Presidents and Political Leaders

Listings shown are sorted alphabetically.

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Fully steps back from public matters near his death

Important ALS months before his death stepping away from public service. The one page letter responding to his former Secretary of Commerce William Whiting declines to get involved in a public issue. “It would be easy to make much trouble for a distracted country. I have done all I can do. Others must now carry on the government. Just drop me.” The letter was written on May 21, 1932 as the Depression deepened, Roosevelt was challenging Hoover in the November election and public attention was focused on the WWI Bonus Marchers protesting in Washington. This was part of the March 2002 Christie’s sale of the Forbes collection and sold for $3,300. The Forbes listing suggested the context for this letter was a request for Coolidge to speak up against the Bonus Marchers.

$2,750.00
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Davis wants some generous interpretation on his letters to Lee

Two page ALS October 13, 1883 to Marcus Wright, former Confederate General and post-war author sympathetic to the “Lost Cause” revisionism. Davis responds to a request for copies of letters he wrote to Lee. Davis explains the letters and memos are often difficult to decipher. He urges Wright to interpret them broadly to allow better understanding by readers who might not be familiar with military terms or his writing. The former president’s suggestion that his writing be interpreted broadly echoes the more modern political defense against statements “being taken out of context” when events change and words come back to haunt them. He signs in full and then initials a lengthy post script. A nice association of the post-war efforts to write a southern version of civil war history. This sold at Christie’s for over $4,000 in 1993 and is a bargain today priced at $2,750.

$2,750.00
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Uncommon recess appointment
Fresh look with suberb dark signatures

Abraham Lincoln signed recess appointment for a Surveyor of Customs for Salem and Beverly Massachusetts. The April 1, 1863 appointment is clean and white with an embossed Treasury seal. Some minor fold tears in the margins have been professionally reinforced on the back. It has been countersigned just beneath Lincoln’s signature by Treasury Secretary and future Chief Justice Salmon P. Chase. The document is quite clean and fresh looking with superb dark signatures by Lincoln and Chase. Recess appointments are uncommon.

$7,500.00
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Rev War General, Governor of South Carolina

Rev. War General who blocked the British capture of Charleston and Savannah. Signed document as Governor of South Carolina in 1793 granting 8,000 acres to William Minor in the District of Orangeburgh. The parchment grant still has the 4” wax pendant seal attached, uncommon to find with American land grants, as well as a second page map of the tract. This would make for an impressive display if framed properly.

$500.00
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3 weeks after becoming Vice-President

Gerald R. Ford rare and unusual handwritten letter as the new Vice President on his outdated Congressional stationary sending an uncommon signed Vice President signature card. The letter is dated Dec. 26th and Ford notes that he is without a secretary in Vail so his reply is “ by my own bad handwriting.” In the letter he apologizes for the “out-dated letterhead” a sign of how recently he became Vice President. He signed the letter only with a “J” and the card “Jerry Ford”.

$2,500.00
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Uncommon ship's registration fromRev. War

John Hancock DS as Governor of Massachusetts in 1781 during the Revolution. Hancock signs a ship’s registration for the Brig Good Intent, built in 1770, attesting that no part of it is owned by any British subject. There are some minor stains at the folds or edges. The paper seal is intact. Hancock’s signature is strong and dark, a wonderful example of his classic signature. This type of ship’s document from Hancock’s years as Governor are uncommon. It has been professionally framed.

$4,000.00
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Richard Nixon scarce ALS Feb. 28, 1977 to Anne and Howard Cox, Tricia's in-laws. Nixon thanks them for a gift and recalling their announcement of Ed and Tricia's engagement at the White House 6 years ealier. He signs in full “Dick Nixon”.

$2,500.00
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Taft to a former Justice questioning the ethics of Brandeis

William H. Taft signed letter, New Haven, November 24, 1913. Taft writes to former Supreme Court Justice William Moody for information about a person he was asked to recommend for a position. He mentions that he will be in Boston delivering some lectures on ethics. “When I consider the hypocrisy and shrewd use of reform by Brandeis and others, I feel as if they needed a little ethics in Boston.” Louis Brandeis who would go on to become a Supreme Court Justice himself three years later. Taft became Chief Justice eight years later and would serve on the Court with Brandeis. William Moody was appointed to the Supreme Court in 1906 by Theodore Roosevelt but only served four years. [#4105]

$750.00SALE PENDING
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Truman finally decides to support Kennedy for President

Signed letter Oct. 5, 1960, 2 pages, to California Congressman John Moss. A spectacular political letter rich in content on the eve of the Kennedy-Nixon election. In this well-known but uncommon form letter Truman minced no words about the Eisenhower Administration and the need for Democratic control of Congress. “With Nixon in the White House, there will be a complete breakdown in the domestic and foreign affairs of our Government. I wonder if you want another 1929?... As you know, Jack Kennedy was not my first choice for the Presidential nomination.” It would be very difficult to find a better letter on the historic 1960 campaign and the connection between the five men who would occupy the White House between 1945 and 1974.

Truman’s endorsement of the Kennedy Johnson ticket in 1960 is an inexplicably scarce personally signed form letter. The former president supported fellow Missourian Senator Stuart Symington for the Democratic nomination in 1960. He was so angered at party leaders tilting the convention process in favor of Kennedy that Truman held a public press conference in July announcing his boycott of the Democratic Convention. He urged Kennedy to step aside and essentially “wait his turn.” Letting his hatred for Nixon eclipse his strong dislike for Kennedy the former president agreed late in the election to come out forcefully and campaign for the ticket.

Truman spent quite a bit of effort on this letter. The Truman Library holds two or three drafts which Truman personally edited. The Library drafts indicate it went to Democratic Senators, Governors and Candidates for Congress. That would have meant scores of examples, each personally signed by Truman. Yet, in spite of the significance of the endorsement and the blunt tone from a former president only a handful have appeared on the market. A review of auctions and sales over the past 15 years finds fewer than a dozen examples. It is likely that most recipients either held Truman in such low regard or correctly assuming this to be a form letter incorrectly assumed it was signed in facsimile and didn’t bother to save them. What a mistake!

$2,500.00
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One of the last signatures from John Quincy Adams

John Quincy Adams, a clip from an album page “John Quincy Adams 2d Feby 1848 Washington”. On February 21, the elderly former President collapsed from a stroke on the Floor of the House of Representatives. He died two days later, exactly three weeks after signing this paper. The handwriting shows the effects of his old age, palsy and determination.

$750.00
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Signed album page “B.K. Bruce Miss”. Bruce was a former slave who went on to become the first African-American to serve a full term in the United States Senate. There is a portion of a small newspaper article pasted down to the page. Bruce is not an easy signature to find and most seem to be on documents rather than anything from the Senate. [#4746]

$100.00
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Sec. of State, Presidential candidate

William J. Bryan signed letter as Secretary of State on January 8, 1915 to C.C.Rosewater purchasing a copy of his book "Nebraskans, 1854-1914" and sending a photograph. Typical folds and a small stain on a lower corner. [#4853]

$150.00
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Uncommon ALS and frank as President

James Buchanan ALS as President with a franked cover, Washington, May 28, 1859, to John Nickle, Esq of Camden New Jersey. The President thanks Nickle for "the fine Delaware shad."(?) The letter is boldly signed with a full signature. The envelope is addressed in Buchanan's hand and franked "Free James Buchanan" in the upper right corner. The back flap has become detached but is present with a fine intact red wax presidential seal. A vertical mailing fold runs through the "m" of James. The envelope shows some uneven toning but is near fine with a file docket written on the edge in another hand. Buchanan is reasonably common in handwritten letters in all periods except as President. It is particularly desirable to find the matching envelope with his Presidential free frank and such a nice example of the wax seal.

$2,000.00
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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]

$400.00
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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.
[#3010]

$100.00
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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.

$1,500.00
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Governor of New York and Vice President

George Clinton, Vice President under Jefferson and Madison. Signed document as Governor of New York granting a tract of land. The large grant measures 17 x 12.5 and is dated June 4, 1788. Clinton’s signature has some weakness in the upper strokes of a few letters. Overall toning and some foxing typical of many documents.

$250.00
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Grant's Vice President ALS with free frank

Schuyler Colfax, Grant's Vice President, ALS declining an invitation with a free frank as Speaker of the House, although the letter is on stationary of the HQ of the Army. [#3645]

$275.00
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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.

$500.00
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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]

$200.00
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Charles Curtis LS as Hoover’s vice president and first person of American Indian descent (1/4 Kaw) to be elected vice president. Curtis sends King Hostick two signed envelopes (not present). Hostick was a pioneering collector of the early 20th Century, amassing a huge collection largely by writing to people.

$200.00
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Defends the Star Spangled Banner as our National Anthem

Sec. of War under Coolidge and benefactor of the prestigious Davis Cup in tennis. Signed letter on War Dept. stationary Oct. 6, 1926 defending the use of the Star Spangled Banner as the National Anthem. [#4611]

$125.00
 
Dawes, Charles

Charles Dawes vice president under Coolidge. SP, approximately 7 x 10 mounted to a larger matting, inscribed and dated May 1922 on the matting.

$250.00
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Stephen A. Douglas ALS April 20, 1857 Washington as Senator recommending someone for a job. The one page letter on a small 8vo sheet is in fine condition and nice example of Lincoln’s opponent for the U.S. Senate and presidency.

$500.00
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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.

$1,250.00
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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]

$200.00
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early check by the "main" orator at Gettysburg dedication

Edward Everett; Statesman, Governor or Massachusetts, “main” orator at Gettysburg dedication. Signed check for 2 dollars on March 19, 1827 at the start of his second term in Congress. The check is payable to the bearer, most likely himself. Small cancellation marks away from the signature. [# 4779]

$75.00
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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.

$4,500.00
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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]

$850.00
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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]

$50.00
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President-elect considers his major appointments

Warren Harding signed letter as president-elect to Chauncey Depew concerning potential appointments of Elihu Root and George Sutherland in his Administration. Harding appointed Sutherland to the Supreme Court. Root, who had served in Cabinet positions under McKinley and Roosevelt, was appointed by Harding to the Arms Limitation Conference. Depew was an important and powerful attorney for railroad interests and for 12 years Senator from New York. It is very uncommon to find letters from presidents-elect, especially with any content regarding plans and appointments for their presidencies. Ex Malcom Forbes collection. [#4606]

$900.00SALE PENDIING
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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.

$3,000.00
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Refrences his Grandfather's Inaugural Address

Benjamin Harrison signed letter as President accepting a copy of his grandfather’s Inaugural Address. The Harrisons are the only combination grandfather/grandson to serve as President. William Henry Harrison of course died just 30 days after delivering the longest Inaugural in a cold wind. References by Benjamin about his grandfather are desirable and scarce. This is particularly nice since it mentions the address that may have contributed to his being the first president to die in office. [#4533]

$1,500.00
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The Court FDR tried to take down

The Hughes Court. An album sheet signed by all nine Justices of the Court that sat untouched through the entire length of Roosevelt’s first term. The Justices opposed some of FDR's New Deal programs, so frustrating the master politician that he tried to pack the Court by increasing the number of Justices with appointments of his choosing. The political backlash was not favorable and Congress refused to pas the bill. The Court also feared backlash. In a famous decision during the fight the Court upheld a law by a single vote that just a year earlier they had overruled in a very similar case. The support for a New Deal bill took some of the air out of FDR's argument and the changed vote by a single Justice was famously dubbed "The switch in time that saved nine.". The Court packing fight was one of the more dramatic political controversies of FDR's Presidency. Material related to it is very desirable and uncommon. Please see related letters by both FDR and Truman on the fight.

$1,500.00
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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. [#4604]

$150.00
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Four Language paper for a Whaling voyage out of New Bedford

Andrew Jackson a four language ship’s paper for a whaling voyage out of New Bedford, MA in 1835. A white paper in generally fresh condition with two small stains near the large 6.5” signature.

$2,000.00
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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.

$2,500.00
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Scarce diplomatic appointment signed as President

Andrew Johnson and Sec. of State William H. Seward, scarce diplomatic appointment, Nov. 1866, of Edward Lee Plumb of New York as Secretary of the US Legation in Mexico. Johnson’s signature is a bit light on a few strokes from a dry pen but he adds a somewhat unusual large paraph to his signature. It has been nicely framed with double matting and generally fine condition. Most of Johnson’s presidential appointments and commissions bear his metal stamp signature. This is an attractive example of a genuinely signed document. [#4815]

$1,250.00
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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]

$0.00
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Signed letter on Senate stationary 11/2/67 to Robert Wykle of the Wayne County, NY Dem. Committee thanking him for some apples. Signed "Bob". [#4687]

$400.00
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If wallpaper could talk!
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.

$2,500.00SOLD
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James Madison and James Monroe scalloped top Mediterranean pass for the Brig Little Arnold out of Baltimore, Dec. 12, 1821. The Little Arnold was headed to Bourdeax but captured by the British soon after setting sail. The white document retains the full seal but there is some minor loss of vellum at a fold. Madison’s signature light, Monroe’s stronger.

$1,750.00
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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]

$150.00
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Patricia Nixon signed letter on White House stationary, June 2, 1972 signed "Pat Nixon" to Virginia Sherwood expressing sympathy on the death of her son, along with the White House envelope. [#4708]

$125.00SALE PENDING
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Scarce White House letter on smut and pornography

Richard Nixon signed letter, White House, April 30, 1969 to Journalist Merriman Smith. Nixon congratulates Smith on some comments about "smut peddlers" and signs it with his initials "RN". Very early into his Presidency Nixon resorted to signing almost all of his letters with his initials. Merriman Smith was one of the most respected journalist of the 1960's, perhaps gaining his greatest fame as an on the scene reporter at the Kennedy assassination. This is a wonderful letter reflecting Nixon's unease with pornography and sex during the tumultuous '60's when the courts were striking down laws against pornography. It is also a nice example of Nixon trying to develop positive relations with the media in quiet ways like these personal notes recognizing a particular article or statement. The original mailing envelope is included. [#3913]

$650.00
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Native American’s meet with Washington
ALS as Washingotn's Sec. of State

Native American’s meet with Washington

Pickering, Pickering ALS as Secretary of State, Philadelphia May 5, 1792 to New York’s Governor Clinton responding to a request by representatives of Onondagas (Seneca Nation) who were visiting Philadelphia to send a copy of a speech (not present) regarding their Nation. Washington had a strong interest in establishing stable relations with Native Americans. To accomplish that he tried to establish federal supremacy over states in dealing with tribal matters, particularly land sales. States were not fully cooperative with Georgia and New York in particular looking to sell tribal lands for their own gain. As part of the relationship building Washington and Pickering invited representatives of the Six Nations or Seneca Nation, often referred to by the name of one of the six tribes the Onondagas, to meet with them in Philadelphia in the spring of 1792. Pickering’s letter to Clinton most likely served the dual purpose of complying with the tribes request and more important reminder of George Washington’s policy of federal supremacy on Indian affairs. The meeting helped continue discussions that eventually led to the 1794 Treaty of Canandaigua with the Six Nations. Some fold tears have been reinforced on the back. A very scarce and desirable letter relating to Washington’s interest in Native American affairs.

$1,500.00
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Early ALS to his mother-in-law with free frank

Pierce, Franklin ALS, 1836 to his mother-in-law. Pierce writes a chatty three page letter about local news and his travel plans. He signed the letter as “Frank Pierce.” The back page includes the address panel free franked “Free/Franklin Pierce/M.C.” A nice early example with two forms of his signature, in excellent condition.

$0.00SOLD
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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]

$175.00SALE PENDING
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Three Presidents at Chinese Premier's visit with Reagan
George Bush, Richard Nixon and Gerald R. Ford

An official White House program for the arrival and state meeting between China’s Premier Zhao Ziyang and Ronald Reagan signed by his two predecessors Gerald R. Ford and Richard Nixon as well as his Vice President and successor George Bush.

$1,400.00
 
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.

$2,500.00
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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]

$225.00
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First Lady, signed letter LS 6/3/45 on Val-Kill Cottage stationary with black mourning border on two sides. Written less than two months after FDR's death and her departure from the White House Eleanor thanks Miss Smith for a photo of "my husband". Somewhat uncommon with mourning border. [#4405]

$125.00SALE PENDING
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FDR’s biggest political fumble—the effort to pack the Supreme Court
with the full Court he wanted to break

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.” The Supreme Court threatened FDR’s New Deal legislative achievements. To overcome the adverse rulings he attempted to pack the Court by adding new justices. The political fallout was not favorable to FDR and Congress refused to pass it. Please see a related letter from then Senator Truman and an album page signed byt he Court he tried to pack.

$3,500.00
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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]

$150.00
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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]

$750.00
 
FDR speechwriter and screenwriter
Sherwood, Robert

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

$75.00
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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.

$1,000.00
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Senator Truman non-commital on FDR's Court packing bill

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. The Court packing bill was one of FDR's worst political calls in his 12 years as President. Material directly related to the effort is hard to find. Please see a related letter from President Roosevelt and an album page signed by the 9 Justices who so frustrated FDR's New Deal programs.

$1,750.00
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Paired set of letters helping a contstituent

Pair of signed letters as Senator to a constituent trying to get a job. The two are dated February 1939 and include a copy of a letter to Truman from the Public Works Administration about the same matter. Although the content is a routine constituent matter this is a nice example of HST following up on a matter. Such letters often become separated so matched correspondence is somewhat uncommon. Both are in fine condition with full signatures. [#4585]

$500.00
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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.

$4,500.00
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Two page ALS as President, October 15, 1844, discussing the supplies for a military unit. Darkly penned on the front and back of a single 8vo sheet signed "J. Tyler". [#4531]

$1,500.00
 
U.S. Cabinet Secretaries.

Unless noted signed letters are on the appropriate Department stationary and are routine content.

James Garfield
Wayne MacVeagh (Attorney General) $50

Chester Arthur
Frederick Frelinghuysen (State) $50
Benjamin Brewster (Attorney General) ALS $45
William Hunt (Navy) $25
Charles Folger (Navy) $20
William Chandler (Navy) $45

Theodore Roosevelt
George Cortelyou (Commerce, Treasury and Postmaster) White House stationary $60

Woodrow Wilson
Robert Lansing (State) post-service private stationary ($100)
Josephus Daniels (Navy) $35
Mitchell Palmer (Justice) $20
Thomas Gregory (Attorney General) $25
William McAdoo (Treasury and son-in-law) $40

William H. Taft
Philander Knox (State) $20
Richard Ballinger (Interior) $20
George Wickersham (Attorney General) ALS $60

Warren Harding
Charles Evans Hughes (State—Supreme Court Chief Justice) on private stationary $100
Harry Daugherty (Attorney General) $35
James Davis (Labor –Harding/Coolidge) $40
Harry New (Postmaster) $25

Calvin Coolidge
Frank Kellogg (State- Nobel Prize winner) $90; on Senate stationary $60
Dwight Davis (War) $50
Curtis Wilbur (Navy) $20

Herbert Hoover
Charles F. Adams (Navy) $25

Franklin D. Roosevelt
James Farley (Postmaster General) $50
Frank Knox (Navy) on newspaper stationary $65

$0.00
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Martin Van Buren autograph letter signed, Lindenwald [NY] Jan. 20, 1851. Van Buren takes almost two full large sheet pages of writing to thank someone for slippers. Little content but plenty of writing. [#4732]

$750.00
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Edith Bolling Wilson signed frank on a black-bordered mourning envelope with a printed acknowledgement card on a condolence message following Woodrow’s death. Edith would later use a rubber stamp for most of her franks. [#4133]

$125.00
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Rare ALS as First Lady on unusual Presidential stationary

Ellen A. Wilson ALS. 2 pages as First Lady on scarce stationary of "The President's Cottage" in New Hampshire. Wilson is one of the rarest autographs among First Ladies since the Civil War and an ALS during her time as First Lady is especially hard to find. She died less than 18 months into Wilson's first term. He re-married one year later.

$1,750.00
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Wilson returns from the Paris Peace Conference

Woodrow Wilson and the Paris Peace Conference. A 14 x 11 photo of the SS George Washington, which carried Wilson to and from the Paris Peace Conference, signed by Wilson, Admiral Cary Grayson (personal aid to Wilson and later head of the Red Cross), French Ambassador to the US Jean Jules Jusserand, Captain Edward McCauley, Jr. and a Vice Admiral of the Navy. Some repaired tears at top and a few minor creases away from the signatures.

$1,500.00