Presidents and Political Leaders

Listings shown are sorted alphabetically.

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partial docusment signed as President

John Adams -clip from a document signed by Adams as president and Secretary of State Timothy Pickering. Adams’s signature is quite large with a light ”J” from a dry quill or the parchment not being scratched strongly enough by Adams to absorb all the ink. The 5.25 x 2.5 clip appears mounted, at least at the edges, to a slightly larger sheet. Adams is a tougher presidential autograph to find than either Washington or Jefferson. (17.5 x 20.5)

$5,000.00
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William J. Bryan - Secretary of State and presidential candidate, ALS, 2 pages, 11/30/18 with envelope. Written shortly after the armistice Bryan predicts there will be growing pressure to bring the troops home quickly and then withholds judgement on a League. The final sentence and signature are written on a vertical edge overwriting some of the body of the letter. [#4855]

$250.00
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Buchanan assesses Pierce going into the 1852 election

Buchanan, James –ALS, one page Wheatland, June 11, 1852. Heading into the 1852 election Buchanan offers an assessment of his fellow Democrat and Party nominee. The two served in the Senate together although Buchanan says they were not close. Buchanan’s recollection was that Pierce was “a radical & inflexible Democrat in all his votes, sometimes going beyond Silas Wright & myself. He was modest, amiable & gentlemanly in his manner. The Whigs can make nothing out of any of his votes…. General Pierce is a gentleman of fair intellect & excellent education: though he never took a prominent part in the debates or proceedings of the Senate.” Buchanan does warn though that Pierce is likely to fall under the sway of the Van Buren wing of the Party. Buchanan also suggests that Pierce might be vulnerable to attack from the Whigs for a Senate vote outlawing dueling in Washington, an issue that evolved into sectional symbolism. The letter is in fine condition and has outstanding political content with one future president commenting on another. (ex- Forbes collection)

$6,250.00
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Calvin Coolidge signed White House card, generally clean. [#4875]

$250.00
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Scarce form of signature

Calvin Coolidge- scarce early one page ALS, undated but late 1890’s, on plain stationary, Northampton, MA to an attorney seeking some genealogical records. Coolidge signed in full with the infrequently seen early signature “Calvin Coolidge Jr.” [#3375]

$900.00
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Calvin Coolidge signed White House card, generally clean. [#4875]

$250.00
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Ike criticizes JFK on the Bay of Pogs

Ike unloads a stinging critique of Kennedy and the Bay of Pigs
Eisenhower, Dwight - three page LS, “Ike” Feb. 16, 1963 on personal stationary from Palm Desert, CA to Lewis Strauss, Ike’s Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission. The heart of the letter and the longest section relates to the apparent payment of ransom for survivors of the “Bay of Pigs fiasco”. In part: “While the Administration has tried to avoid any admission of a blunder in that unhappy incident, the fact that it twice tried to arrange through allegedly private sources for the ransom ….. shows not only that it had a very definite responsibility in the matter but is trying to remove this very sensitive item from memory of the public.” In a sarcastic reference to his successor he adds: “The Frontiersmen not only operate roughly, they do so on the theory that the hand is quicker than the eye.”

This remarkable letter, rich in content, touches on several other topics including the future of atomic energy: “I have no doubt that some day the cost [of nuclear power] will be competitive with coal and water power”; the politically controversial Dixon-Yates contract for a power plant contract: “I think the Supreme Court blundered in reversing that decision on [a] technicality”; some of the contradictions in JFK’s speeches “from the late 1950’s to the very present that are contradictory one with the other”; an attack by JFK on Strauss -- “The statement he made ….is taken by you I am sure as a definite compliment.”; the difficulty of vacationing when people know he winters in Palm Desert “there are more excuses than you can imagine for me some place to ‘say a few words.’ The letter has some inconsequential staple holes but is in excellent condition. One of the finest political letters from Eisenhower to be found and rarely seen criticism of another president’s foreign policy. (Forbes collection)

$3,000.00
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Fillmore, Millard nice large 3.5 x 2.5 clip, probably from an album page, “Millard Fillmore/ July 18,1866”. Framed with an engraving and medallion. (17 x 14)

$450.00
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Grant sends diplomatic credentials for General Dan Sickles
Warrant to place the seal on diplomatic envelope to the King of Spain

U.S. Grant signed warrant to affix the seal on a diplomatic envelope to the King of Spain sending the credentials of General Daniel Sickles as U.S. minister to that country. Sickles had a somewhat controversial command at Gettysburg, where he lost his leg, but was nevertheless decorated for his service there. He went on to serve as a diplomat and later elected to Congress. The 8.5 x 10.5 warrant is a beautiful example with minor tape mounting remnants on the back blank page. Grant’s signature is clean and strong. Most warrants are routine and have little association with prominent figures other than the signing president. This is a much nicer looking warrant by Grant than usually found and the association to a fellow Civil War General makes it one of the best examples of an otherwise routine document.

$1,050.00
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Warren Harding -LS on White House stationary 12/21/22 to Roy Caruthers, managing Director of the Waldorf-Astoria, generally accepting an open invitation to stay at the hotel but explaining he did not know when he would next be in New York. The letter shows moderate to heavy overall toning but with strong contrast against the ink signature. (21.5 x 20.5)

$450.00
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signed supply order to feed cattle

Harrison, William Henry DS from Fort Washington May 7, 1797 “Wm. H. Harrison/ Lieut. Commandt”. Illustrating the frequently mundane chores of command Harrison approves the delivery of 24 quarts of corn and 32 pounds of hay to feed four beef cattle for two days. The document is in very good condition and measures approximately 7.5 x 5. Harrison material is scarce. His presidential material is prohibitively expensive to most collectors and he had a very short career in Congress and his one run for president. What material there is for collectors is primarily from his military career. (23 x 16.5)

$1,500.00
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framed White House card

Herbert Hoover White House card signed. There is a slight paperclip indent on a top edge. A simple format turned into an attractive display framed with a medallion. (18.5 x 15)

$300.00
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letter to Opera star Geraldine Farrer

Herbert Hoover signed letter 2/26/63 on personal stationary to opera star Geraldine Farrer paying tribute but politely declining an invitation to a celebration of her 8oth Birthday. Farrer was a major opera star in the first quarter of the 20th Century. A somewhat touching letter between two celebrities of their day’s, which had passed decades earlier. Hoover’s signature is shaky, showing his age and declining strength in the final year or two of his life. This has much better association than most Hoover letters—which typically have none.

$175.00
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Paying off the War Debt

Thomas Jefferson -DS as Sec. of State certifying an early Act of Congress. The act, approved on March 2, 1791, extended duties of 1% on lead or products made chiefly form lead imported in to the United States and 7 1/2 % on "all printed, stained, and coloured goods, or manufacturers of cotton, or of linen, or of both, which hereafter shall be brought into the United States from any foreign port or place."

This was an amendment to an earlier law extending duties on a large number of imports. The duties served a dual purpose of raising revenue to pay off the debt from the Revolutionary War and to help give a competitive advantage to American manufacturers. The scheme of duties on imports was the cornerstone of Hamilton's plan to finance the government and centralize more authority in the federal government.

It is in remarkably good condition with some slight feathering or bleeding of the ink from Jefferson's quill. The effect is a slight shadowing or halo effect around a few letters but still presenting a strong example of Jefferson's signature.

$8,500.00
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James Madison and James Monroe-- a portion of a document with unusually bold and dark signatures of Madison as president and Monroe as Sec. of State. The 6 x 4.75 remnant is a clerically handwritten close of a typical document “In testimony whereof I have herewith set my hand...” It was signed August 20, 1816. The size indicates this was a vertical format document. It is a superb dark example of the dual signatures and a very appealing display presentation framed with a medallion and antique engraving. (22 x17.5)

$1,250.00
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Early legal document signed twice

William McKinley - partial but lengthy early ADS, Oct. 22, 1875. McKinley has signed twice: once as Wm. McKinley, Jr and then for the firm “W. + A McKinley”. It is also signed by his partner and brother-in-law George D. Saxton, who himself was murdered in 1898 over a legal case. There is a heavy tape stain across a horizontal center fold but away from the signatures. An unusually early example with plenty of handwriting and two examples of his last name.

$500.00
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Warning of a noted economist’s ties to Communist groups.

Richard Nixon - LS, January 20, 1948 “Dick” to Charles Cooper. Twenty-one years to the day before he would be president, Nixon writes about the work that propelled him into the national spotlight as a leading opponent of Communism. Late in 1947 while in his first term in Congress, Nixon was appointed to the House Un-American Activities Committee. In the summer of 1948 the Hiss-Chamber’s case erupted and Nixon’s national reputation was born.

Nixon passes along information from the House Committee to Charles Cooper and Herman Perry about Scott Nearing “because he has a long record of Communist front activities”. Nearing was a prominent Socialist, economist, and pacifist. His published works and lectures on pacifism during World War I resulted in criminal prosecution for interfering with recruitment of soldiers. There are typical folds and handling of the letter but it would be hard to find a better example of Nixon’s early red-hunting of prominent figures.
[#4908]

$950.00
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Theodore Roosevelt closely cropped signature “Theodore Roosevelt” (4 x .75) on what appears to be parchment, suggesting a cut from a presidential document. There is a weak and somewhat flattened horizontal fold through the signature which is visible but not visually distracting. Framed with a medallion, a 1976 cached stamped cover of TR and what appears to be an original Harris and Ewing photograph (7 x 5) of TR working at his desk. (22 x 13.5)

$400.00
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Truman investigates some of his political enemies

Harry Truman - signed memorandum as President directing the Attorney General to investigate and take necessary action against special interest lobbies. The June 11, 1951 memo states in part: “For some time it has been my opinion that an all out investigation ought to be made of Lobbies at work here in Washington, particularly the Real Estate Lobby and the China Lobby.” The China Lobby, which pushed for stronger American Support of Chiang Kai-shek and the Nationalist Chinese, caused particular problems for Truman in managing his foreign policy. Domestically Truman blamed the Real Estate Lobby for blocking his proposals for urban re-vitalization and construction of millions of new homes. Truman’s efforts to make home ownership more affordable for millions of families is often forgotten.

This is a remarkable political directive. In the best light it shows Truman the populist taking on special interests and their presumably corrupting influence on politics. In the worst light it is an order to use the investigating and police agencies of the federal government to shut down his opponents. Regardless of which way it is read it reflects some of the same debate we have today about interest groups and abuse of federal power to silence them.

$4,750.00
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Martin Van Buren, Martin - three page ALS, Sept. 1858, on a 4to bifolium sheet. The former president scolds a friend for being close by but not having visited him in Lindenwald and then discusses some local political news. He adds that as he approaches his 76th birthday “My health I am happy to say to you has at no moment of my life been better.” A nice semi-legible Van Buren handwritten letter.

$1,200.00
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Was proud to serve as FDR's Vice President

Henry Wallace --LS on Vice President stationary 11/30/44. Wallace writes that he was proud “to have been able to contribute a little to the re-election of President Roosevelt.” He served one term as Vice President but was so liberal FDR dumped him from the ticket—making way for Harry Truman. He ran for president on the Progressive Party ticket four years later. [#4861]

$175.00
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Woodrow Wilson- signed letter LS October 4, 1920 to the commander of the Salvation Army for the Western Territories commenting on San Francisco being planned as the center of the Army’s Western Territory. Wilson’s signature is a superb finely written example showing some affects and variation to his signature due to a stroke.

$450.00
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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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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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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. [#4484]

$200.00
 
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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U.S. Grant's Sec. of Interior

Columbus Delano SP, CDV with an Alexander Gardner back stamp, signed on the mount “C Delano/Ohio”. Delano was a Congressman from Ohio who served as Sec. of the Interior under Grant. [#4923]

$75.00
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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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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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Charles Fairbanks --Vice President under Theodore Roosevelt. Two page ALS on Vice President stationary April 18, 1905. Fairbanks invites former Congressman and Diplomat John A. Kasson to visit him and Mrs. Fairbanks. The original handwritten envelope is included. Fairbanks is uncommon in letters while VP. [#4788]

$300.00
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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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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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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
 
Grant sends diplomatic credentials for General Dan Sickles
Grant, Ulysses S.
Warrant to place the seal on diplomatic envelope to the King of Spain

U.S. Grant signed warrant to affix the seal on a diplomatic envelope to the King of Spain sending the credentials of General Daniel Sickles as U.S. minister to that country. Sickles had a somewhat controversial command at Gettysburg, where he lost his leg, but was nevertheless decorated for his service there. He went on to serve as a diplomat and later elected to Congress. The 8.5 x 10.5 warrant is a beautiful example with minor tape mounting remnants on the back blank page. Grant’s signature is clean and strong. Most warrants are routine and have little association with prominent figures other than the signing president. This is a much nicer looking warrant by Grant than usually found and the association to a fellow Civil War General makes it one of the best examples of an otherwise routine document.

$1,050.00
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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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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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Cleveland's Secretary of War

Daniel Lamont, Secretary of War in Grover Cleveland’s second term. Cabinet photo by Sarony of NY signed “Very Truly yours Daniel S. Lamont”. [#4915]

$75.00
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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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Signed card as Treasury Secretary

Andrew Mellon businessman, banker, diplomat and Cabinet Secretary. He served as Secretary of the Treasury under Presidents Harding, Coolidge and Hoover. He lost the confidence of Hoover who promoted him out of the Cabinet post to become Ambassador of Great Britain. Signed autograph card as Secretary of the Treasury. [#4881]

$75.00
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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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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
 
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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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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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
 
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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FDR's 2nd VP transitions to the Cabinet

Henry Wallace, Vice President under FDR during WWII and a candidate for President in 1948 as the Progressive Party nominee. Signed letter “H.A. Wallace” on Commerce Dept. stationary 4/5/45 to Harold Thompson. Wallace responds to a congratulatory letter from a friend apologizing for the delay in responding. FDR had offered the position to his former vice president but of course died just weeks into his new administration. Truman made good on the offer and appointed him as one of his first acts as the new president. Wallace explains the heavy flow of mail and lack of help between his leaving office and assuming the new position. [#4865]

$90.00
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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