Americana and Ephemera

Listings shown are sorted alphabetically.

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First African American to serve a full term in the U.S. Senate

Former slave, first African American to serve a full term in the Senate. In his capacity as the Recorder of Deeds June 30, 1890, for the District of Columbia Blanche signs a release of claim on a parcel of land, "B .K. Bruce". Most Bruce examples are found on documents like this rather than anything from the Senate. [#3637]

$300.00
 
.Hopkins, Mark

Educator and theologian, ALS, 1.25 pages front and back of a single sheet, Williams College, Dec. 28, 1855. Hopkins sends or returns some pamphlets. Commenting on the writings, presumably those being sent, from a young student. "The idea--that of the superiority of Christian civilization is one which India especially needs, and it is pleasing to see how a chance spark from this western world may catch there." The letter has some glue remnants at the top of the front side and the bottom of the back side but overall is in fine condition. [#3475]

$175.00
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1942 Christmas gift

1942 presidential Christmas gift, a a Defense Bonds stamp folder. Inside the folder is a paper album with 75 spaces for .25 cent bond stamps. These booklets were issued by the government to encourage Americans to buy bonds that were necessary for supporting the war effort. When an album was filled it could be redeemed for a $25 bond at the cost of $18.75. There are two stamps in the album.

Mary Evans Seeley’s reference book Seasons Greetings From The White House indicates that this gift to the White House staff included one stamp from the President. The recipient of this one added only one more, making this a nearly mint, unused book. Seeley does not provide a count of how many of these were distributed but she does point out that only 300 people received gifts in 1943. Few of these have survived almost none will be in as nice condition as this one.

$950.00
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Bishop Brooks may not answer God’s call
Episcopal Bishop (1835-1893)

Autograph letter signed, November 28, 1877, Boston, one page. Brooks politely declines a request for an article. This would seem like a routine response until it is placed in the context of the latest technology – the telephone.

Bishop Brooks writes “I would gladly help your Fair through the “Telephone” if I could—but I am sorry to say that such an article as you desire is quite out of my habits &, I am sure, out of my power. I could send you nothing but a Sermon—so you must excuse me & believe in my sincere good-will.”

The letter is addressed to Edw. S. Garlster (or Garleston), with no address. Less than two years prior to this letter, Alexander Graham Bell, in February 1876, patented his new invention. It is tempting to think that one of the nation’s most prominent religious figures was asked to comment about this new invention. Drawing a line between his role as religious leader and someone who might comment on the secular implications of modern technology he charmingly sidesteps the issue by saying he merely can only write a sermon.

The letter is missing a quarter-size bite at the top. Brooks has crossed out the address of his hotel and added 17[_ Mar] borough St. The date Nov. 28 has been crossed out and “Dec. 18” written above. It is possible he wrote the letter in November, put it aside and then re-discovered it two weeks later when he moved into his residence at Marlborough St in Boston. Except for the loss of paper as noted, the letter is in excellent condition and is a nice early reference to the telephone, which had not yet been made commercially viable. The letter is worthy of further research.

Brooks has often been referred to as “the greatest preacher of the 19th Century.” He was a prominent figure during the second half of the 19th Century. Educated at Harvard, he served in major churches in both Philadelphia and Boston. At the end of his life he became a Bishop of the Episcopal Church in Boston. He is perhaps best remembered today as the author of the favorite Christmas Hymn “O Little Town of Bethlehem.” He has a minor connection to Abraham Lincoln as the minister who delivered the sermon when Lincoln’s body reposed at Independence Hall in Philadelphia. [#2398]

$250.00
 
Complete two volume set of Eminent Americans engravings
Complete two volume set of Eminent Americans
119 historical engravings from the 1860's

A scarce two-volume set of the National Portrait Gallery of Eminent Americans published in 1862 by Johnson, Fry & Company in New York. The engravings are from original paintings by Alonzo Chappel. There are a total of 119 engraving. The images measure 5 ¼ x 7 ¼ and are on full 8 x 10 pages with a facsimile signature of each subject beneath his image. Each individual has a biography narrative of many pages, beautifully typeset in a double column format. Original protective tissues for each engraving are present, resulting in a complete set of engravings in an overall high state of preservation.

More details...

$1,000.00
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early historian and bookdealer writing to another historian

Samuel Gardner Drake, early American Antiquarian, author and Boston bookseller, one of the founders of the New England Historic Genealogical Society. ALS, two pages on a single 8vo sheet, Boston 1853. Drake replies to fellow historian Henry Onderdonk, Jr. The context suggests Onderdonk was contemplating a humorous work on the ever present but anonymous John Smiths of history. Drake suggests he could fill several volumes just on tracking half the real names “Smith” used. He then relates an amusing first-hand account of “John Smith” checking into a crowded hotel Drake stayed at in Philadelphia in 1834. The next morning John was gone along with a watch, money and coat of other guests. This is an amusing piece of cordial banter between two early noted historians commiserating over the difficulty of sorting identities when people share a common name. [#4903]

$75.00
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Businessman, helped found the American Telegraph Company and finance the first Trans-Atlantic cable. ALS, 1 page, 1872, to Edwards Pierrepont, Grant’s future Attorney General. Fields accepts a dinner invitation. Nice example of a very distinct signature. (See Grant listing for Pierrepont’s commission as A.G.) [#2945]

$200.00
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Temperance leader arranges a lecture

ALS, one page, Worcester, Massachusetts May 1868. The Temperance leader and lecture circuit favorite arranges a possible appearance. There is some toning over most of the page and some mounting tape on the back page visible on the left side. [#4160]

$50.00
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Politician turned American Federal of Labor leader

William Green, longtime president of the American Federation of Labor. An early ALS as Ohio State Senator dated May 31, 1912. Although Green had a brief stint in politics his real opportunity to lead and drive change was through the labor movement. In many ways he helped modernize the union movement to be less confrontational and more successful in improve workers standards of living and job benefits. Green informs a supporter that he has been selected by Green to be a delegate to the state senatorial convention. Most of Green’s autographs are from this later period as a union leader. His earlier letters as a politician are less common. [#3512]

$75.00
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D. W. Griffith, pioneering filmmaker, clip from a letter with Sincerely yours in type and a large signature below. [#4891]

$250.00
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First Conductor of the Boston Symphony

[#4201]

$125.00
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Poet, abolitionist, feminist

Signed card, 4 1/2 x 2 1/2, "Know your calling, your country, and your sex. Julia Ward Howe July 1889". Excellent condition . [#3654]

$350.00
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Theologian and father of the author Henry James

Two page ALS, May 13, 1886, to Mr. Morse proposing an article of about 40 pages on radical religions. James wrote many works on religion and comparative religion. The letter is on the front and back of a single sheet of thin paper. There are chips, nicks and the start of small tears along the edges. Henry James Sr. was the father of the author Henry James Jr., psychologist William James and the diarist/author Alice James.[#4086]

$100.00
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leading abolitionist

Abolitionist; small slip of paper "Yours Truly Wendell Phillips Sept 24th" [#1702]

$50.00
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leading historian of the first half of the 19th Century. Prescott writes a single page ALS with address panel about a shipment of marbles. His work focused on Spanish history but his approach to research and writing influenced the writing of history for generations. [#4669]

$125.00
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Boy Scouts - a small signed photo card by Dan Beard with a signed slip from Ernest Thompson Seton who adds an ink drawing of a paw print. Both were early leaders of American Scouting.

$225.00
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Pre-dating Lincoln's call for a November National Day of Prayer
1858 November Thanksgiving

Massachusetts Broadside proclaiming a Day of Thanksgiving. The Proclamation issued by Governor Nathaniel Banks declares Thursday November 25, 1858 as a day of Public Thanksgiving and Praise. The Broadside sheet measures 22 ½ x 18 ½. There are some fold separations which can be easily repaired and reinforced, otherwise the document is fresh and white. These broadsides make wonderful display pieces for any home or office.

$175.00