Americana and Ephemera

Listings shown are sorted alphabetically.

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Louis Agassiz (1807-1873) Swiss born biologist and geologist who settled in America.
Agassiz is particularly well known for his work on glaciers and theory of an early Ice Age.
A nicely centered bold signature on a stiff paper measuring 4.25 x 2.25. Some light soiling in a few spots away from the signature. Ideal for framing with an engraving or photo.

$90.00
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Responds to an admirer in her hometown

Clara Barton – Founder of the Red Cross. Brief ANS, 8/4/1908 to Miss Mallett of Oxford, MA. Barton graciously responds to an autograph request from an admirer in in the town where Barton was born and buried. “If all desires were as easily gratified, life would be a holiday. Very Truly yours, Clara Barton.” The note is on a 4.5 x 7” sheet of lined paper and is generally fine condition. [#5330]

$600.00
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Classic story of autograph collecting

Edward Bok – limited edition signed of his autobiography, a classic on early autograph collecting. This is #108 of a limited edition of 1,250 copies, 1922. This is a very good copy with some pages uncut and tight binding. The paper label is lifting at one corner.

$150.00
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Bishop Brooks may not answer Godís 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
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Blanche Bruce 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. The format of an autograph album page and his adding “Mississippi” suggests this was signed while a Senator. There is a portion of a small newspaper article pasted down to the page. On the other side is an autograph from Chicago businessman Potter Palmer, founder of the famed Palmer House Hotel. Bruce is not an easy signature to find and most seem to be on documents rather than anything from the Senate. [#4746]

$150.00
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Eisenhower small 1955 gift card that accompanied a limited number of Christmas gift prints to friends and White House staff. The 4 x 3.25 card by Hallmark carries a gold and blue presidential seal. When opened there is an unsigned pre-printed message from the Eisenhowers. These are quite scarcer than the larger Christmas cards send in 1955. Approximately 1,300 prints of a painting by Ike along with these cards were prepared. It seems that many recipients hung on to prints but discarded the small cards. [#5297]

$300.00
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Marshall Field - businessman, founder of Marshall Field and Company department stores. Signed letter, May 7, 1902 on 5.5 x 8.5 sheet of personal stationery. Field thanks one of Michigan's premier businessmen and philanthropist Peter White for a jug of maple syrup.

The letter may answer the age-old question of what do you give the person who already has everything, especially when that person is one of the most successful retailers who build a fortune selling consumer goods. It appears that the sheet may have originally been a folded 4 page sheet and back sheet neatly removed.

Field was one of the most successful and wealthiest businessmen of the 19th Century. He built through retailing and wholesaling of consumer goods. He helped set a new standard in retailing by selling service and shopping experiences along with his merchandise. Friends with John D. Rockefeller, the two founded the University of Chicago. [#5564]

$100.00
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unsigned original full length CDVof Fillmore. The back stamp is from E. Anthony in New York from a photographic negative from “Brady’s National Portrait Gallery” [#3467]

$250.00
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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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George Jay Gould - businessman, Railroad Executive. Signed letter, April 1, 1897 on Missouri Pacific Railway letterhead, thanking Washington Times Publisher Stilson Hutchins for some material.

Gould was the son of Robber Baron Jay Gould who dropped some of his father's less scrupulous habits but continued the family legacy in railroads. The letter is in fine condition with some show-through of glue remnants on the back corners from mounting. [#5568]

$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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Protecting the close Pennsylvania vote from fraud

[1840 election of William H. Harrison] Printed circular to Harrison supporters, Philadelphia, Nov. 3, 1840. The circular expresses confidence that Harrison's narrow win in Pennsylvania will stand but warns that Van Buren forces might try to steal the election. Supporters are asked to get their county results, check the returns from each town and the re-check the math. It is signed by Pennsylvania Whig Congressman Charles Naylor and is addressed to George Walker of Woodbourne in Springville, Susquehanna County.

The 1840 presidential election is often considered the first real presidential campaign with widely used campaign memorabilia, populists appeal, and broad public participation in the campaign process to promote favorite candidates. Personal biography and imagery were used to appeal to voting blocks with Harrison portrayed as the "log cabin" candidate in touch with the common person. Apparently it also included field organizations ready to commit or prevent ballot tampering and election fraud.

The Pennsylvania results were the closest in the election with Harrison winning by less than .25% with his 144,010 votes to van Buren's 143,676 votes. Nationally the election wasn't nearly as close with Harrison defeating the incumbent president by 6% of the vote and an Electoral College margin of 234 to 60.

$250.00
 
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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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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Financier comments on proposed National Theatre
writes to playwright Augustus Thomas

Otto H. Kahn - financier. LS, 5-3-23 on Kuhn, Loeb & Co letterhead. Kahn offers some encouragement to playwright Augustus Thomas and the Producing Manager's Association in establishing a National Theatre. "Rome was not built in one day, neither will the National Theatre be. I am delighted that you mean to go on building." He signs it "O. H. Kahn". The paper has some marks and rust spots from old paperclips.
In 1919 the stage actors waged a one-month strike against the Association of Production Managers. Thomas was one of the key figures who helped mediate, resulting in new contracts more favorable to the actors. In 1922, as a leader in the APM, Thomas led one of the first efforts to establish a National Theatre program in the United States.
Kahn was one of the wealthier financiers of the early 1900's. He had a passion for the arts was a generous underwriter and leaders of the Metropolitan Opera, New York Phil and supported individual artists.
This is a better than average content letter from Kahn with nice association and reference to early 20th Century theatre and the still unsuccessful efforts of building a national theatre program. [#5589]

$100.00
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John F. Kennedy - 1958 Christmas card with facsimile signature. The 4 3/4 x 5 3/4 card has a wonderful black and white formal photograph of the Kennedy's. John and Jackie are seated and she is holding the infant Caroline on her lap. The inside has the gold Senate seal and a printed message "May the Blessings of Christmas be upon you and yours. Senator and Mrs. John F. Kennedy." It is signed with a printed facsimile signature "Warmest regards - Jack". This is a scarcer card the more common 1959 example. Presidential Christmas cards are becoming very popular. The cards sent by presidents before they moved into the White House are less common and harder to find. [#3104]

$350.00
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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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Physicist

Charles Richter – physicist and seismologist. Handwritten note, signed with initials. Richter responds to an autograph request by signing a photo (not present) with a comment "if no can read it, perhaps it will be just as well." He signs the note only with his initials "C.R." The note card is approximately 3 x 5. Richter's handwritten letters are uncommon and while this is only signed with initials, is still a desirable example.

Richter was a noted seismologist who wrote and co-authored some of the most influential works on seismology and earthquakes. He developed the method of measuring the intensity of quakes through a scale of seismic waves. He has the unusual distinction of being remembered every time there is a major earthquake which is described as a certain intensity on the Richter scale. [#3525]

$100.00
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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 Ĺ x 18 Ĺ. 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