Presidents and Political Leaders

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The Poet-President writes a poem on autograph collecting

- autograph manuscript signed, Washington April 2, 1844. In a very shaky hand Adams fills the title page of an autograph book with two stanzas of poetry on autograph collecting.

Fair volume! thou in spotless white
Hast come a stranger to my hand
Upon thy title page to write
As if with Prospero's magic wand.
Thy pure unsullied pages yet
Are emblems of the infant mind
But maxim sage, and sportive wit
The future reader here shall find

And Love and Friendship, each in turn
This cheerful tribute here shall bring
And here Religion's lamp shall burn
And here the minstrel's voices shall sing.
And when with Sentiment and Song
These pages shall hereafter glow
On him to whom they shall belong
May Fortune's choicest blessing flow

John Quincy Adams
Washington 2 April 1844

A more modern translation might read:

A very nice book! with nothing in it
comes to me from an autograph collector
With a request to write the first entry
As if anything I write would make magic

The blank pages
are like a newborn's empty mind
But in time it will be filled
with wise advice and amusing inscriptions

Each written by people who cared
and were pleased to be asked
And you will read the moral advice
And the little rhymes

And when time passes you will appreciate
all the more what was given to you and
May you be all the better and wiser for having
collected these memories.

The 7 1/2 x 8 3/4 page is lightly lined but never folded. Given the larger than normal page size for albums of the day as well as the lengthier than usual dedication it is likely this was part of an album collected by a child of someone fairly prominent in Washington. Unfortunately there is no dedication or ownership mark so we will never know who circulated the album or what other gems were in it. This is a particularly nice example given its unusual length and a poem to the growing fad of collecting autographs in albums.

Adams was a published poet. His full poems are very rare. The best that advanced collectors can realistically expect to hold are brief sentiments sent to admirers later in his life. Even those have virtually disappeared from the market as interest in John Quincy Adams grows among collectors. This is an especially nice example for serious autograph collectors on the autograph fad. [#3640]

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Rare letter on VP stationery

Arthur, Cheater A.– LS, July 22, 1881, Vice-President’s Chamber, thanking S. Parker Bosely for a supporting letter of July 6 following the July 2nd assassination of President Garfield. Arthur spent Garfield’s long death watch under a cloud of political mistrust and some public suspicion. The assassin Guiteau’s proclamation that he pulled the trigger to put Arthur in the White House was not helpful.

Keeping a low profile he wasn’t writing many people and only a handful of letters from this period have appeared in the market. Arthur stands out as one of the most reticent presidents to leave any written trail of his actions or thoughts. His letters as president are scarce to rare. His letters on Vice-President’s letterhead are almost unheard of. There is one small mail fold tear touching the end of one pen stroke flourish below his name which has been professionally repaired on the back. [#5101]

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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]

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Important letter on the 1844 Presidential race and Texas

ALS, 1 page 4to, Lancaster, July 6, 1844 Autograph letter signed, 1 page 4to, Lancaster, July 6, 1844 to Congressman Henry Horn. This historically important letter describes the battle for the 1844 Democratic nomination, the political fall of former president Van Buren and the rise of the first Dark Horse candidate over the issue of Texas annexation.

In June 1844 the Democrats met in Baltimore for their nominating convention. The primary contestants were Martin Van Buren seeking a return to the White House after his 1840 re-election defeat by William Henry Harrison. The other likely contender was Lewis Cass, Secretary of War under Andrew Jackson. Pennsylvania’s favorite son candidate James Buchanan had local delegates pledged to him prior to the convention.

Earlier that spring, President John Tyler signed a Treaty of Annexation with Texas and proposed admitting her to the Union. Having put the Texas question into play in the spring the issue of slavery and Texas split the Democrats at their convention. Northern interests were opposed to admitting another slave state while Southern Democrats clearly supported it.

In this dramatic letter Buchanan replays the intrigue of the convention while trying to cleanse his hands of any of Van Buren’s political blood. He claims that he instructed his Pennsylvania delegates to support his old friend Van Buren but that Van Burrn's refusal to support annexation cost him the nomination. Polk, the nation’s first “Dark Horse” candidate emerged out of nowhere as the consensus choice for nomination. Buchanan quickly closed ranks and as seen in this letter claims the ticket of Polk and Dallas to be the sound one.

Silas Wright was a New York Senator and close friend of both Van Buren and Buchanan. Thomas Hart Benton was the long serving Senator from Missouri.

The letter is in pristine, fresh condition with minor fold lines. It would be hard to find a better political or Texas related letter from Buchanan. [#2219]

Lancaster 6 July 1844

My dear Sir,
I have this moment received your kind letter of yesterday; + cordially unite with you in opinion that Polk + Dallas are candidates entirely worthy of the support of the Democracy.
I recollect well our conversation respecting M. Van Buren. After I had declined + the delegates from our state had been instructed to support him, I considered the question of his nomination settled: + I uniformly used what little influence I possessed to prevent any movement against him. All that I regret in the proceedings of the Baltimore Convention is that any of the delegates from Pennsylvania, in opposition to my known will + express written instructions, should have cast their votes in my favor whilst M. Van Buren was in the field. But their conduct proceeded from friendly motives; and I have said nothing about it. Had M. Van Buren come out in favor of immediate annexation he would have been nominated without a struggle; and until the very last moment I was under the impression he would pursue this course. I regret most sincerely that our friends Wright + Benton have got rather into a false position on the question: as, in my opinion, there are not two more devoted patriots or faithful Democrats in the Union. I made the last speech on the Texas question which is now ready for publication: but whether or when I shall publish it I have not yet determined.
From your friend
Very respectfully
James Buchanan

Henry Horn Esq.

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Cleveland responds to recommendations regarding an Indian orphanage

Grover Cleveland—ALS as Governor, Sept. 15, 1883 to William Clement Bryant of Buffalo regarding the Thomas Indian Asylum. Cleveland reports that he has not accepted some recommendations from the school’s trustees and asks for a confidential report on the difficulties at the Asylum. The Thomas Orphan Asylum for Indian Children was created to care for orphaned Native American children—mostly Iroquois. It became an embarrassing symbol of warehoused neglect. Bryant was an early historian of American Indians, writing books and many articles on the subject. His work obviously extended to social and cultural support in trying to care of orphaned children.

This is a nice one page Cleveland letter as Governor although the real interest is the reference to Indian Asylum and the unhappy history of government ambivalence, if not neglect, towards orphaned Native children. The left edge is irregularly cut from removing the folded blank pages of the bi-folium sheet and there are two old small remnants of tape on two edges. This is an uncommon example of any piece connecting Cleveland with Native American matters.

William Clement Bryant served as president of the Buffalo City Council and president of the Buffalo Historical Society. He also served as a trustee of the Thomas Indian Asylum.
Charles Marshall was a leading citizen of Buffalo who like Bryant served on the Buffalo Historical Society and served as Trustee, Treasurer and Vice-President of the Orphan Asylum. In 1885 he was adopted into the Seneca Indian nation because of his interest in Native heritage and studies. [# 5102]

[Executive Chamber]
[Albany] Sept 15 [188]3
My dear Sir,

I have lately reviewed the suggestions of yourself and the Mr. Marshall as trustees of the Thomas Indian Asylum. Neither of these have been accepted.

Will you please tell me as confidentially as you desire, just what the difficulty is?

Yours very truly
Grover Cleveland
To Wm. C. Bryant, Esq

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On Carter’s abortion comments

ALS as Attorney General, 3/24/77. In part "Carter's abortion remarks disturbed me, as does so much of the talk about that subject." The letter is signed "Bill" and is accompanied by the holograph envelope. Very desirable and scarce letter commenting about another president and one of the hottest political issues of the past 50 years. [#4473]

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At 18 with early signature

- signed notebook from his Black River Academy High School. The 7 x 8 book appears to be the class secretary’s record of the literary club including the club’s constitution and minutes of some meetings covering 1890. It includes the roster of members for 1890 and 1891 with each student signing his or her name. Coolidge’s pencil signature “J. Calvin Coolidge” in January 1891 at 18 years old, is the rarest variation of his signature. Also included is the signature of Abbie Coolidge, his only sibling, who died just a few months after signing the book. I have found only one other example of her autograph.

There is an earlier roster from the year before. It appears someone signed Coolidge’s name for him although there is a possibility he also signed that with an earlier but quite different variation of his signature. This is priced on the basis of his signing it only once and that is the 1891 pencil signature. There are several Coolidge family members who have signed and Calvin’s name is referenced several times in the minutes.

Named after his father John Calvin Coolidge his signature evolved from the childhood “J. Calvin Coolidge” to the young man “Calvin Coolidge, Jr.” to the far more common “Calvin Coolidge” used throughout his public life.

This is a unique item reflecting some of Coolidge’s high school experience and a example of his early signature style almost never seen on the autograph market. The hardcover book shows wear and some pages are a bit loose from the binding but it is safe to say there is no other example in better condition. [#4771]

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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]

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Denies any German relations at the close of the war

Dwight Eisenhower –initialed autograph note denying any relatives living in occupied Germany. Eisenhower’s writing is undated but certainly from April or early May 1945. His note is on a translation of an appeal for help from Leipzig on April 19, 1945, hours before its formal surrender.

As Leipzig was falling a German woman appealed to Eisenhower for some special treatment and protection. She was relying on a family story that her late husband was a first cousin of the Supreme Allied Commander. Undoubtedly this relationship was not talked about loudly during the war. As the city was falling and Americans arriving it was time to reveal the secret. The widow hoped family ties would spare her.

Just in case they had found one of Ike’s relatives, Army personnel apparently kept kicking the letter higher up the chain of command until it had nowhere higher to go. Eisenhower wasted no time sending it right back down the chain with an emphatic declaration that he has no close relatives in Germany and nobody would receive special treatment by claiming family ties.

Eisenhower’s note was no doubt also a directive to staff about how any future claims were to be handled. It reads: “No relative! No ancestor of either my mother or father has lived outside U.S. since 1740! Tell G-5 to write in above sense and saying she can appeal to local officials. D.E.”

It is easy to imagine Eisenhower’s anger at such a claim and any expectation that any conquered Germans would receive special treatment from him. Just days or weeks before seeing the letter he had toured the Ohrdruf concentration camp. Now after years of struggle and waiting for the complete destruction of Nazism some woman dares to expect special treatment based on an outrageous claim that he was one of them. It is harder to imagine how devastating the response must have been to the woman. Her world had turned inside out from the destruction of her country, loss of relatives and now fearing loss of her few physical possessions and property. She would soon learn that even the family stories that gave her hope were myths and her dead husband’s “family” would not help her.

Leipzig represented one of the last American engagements in Europe as Eisenhower held back from crossing the Elbe into Berlin. This letter is an intriguing example of how quickly Eisenhower was shifting focus from military conqueror to peacetime occupier overseeing the administration of a defeated country. It is a fascinating and rare example of one woman’s appeal actually reaching Eisenhower’s hands. [#5116]

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Writing in the final weeks of the war

Signed letter as Supreme Commander on AEF stationary, April 17, 1945. He thanks someone for a package of fruit from California that greeted him “When I returned to my office today, having been visiting troops in forward areas…” It had been a busy week. He toured a concentration camp for the first time in Ohrdruf on April 12th, the same day Roosevelt died. Two days later he halted the American drive to Berlin, pulling them back to the Elbe. When he returned to his headquarters to enjoy the fruit he was able to celebrate what essentially amounted to the end of major battles for Americans troops in Europe. Some toning at the edges and some minor stains in lower margin. Ike’s letters between D-Day and the German surrender are much scarcer than Presidential letters and very desirable. [#4827]

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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]

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Millard Fillmore two page ALS, Buffalo August 10, 1839 to the N.Y. law firm of Graham, Wood & Powers regarding a land sale. He signs as “Millard Fillmore for Fillmore & Haven” his law firm at the time. This is an excellent example of Fillmore’s pre-presidential handwriting and signature written in blue ink in a neat and clear hand and in fine condition. [#5016]

Buffalo Augt. 10, 1839
Yours of the 6th inst enclosing a copy of yours to Messrs. Hall and Marshall came to hand this morning. I regret extremely that our inability to attend to your first letter should have caused any inconvenience and embarrassment. Indeed, this business of appraisals and searches is so vexatious, we prefer avoiding it where we can, and do none of it except to accommodate a friend.
I immediately called on Mr. Hall who said that they had done nothing about investigating the title to the land covered by the mortgage of George H. Knight to Henry G. Root for $34,000, and desired us to attend to it. I have ordered a search by the county clerk, and as soon as that is received so as to know against whom to search, I will order the requisite search from the Supreme Court clerk’s office, and will investigate and report on the title with all convenient dispatch.
I have procured Messrs Clary and Clark to make an appraisal which I herewith enclose. Mr Clary I consider one of the best judges of property in the city. Mr. Clark is the principal state appraiser appointed by the Comptroller under the new
[p2] Banking law. I did not let them know my appraisal until they had made theirs. You will perceive that they appraise the land a little higher than I did, and the buildings the same. I filled out one of your printed forms so far as I know the facts & they would warrant and herewith enclose it.
I have personally called at the clerk’s office and enquired of the clerk and all his Deputies and they all concur in the opinion that the assignment from Root to the Bank never came to hand. Mr. Hall says he has received no certificate in relation to this title. Did you send any, except the county clerk’s certificate of this county, coming down to 1828 which you sent to me? If you have others it will save ___ expense and delay of procuring them.
Respectfully Yours
Millard Fillmore
For Fillmore & Haven
Mr--- Graham, Wood & Powers
New York C.

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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)

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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]

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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]

Ford, Gerald R.

-- special presentation copy of his swearing-in remarks as President signed below his color portrait. Printed on high quality stock with a 6 x 8 formal portrait the document measures approximately 19 x 14 and contains the complete but brief remarks offered after taking the Presidential Oath in the East Room. Only a limited number were produced and each personally signed by the president. This attractive broadside is an impressive presidential souvenir and of course is part of one of the most dramatic political stories of Presidential history. [#4806]

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– ALS, Mentor, OH July 26, 1879 to Mrs. Francis Lieber on the front and back of a single 4to sheet of House of Representatives letterhead. Garfield sends a copy of his correspondence with her late husband for a biography. In part: “I am glad to be able to contribute in any way to the Biography of so great and good a man as your late husband. My correspondence with him is among the most pleasant recollections of the past.” Included is a reprint of the 1882 book The Life and Letters of Francis Lieber edited by Thomas Sargent Perry done in consultation with Mrs. Lieber.

Dr. Francis Lieber was one of the leading political philosophers of 19th Century America. Garfield and Lieber had a long-running relationship that included over 100 letters from Garfield. The book includes some of the letters between the two men.

An interesting letter showing the friendship between Garfield and one of the century’s leading intellectuals. It is also a nice example illustrating how Garfield saved and shared his extensive correspondence during his lifetime. [#5100]

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Letter to NY Gov. Hugh Carey

LS to New York Governor-Elect Hugh Carey recommending someone for a position in the Governor’s new administration. The December 11, 1974 letter was written as Senator-Elect and is boldly signed in blue. There is a circle drawn around a name in the text, certainly as a reference mark to route Glenn’s letter with the candidate’s application or file. [#4967]

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Endorses the idea of using salesmen as Secret Service informants

-signed letter as senator, April 21, 1917, to his brother-in-law Ralph T. Lewis. Responding to an idea from Lewis, Harding writes: “I think the suggestion to employ commercial travelers [salesmen]in the secret service is a very practical one and I have already transmitted this suggestion to the Department of Justice…” He then comments on a suggestion about the nation’s transition from war to peace: “we must do the things which are necessary to enable this country to hasten the war to a satisfactory close.” Mailing fold and with the printed franked envelope. Nice early reference to the Secret Service and reference to intelligence gathering from civilian sources. [#4762]

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Hayes quotes his policy on Reconstruction with a rare full signature

- rare quote on the war and reconstruction taken from an address delivered to the Ohio Civil War Soldier’s Reunion in Columbus, Ohio on August 11, 1880. Eleven years later he penned this single sentence from the address: “To perpetuate the Union and to abolish slavery were the work of the war, to educate the uneducated is the appropriate work of peace.”

Hayes is often remembered for ending Reconstruction or at least the military occupation of the South. As articulated in his speech and this quote he felt military force could only go so far in achieving equality and restoring harmony to the union. A more enlightened electorate and a more prosperous workforce were the prerequisites for racial harmony and national unity.

The quote represents the essence of how Hayes tried to move Reconstruction forward beyond Union occupation 15 years after the War. That he quoted the line eleven years later indicates how strongly he held onto that belief or how closely it reflected his views on race relations.

Perhaps even more symbolic of how powerful he thought this principle to be is how he signed it. Writing out his full middle name is almost unheard of with collectors. There are almost no available examples of his complete signature “Rutherford Birchard Hayes.” Larry Vrzalik and Michael Minor in their book From the President’s Pen include an example of his full middle name and state it is the only example they had ever seen.

The quote is penned on the back of a 5.25 x 5.5 corner of The John F. Slater Fund stationery showing Hayes as the Fund’s president. The Slater Fund was a philanthropy set up in 1882 for the education of African Americans. Hayes was one of the original trustees. It is possible this quote was provided for reproduction in some publication or fundraising piece related to the Fund’s mission.

For serious autograph collectors this piece has some added appeal for having been part of the fabled collection of Mr. and Mrs. Philip Sang. It sold in Sotheby’s Sang sale on Dec. 12, 2001 (lot 358) for $4,000 before buyer’s premium. A bargain today at $3,300 [#4818]

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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]

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-ANS endorsing an appointment to the regular army, July 1861. The petition for William E. Morgan is written to Sec. of War Simon Cameron by Lt. Col. L. Towers, of the 4th Battalion of Volunteers of DC. Just below Towers’ recommendation is a 3.5 line endorsement written and signed by Andrew Johnson as the sitting Senator from Tennessee. A Congressman from Michigan and two other people have also written endorsements. This is a nice example of the mixing of politics with arming the union on the eve of the first Battle of Bull Run. [#5096]

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Johnson mentions the pressure of his Impeachment Trial

Signed letter 4/11/68 on Executive Mansion stationary, 1 page to the historian Harmon C. Westervelt concerning Congressional opposition to Johnson and alluding to the Impeachment. Johnson apologizes in a long delay to Westervelt’s letter two month’s earlier explaining that he was “prevented by the pressure of official duties” i.e. preparing for his Impeachment Trial. He then asks Westervelt to thank Mr. Browne and Hiram Ketchum for of copy of Ketchum’s remarks “so neatly and ingeniously transcribed, delivered in Union Square September 17, 1866.” The power struggle between Radical Republicans in Congress and the Democrat turned Republican president broke out early. Eighteen months prior to this letter a pro-Johnson rally was held in Union Square in New York with Johnson defenders whipping up support for national unity behind the president. It was this rally and a speech by Ketchum that Johnson references in this letter. The feud, of course, culminated in Articles of Impeachment against Johnson. The pressure Johnson was under must have been nearly all-consuming to have left Wersvelt’s letter go un-answered for so long. One week prior to the letter, the case against Johnson in the Senate was wrapped up. Johnson wrote this letter while his defense team was making their case to the Senate between April 9-20, 1868. Johnson presidential letters are few and far between. Those that mention the Impeachment are quite rare. This is a nice example that alludes to the trial but specifically recognizes his supporters who were making a case on his behalf. In excellent condition.

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desriable White House letter as First Lady

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

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- LS on Congressional stationery 8/18/41 inviting a visiting friend from Texas to stop by the office. It is signed “Lyndon” with a postscript writing in his large hand “You owe me nothing but your friendship”. Although he served six terms in the House his letters as a Congressman are somewhat uncommon. This is a particularly nice example with a sample of some additional handwriting.

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LBJ accepts international congratulations on the flight of Gemini 4

Johnson, Lyndon -L.S. on White House stationery “Lyndon B. Johnson”, June 8, 1965 to UN Secretary General U Thant thanking him for his congratulatory message on the successful Gemini 4 space flight. Some toning at edges from prior faming. LBJ material reference the space program is desirable. This includes some LBJ Library files on Johnson’s responding to congratulatory messages from foreign leaders with specific recommendations on this response to U Thant. [#1692]

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signed letter as Attorney General 3/24/64 to Hazel Ritchie on her retirement from the U.S. Marshal's office in Pittsburg signed "Robert Kennedy". [#4685]

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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.

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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]

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Land grant as Governor of Virginia

Land grant as Governor of Virginia. The 14.5 x 12.5 parchment grant was signed by Monroe on Sept 5, 1800 with a brown ink making for a slightly lighter than normal signature. Monroe signed more land grants as Secretary of State under Madison and then as president than he did as Governor. The large format as Governor are more impressive and displayable than his presidential grants.

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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]

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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]

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Sees Reagan and Bush as a winning 1980 ticket

ALS with initials on personal stationery. Written to Bob Nesen on July 19, 1980 following the 1980 Republican National Convention: “You looked great on T.V. when you cast California’s votes for Reagan and Bush. It’s a winning ticket”. He signs it with his usual initials.

Nixon’s handwriting and initials are slightly larger than normal—possibly to make the brief three sentence letter appear longer by filling the entire page. It is an attractive handwritten example referencing the campaign and his two successors to the White House.

Nesen was an influential Republican leader in California who Nixon appointed to be Assistant Sec. of the Navy and Reagan would appoint as Ambassador to Australia. [#5094]

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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.

Four Language ship's paper
Pierce, Franklin

Four language ship’s paper for the whaling ship George Washington out of New Bedford, Massachusetts August 29, 1853. It is boldly signed by Pierce as President and William L. Marcy as Sec. of State. There are the typical folds, one vertical fold between the first and last names of Pierce and another through the “W” in Marcy’s signature. Overall a fresh looking example in very good condition. [#4802]

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Warren Harding, Calvin Coolidge and Herbert Hoover

Following the end of the World War political attention turned back to domestic matters including economic growth and union organizing. Two areas of frequent union activity involved coal and rail disputes. The three post-war Republican presidents were caught between wanting labor peace without interfering with private businesses and concern about inflation following wage increases. These letters offer an intriguing glimpse of three perspectives on politics and policy to a common challenge of the coal strikes of the 1920’s. The Coolidge and Hoover letters are especially nice because they are on official mourning stationery honoring Harding.

Warren Harding – LS, The White House, August 1, 1922 to Robert Underwood Johnson on the threat of railway strikes. While the nation was facing violence and great inconvenience by the rail strikes this is a revealing letter on the political strategy of dealing with coal strikes. Harding tells Johnson in part: “I much prefer to adjust the present railway controversy because the impaired transportation is very greatly menacing the country at large and making much more difficult the solution of the coal problem….” Harding counted on localized coal strikes being managed simply by backfilling shortages with supplies from other parts of the country. A national transportation strike served to make that supply strategy less effective. Johnson was a noted author and for a short while Ambassador to Italy under both Wilson and Harding. $900

Calvin Coolidge – LS to Mass. Senator Henry Cabot Lodge, August 28, 1923 just weeks after Harding’s death. Coolidge takes credit for pushing Pennsylvania Governor Pinchot to take action in addressing the anthracite coal strikes in Pennsylvania. Faced with his first domestic crisis and public doubts about his leadership the new president was torn between public pressure and his own political beliefs of light interference in commerce. By shifting the focus back on the Governor he sidestepped national pressure and avoided the inevitable backlash that hit Pinchot on driving fuel costs up as part of a labor resolution. There is an interesting backstory as to whether Pinchot, an emerging political rival to Coolidge, saw an opportunity in the absence of Coolidge’s leadership or if Coolidge convinced him to act. Coolidge is positioning himself as the strong leader who persuaded the Governor to do his job. A copy of Lodge’s long response to Coolidge is included. One of the most interesting and revealing Coolidge letters about his first challenge as the new president. $1,500

Herbert Hoover – two pages LS, on black bordered Sec. of Commerce mourning stationery to the Federal Fuel Distributor. Written just days apart from the above Coolidge letter, Hoover discusses a proposal offered from the National Coal Association representing the bituminous coal companies. He commends them for not exploiting the anthracite strike but rejects their suggestion that the government bring stability by fixing prices higher than the current market rate. In some detail Hoover reviews the government’s limited authority and the impact on free markets and competition from setting prices. He maintains that the federal government’s best role is to act as a neutral market facilitator by coordinating transportation systems which allowed supplies from one region to compensate for shortages from strikes in another region. A wonderful example of Hoover’s philosophy of political restraint in economic markets. It may not have served him so well during the Depression. $900

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

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

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Gift presentation framed photo as Governor

Reagan, Ronald and Nancy –special presentation photo with official frame as Governor. The formal portrait of Governor Reagan with his arm around Nancy is inscribed by him “To Alice & Armin - With Appreciation & Warm Regard [Nancy] & Ron.” She of course has added “Nancy in her own hand. The photo is in an official heavy silver presentation frame with the seal of California. Such presentation frames are not often seen with Reagan photos but even rare is the original gift box with blue and gold foil and a large foil state seal. The recipients were Armin and Alice Meyer. He was a career diplomat serving as Ambassador to Lebanon during the JFK and LBJ Administration then Ambassador to Iran from 1965-1969. Nixon appointed him Ambassador to Japan for his first term. A very desirable Reagan piece from his years as Governor.

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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.

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Undated autograph letter signed “FDR” on stationary of the Assistant Secretary of the Navy. Roosevelt writes to his friend “Cass” (Lewis Cass Ledyard, Jr.) with some friendly banter involving Ledyard’s sailing. FDR offers to meet up with him if he can get there by battleship. Ledyard was part of the elite social and business circles of New York that Roosevelt travelled in as a younger man before his presidency. A nice example of his early holograph letters. [#4947]

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TR tries to recruit the Roosevelt Dvision for WW I

-LS, July 27, 1916 on Metropolitan stationery to Admiral Seaton Schroeder. In this brief note Roosevelt tells Schroeder that any son of his would be welcome in a Roosevelt Division. After the US entered World War Roosevelt lobbied Congress and President Wilson to be given a command of some troops in Europe. Congress even passed a law for his benefit to allow volunteer divisions to be deployed. Roosevelt went so far as to begin recruiting volunteers to serve under him. Wilson finally declined TR’s offer. No doubt he sensed that sending the aged and bombastic former president into battle would create more political problems than military victories. This letter suggests Roosevelt was actively laying plans for a volunteer force well before the US even entered the war. Ironically, Seaton Schroeder, who served in the Civil War and rose to the rank of Rear Admiral in the Spanish American War, was called back to service in World War I. [#5074]

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TR and early moving pictures

Signed letter on blank paper, Oyster Bay 12/12/1898 as Governor-elect to Frank Marvin of the American Mutoscope Company – at the address of Roosevelt’s childhood home, 841 Broadway, in New York. In a single sentence letter Roosevelt informs Garvin that he has not yet received the pictures. It is signed “T. Roosevelt”. Roosevelt’s reference to “pictures” may have been about still photographs used in a flip card series or possibly a very early moving film picture. A year earlier Mutoscope produced and released a short clip (about 15 seconds) of Roosevelt walking down the steps of the White House as Assistant Secretary of the Navy. It is one of the first moving pictures of Roosevelt and can been viewed on the Library of Congress website. Overall in very good condition with mailing folds and the start of a small edge tear along a fold line. An intriguing association with early film making.

American Mutoscope was an early producer of motion pictures, the first company set up solely to film production and public exhibition. It was founded in 1895 by William Dickson on of Edison’s inventors who helped develop the technology of film making. The company and “studio” included the Director D.W. Griffith and the earliest of film stars including Mary Pickford, Lillian Gish and Lionel Barrymore. The mutoscope was a viewing machine for moving flip cards which when turned would create the “movie”. The company soon moved from flip card technology to projected film technology. It was later responsible for filming TR’s presidential appearances. Its first studio was located on the roof of the building where it rented space at 841 Broadway. Ironically the commercial building was built by the Roosevelt family on the site of the mansion where TR was born and raised. [#5047]

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signed letter on Vice President’s Chamber stationery, Oyster Bay July 15, 1901 to Curtis Guild, future Governor of Massachusetts. Roosevelt agrees to meet with Grover Flint but says he will be away until mid-August. He spent the summer touring the west that year. Guild served in the Spanish American war and was a close friend of TR. Flint was a distinguished journalist who had also served in the war. Roosevelt became Vice President on March 4, 1901 serving just six months when he became President following McKinley’s assassination in September. That short tenure makes his Vice Presidential letters quite uncommon. This example has a nice dark signature. A final line in the letter is crossed out in a blue pencil or crayon, presumable by Guild or TR. [#5082]

FDR speechwriter and screenwriter
Sherwood, Robert

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

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The Court Roosevelt tried to pack

Supreme Court –an album sheet signed by all nine Justices of the Court that sat untouched through Roosevelt’s first term. It was arguably FDR’s worst political call as President. The Court blocked several key New Deal laws prompting FDR to try to pack it with new Justices. The Court packing bill sparked a strong political backlash. The divisive challenge to the Court’s independence was averted when Justice Roberts threw his vote in favor of a New Deal law he previously opposed. The vote was quickly dubbed as “the switch in time that saved nine.” The sheet is signed twice by Chief Justice Charles E. Hughes on one side in the middle of the page which he crossed out and then on the other side allowing room for all the Justices. The page is also signed by Willis Van Devanter, James McReynolds, Louis Brandeis, George Sutherland, Pierce Butler, Edward Sanford, Owen Roberts, Benjamin Cardozo and Harlan Fiske Stone.

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Taft sours on Roosevelt

Signed letter on personal stationary 5/22/16 to Major Wallace Batchelder. Acting as the elder Party statesman and titular head of his Party the ex-president carefully avoids interference with the nominating process … with one exception. “There are so many gentlemen being considered by the Republican Convention, to whom I am under great personal obligation that I regret I can not state my preference.” He signs the letter then handwrites: “Except that I am very much opposed to Mr. Roosevelt’s nomination.” The Roosevelt-Taft friendship broke after Taft succeeded TR into the White House. Roosevelt’s attempt for a comeback in 1912 challenging Taft’s re-election helped Woodrow Wilson walk in. The friendship soured and a lengthy public feud became legendary. Letters from either attacking the other are highly desirable and fun.

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Gloats on his confirmation as Chief Justice
with a seldom seen “Bill” signature

ALS, July 3, 1921 on his personal stationery to a Yale classmate about his appointment as Chief Justice. Harding nominated him on June 20th and the Senate confirmed him the same day. Taft took his seat on the Court on July 11th. The content is nice, commenting on the four Senators who voted against him, “If you had to have opposition whose would you rather have than [William] Borah’s, [Edwin] Johnson’s, [Robert] Lafollete’s and [Tom] Watson’s”. Beyond the content, the form of his signature is quite scarce. He signed almost every letter and document as “Wm. H. Taft” reserving “Bill” for only the closest of old friends. This was once part of the Forbes collection.

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[Truman, Harry S.] – 1951 Christmas gift print of the Blair House. According to Mary Evans Seeley there were only 1,000 of these prints produced for senior officials and White House staff. This would be the Truman’s last Christmas in Blair House and they would move back into the White House for the final Christmas as President in 1952. This is encased in special unmarked parchment envelope, possibly the original presentation envelope to protect the print as Truman personally handed these out to the staff at the 1951 Christmas Party.

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

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Vice Presidents- group lot of four pieces signed by 6 vice presidents. The major piece in the lot is an album page signed by Calvin Coolidge as president and his vice-president Charles Dawes as well as Charles Curtis who would later serve as Hoover’s VP. The page contains other signatures including Senators William Borah (ID), George W. Norris (NE), Walter Edge (NJ), Lawrence Phipps (CO). It is dated by a collector in pencil April 26, 1926 with some margin notations indicating the offices of the signers. A very nice grouping of three successive VP’s on one sheet. Other pieces include Henry Wallace- VP under FDR- LS 1953 congratulating someone for not being affiliated with a political party; Nelson Rockefeller as Governor, LS 1965 responding to an autograph request; Spiro Agnew as VP, inscribed photo with large VP envelope.

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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]

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large 1858 engraving

[Webster, Daniel] “The Last Days of Webster at Marshfield” The unusually large print by C. Mottram from a Joseph Ames painting was produced by Smith & Parmlee in 1858. The engraving measures 25 x 34 and the overall measurements are 44 x 33.5. The engraving is fine although there are some marks and scuffs in the blank margins. This is from a surplus group of the same print, most likely part of the printer’s unsold overrun. It does not include the decorative cartouche or description and identification in the lower margin that the finished prints carry but the image is striking and clean. Joseph Ames was a prominent 19th Century Boston artist of portraits and genre although in this case he produced an historical painting depicting Webster with friends and family just a few days before his death.

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Wilson looks to the Churches to restore post-war America

Signed letter April 22, 1923, 4to, personal stationary. Wilson writes to Rev. Smith of Haverhill, Mass concerning a church resolution. In part: “…The churches can, and I hope will, do a vast deal of good in leading the country back to the high levels from which it has descended since the war.” Signed in full with an unusually dark signature and an uncommonly good content letter reflecting on post-war conditions in America. [#2196]