preliminary research indicates she seized three ships during the war prior to being captured by three British ships in March 1813. This would be worth further research.

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Scarce Presidential Pardon
14th President

Signed document, June 17, 1854, Washington, 2 pages. A signed presidential pardon granted John Mullen, convicted of larceny in the District of Columbia. Mullen was sentenced to six months a fine of $1. Mullen was sentenced during the “December term” of the Criminal Court and the pardon was issued in June. It is likely that Mullen was a penniless thief who wouldn’t be able to come up with the $1 fine. Rather than have the government house and feed him for the full six months or beyond if he wasn’t able to raise the $1 it was probably more cost effective just to release him.

The pardon is written on an oversized folio sheet measuring 10¼ x 15. Pierce has added a very large, black signature and it has been countersigned by William Marcy, Secretary of State. The signatures are on the second page which is the reverse side of the sheet. A horizontal fold separation just below Pierce’s signature was once repaired with tape. The old tape has been professionally removed and the separation strengthened with proper archival methods, although some slight discoloration remains along those lines from the old tape. A vertical fold separation runs through the “a” of Franklin and has also been professionally strengthened but this was mercifully spared the earlier cheap tape treatment causing no discoloration through the large, black signature of Franklin Pierce. Marcy’s signature shows some ink smudge to the first two initials. The seal is a near perfect example with a clear imprint of the embossed eagle and only minor chipping to three teeth of the seal. Overall the document shows some slight yellowing or toning but is in overall fresh, white condition.

While there are plenty of warrants to affix seals to pardons, actual Presidential pardons are hard to come by and can safely be considered as rare forms of Presidential documents. Pierce pardons are particularly hard to find.

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White House invitation to dinner

White House invitation to “Mr. Ford” to dine with the President. The small 8vo sheet is printed with the specifics for guests and time filled in by a clerk. A certificate of authentication from a prior dealer attributes this to the Pierce Administration because it was part of a larger Franklin Pierce Archives. Some spots but fine. [#4547]

Signed by 5 Presidents
Presidents signed photo
George W. Bush as President

Color photo of the North Portico of the White House matted and signed by 5 Presidents with an autopen of Ronald Reagan. Gerald Ford and Richard Nixon both added their Presidential numbers and George H. Bush dated it, as President. George H. W. Bush and Jimmy Carter added large felt tip signatures. There is room for additional signatures. Some bumps at edges but makes for a dramatic display piece.

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FDR’s biggest political fumble—the effort to pack the Supreme Court
with the full Court he wanted to break

Desirable grouping connected to the Supreme Court that threatened FDR’s New Deal legislative achievements and his disastrous effort to pack it with New Deal supporters. The lot includes 1) Franklin D. Roosevelt LS, 3/15/37 White House stationary, with a first name salutation in his hand to a federal judge. “This certainly is an interesting fight and I think things are moving along very successfully although it may be quite a few months before we can actually get a vote on the Senate floor.” 2) Harry S. Truman LS, 2/15/37 Senate stationary to a friend in Independence denying a report that he has changed his mind: “I have never changed my mind and still have not made it up, and do not intend to make it up until I know all the facts. I appreciate Fred’s attitude but this is no trading matter. It goes to the vital roots of the Government.” Signed in full. 3) An album sheet signed by all nine Justices of the Court that sat untouched through the entire length of Roosevelt’s first term. Letters by FDR on the fight that drew serious political backlash for him are quite uncommon, even rare for Truman to be commenting. The three piece group makes an impressive addition to any serious Court or Roosevelt collection.

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First Lady

Signed White House card. The 4 1/4 x 2 3/4 card has been boldly signed with a signature that almost fills the card. There is a light, almost unperceivable indentation mark from a paper clip at the top center which reaches down to the starting stroke of the "R" in Roosevelt. Overall, an excellent example of what is surprisingly becoming a difficult to find White House card signed by our longest service First Lady. [#3013]

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Signed formal portrait by Harris & Ewing signed in full on the lower white border. The piece measures 7 x 11. There is mounting glue residue on the back and some matt burning on the front from prior framing. FDR’ signature is on the lighter side from fading but completely legible and visible. Priced accordingly.

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FDR’s veto of the Bonus Bill

Franklin Roosevelt and future Supreme Court Justice Sherman Minton signed letters relating to the Bonus Bill for WWI veterans. Roosevelt’s May 27, 1935 letter on White House stationary is marked personal in his own hand and thanks a supporter for a congratulatory telegram: “I am delighted to know of your approval of the message …” On May 22nd FDR addressed a Joint Session of Congress to personally deliver his veto message of the Bonus Bill. It is in excellent condition with the mailing envelope.

Minton’s February 18, 1935 letter is to a local Veteran’s leader on U.S. Senate stationary as a member of the Committee on Military Affairs. (Future Justice Hugo Black is also listed as a Committee member.) His full one page letter outlines the heart of the dispute and the argument pressed by FDR in his veto. Following his defeat for re-election in 1940 FDR appointed Minton to the Court of Appeals and Truman later appointed him to the Supreme Court.

The Bonus Act of 1924 promised WWI veterans a cash benefit payable in most cases in 1944. The Depression created pressure to pay those bonuses on demand, years ahead of schedule. Thousands of unemployed veterans marched on Washington in 1932 demanding their bonuses. The Bonus Army protest and encampment was broken up on Herbert Hoover’s orders by military force. The military operation was commanded by Douglas MacArthur and led by Dwight Eisenhower. The response, seen as excessive and symbolic of Hoover’s insensitivity towards the needy, helped seal his defeat for re-election.

Roosevelt was no more sympathetic to the huge payout without regard to a veteran’s physical or financial needs. In addition to the enormous cost to the strapped government FDR felt it was an unfair preference of relief to one group of citizens over others simply because of service in the military. Several revisions to the bonus plan allowing early payment for those who were disabled or could prove a hardship. But that did not ease pressure on Congress from the growing political power of veterans. Congress passed the Bonus Bill in May. FDR tried to change public sentiment with a dramatic and unprecedented delivery of the veto with a personal address to Congress. He won that round and his veto was sustained but the following year it passed again. Realizing the pressure was unstoppable in an election year FDR merely sent a short written veto message in 1936 and that veto was easily overridden.

The Bonus March and Bonus Bill fight were iconic issues of the Depression. More important though was the significance in strengthening interest group advocacy and entitlement that has defined post New Deal modern politics. For more information collectors should read Beyond the Bonus March and GI Bill by Stephen Ortiz for a good history of the Bonus Bill fight. [#4456]

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Formal signed portrait by FDR's mother

, mother of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. A formal portrait by Michael Gallo of New York signed on the photographer’s matting “For Kathleen –from Sarah D. Roosevelt Jan 30, 1938”. Kathleen was her friend Kathleen Crawford. The image measures 6 ½ x 8 ½ and is housed in the original presentation folder which measures slightly larger than 9 x 13. There is some scuffing on the folder and a touch of soiling on the top edge of the inside matting. The image and handwriting are excellent. [#4538]

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Inspects the fleet with Frederic Remington
Keeps the Secretary of the Navy in the dark

Theodore Roosevelt, signed letter, 2 pages on small stationary as Assistant Secretary of the Navy August 18, 1897. TR writes to Captain Henry Lyon of the USS Dolphin arranging a three day tour of a battle ship squadron returning to Hampden Roads. TR was appointed Assistant Secretary in April and wasted little time in working independently of and even undermining his boss Secretary John Long.

In this early letter arranging an early tour of the squadron Roosevelt makes clear he wants to keep his request modest enough so as not to involve his boss. “I write to you and not to the Secretary because the Secretary is so kind that I fear if I wrote to him he might put himself to some trouble or inconvenience in arranging to have the DOLPHIN ready for me.” He then offers to take a smaller ship or whatever would be easiest for Lyon to accommodate “so that there isn’t the slightest need of bothering the Secretary about it.” In political language the letter reads: keep our boss in the dark but understand that he would order you to provide whatever I want.

This is a wonderful example of TR becoming an expert on the navy and his new position. By knowing everything and making sure department operations ran smoothly he built confidence and trust with Secretary Long. That confidence was strong enough he soon was able to end-run and act almost independent of his aging boss, essentially setting Naval policy that was to be instrumental in the upcoming Spanish-American War.

Copies of four other letters related to the tour indicate that TR was joined on the tour by some reporters and the artist Frederic Remington.

The letter and signature are in excellent condition. A nice revealing letter of how TR operated in his formative role as Assistant Secretary. [#4324]

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NY Governor, 1868 Democratic candidate for President

Autograph letter signed, Washington, March 14, 1876, one page, 8vo. Seymour sends a small donation for a project and apologized that he can’t do more. Seymour served two non-consecutive terms as Governor of New York and was the unsuccessful Democratic nominee for President in 1868 losing to General Ulysses S. Grant.

There are some fold separations beginning on the right edge and some staining also along the right edge.

FDR speechwriter and screenwriter
Sherwood, Robert

Playwright, screenwriter, FDR speechwriter. Signed letter, Dec. 1947, mentioning his firend the poet Arthur Guiterman. #4145

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Commissioning a future WW II General
Mint condition

Taft, William H. DS, commissioning Robert Richardson, Jr as a 1st Lt of Cavalry 6/10/11. Richardson went on to become Lt. General, Military Commander of Hawaii in 1943 and commander of all Army personnel in the Pacific Ocean and Mid-Pacific during WWII. Taft’s signature of his last name is lighter than the first from the nib of the pen losing ink but the document is in superb condition, being unfolded and fresh. It would be hard to find a commission in better condition and a Presidential commission of a high ranking WWII general is both scarce and very desirable. [#4412]

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Chief Justice Taft explains “I don’t like to have my mouth shut”

Signed letter as Chief Justice, Dec. 28, 1923, to Ladies Home Journal editor and famous autograph collector Edward Bok. Taft asks Bok not to include his name in connection with the efforts to establish an American Peace Prize, explaining that the other Justices react poorly when he is attacked: “they deprecate much my being made the target for political discussion or of personal abuse….” He then adds:” I don’t like to have my mouth shut … but when I came upon the Court I had to give up a freedom of expressions that I used to cultivate in the eight years of my unofficial life between 1913 and 1921.” This is a revealing letter about the ex-president and his view about the near monastic life of Supreme Court Justices. Some flattened folds and a single word correction in Taft’s hand.

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33rd President (1945-1953)

Signed letter, The White House, February 7, 1946, 1 page. Truman writes to Dow Walker, National Commander of the Disabled American Veterans, thanking him for a telegram. He signs in full “Harry S. Truman”

The second blank page of the presidential stationary has been removed but the letter is in otherwise fine condition with a nice bold signature. [#2736]

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In the middle of the fight over abolition in the Nation’s Capital
Early effort to dodge the issue of slavery in DC

Tyler, John ALS as Senator to Walter Lowrie, Secretary of the Senate, 8/20/1836 requesting copies of “the resolutions offered by myself to the Senate last winter on the subject of abolishing slavery in the District”. Abolitionists, frustrated by the claims of states’ rights blocking action, focused attention on pressuring Congress to outlaw slavery in the District of Columbia, reasoning that it was not a state but completely under the control of Congress. Exercising the right to petition Congress for relief of grievances abolitionists began a steady flood of petitions demanding an end to slavery in Washington. This led to efforts in the House to impose a Gag Rule curtailing an otherwise sacred principle that the people had a guarantee to petition their government. The debate just over the legitimacy of these petitions threatened to divide the country. John Tyler was Senate Chairman of the Committee on the District of Columbia and would have received special pressure on the matter since all the petitions were referred to his committee. Tyler had filed legislation in 1832 to abolish the slave trade, but not slavery, in the Nation’s Capital and was unsympathetic to these petitions. Looking to make the petitions disappear while preserving the right of petition in the young republic Tyler offered a series of resolutions to the Senate on February 2, 1836. His resolutions offered a rather novel interpretation of federal jurisdiction over the District and the power of Congress to abolish slavery. He argued that the District was created from land given by Maryland and Virginia and therefore Congress could not end slavery there without the consent of the “owners” i.e. those two states. It was a dodge that didn’t get far and for the rest of the session northern abolitionists and southern states’ righters would fight over the whether or not to even recognition these petitions as legitimate. It is rare to find letters mentioning slavery, directly or indirectly, from most of the men who would sit in the White House prior to the Civil War. Although written as a Senator, not yet president, this is a very nice letter since it references his approach to silencing the issue in Congress, not to mention an unusual interpretation of Congressional authority over the federal seat of government.

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Taft's Attorney General

Taft's Attorney General writes a three page handwritten letter signed on stationary of the Attorney General, February 23, 1911. He writes to John Milburn, prominent attorney in Buffalo. He informs Milburn that he is unsure how long it will take for a decision to be reached in some unnamed case. Wickersham served as Attorney General for the full length of William Howard Taft’s Administration. He is probably best known for his work on anti-trust actions against companies like Standard Oil.

Extra large diplomatic appointment
Wilson, Woodrow

Diplomatic appointment of Benjamin Jefferson of Colorado as Envoy to Nicaragua, June 21, 1913. In excellent condition with a strong bold signatures of both Wilson and Sec. of State William Jennings Bryan.

If wallpaper could talk!
[Lincoln, Abraham]
A piece of wallpaper from the Presidnet's Box at Ford's Theatre

A piece of wallpaper removed from the assassination scene at Ford’s Theatre. An old foxed sheet of paper identifies the paper as a “Piece of wall paper that the Opera box where Prest. Lincoln was shot was papered with.” The irregularly cut piece measures at his widest and highest points at approximately 1 ¾ x 1 ¾.

Relics from the assassination, especially from the Presidential box at Ford’s Theatre or the Peterson House where he died are very difficult to find. More than relic from the assassination scene though, it is an example of the post-assassination response to the crime. An almost irrational impulse by mourners and souvenir hunters created a nearly instant demand for any physical possession associated with the martyred president. Like attacking insects people took souvenir patches of wallpaper and carpet from the theatre while some more ghoulish and enterprising people were able to claim pieces of cloth from the deathbed or wallpaper from the bedroom.