Presidents and Political Leaders

Listings shown are sorted alphabetically.

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One of his last autographs - just 14 days before his fatal stroke

Adams writes a short four stanza poem, signing with his full name. This page, removed from an autograph album, is also signed at the top by his former Secretary of State Henry Clay. At the time Clay was out of office but apparently in Washington for a visit, possibly for Adams’ funeral.

On February 21, just two weeks after writing this poem the elderly former President suffered a stroke and collapsed in the House of Representatives. He died two days later. The handwriting shows the effects of his old age, palsy and determination. Throughout his public life he signed his name in one of three forms. He would sometimes sign with his full name, as he did here with obvious difficulty, or more commonly the shorter versions “John Q. Adams” or “J. Q. Adams“ which he could have more easily done on that day. It would be nearly impossible to obtain a later example of his short poems or even his signature much less with the interesting association with Henry Clay.


H. Clay of Ashland
Washington Feb 1848

John Quincy Adams—Massachusetts

Fair Lady! When at thy request
These fingers trace my name.
Could but the impulse of my breast
Thy passport prove to fame

Thy lot throughout this world of strife
Should blossom like the rose
One cloudless day should gild thy life
In endless bliss to close.

Washington Feb 7, 1848

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First Lady. ALS on Executive Mansion stationery May 8, 1888. One page letter about going to a concert. Signed in full "Frances F. Cleveland". Silked with some light toning around the edgesedges. Nice display example. [#1870]

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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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Written in defeat of his top domesctic priority

ALS, Executive Mansion stationery, 16mo, 3 pages, 8/13/94 to Congressman William Wilson.

On the day Congress essentially killed Cleveland’s hope for any meaningful tariff reform the President writes a personal note of thanks and sorrow to his chief Congressional leader for reform. In part: “ I suppose a man very much depressed and disappointed, may write a word of sympathy to another in like situation…. Now that we know our fate I shall not let a moment pass before I acknowledge the great and unselfish work you have done in our attempts to bring about an honest and useful result…. I have found myself questioning whether or not our party is a tariff reform party.”

Cleveland felt the government was on a dangerous economic path building huge national surpluses through exorbitant protectionist tariffs which sapped consumers of money and hindered national economic productivity. His top economic and political priority was tariff reform. In 1890 William McKinley, as Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee pushed through a high tariff bill. The inflationary effect and unpopularity cost McKinley his Congressional seat and the Republican lost their control of the House in 1890. President Harrison would then go on to lose his re-election to Grover Cleveland who returned for his second term on a platform of sound economy and tariff reform.

Cleveland fought for a reduction in tariffs. His chief ally was West Virginia Congressman William Wilson, McKinley’s successor as Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee. The Wilson bill reduced tariffs and then compensated for lost revenue with a 20% income tax. By the time the bill went through the Senate and then the conference committee hundreds of special interest amendments were added that gutted the initial reforms.

The vote accepting the conference report, thus killing any real reform, was cast on August 13, 1894. Cleveland obviously sat down to thank and console his Congressional partner in the fight as soon as he received word that reform was dead. The final bill, known as the Wilson-Gorman Tariff Act, became law without Cleveland’s signature. [#2005]

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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]

Ike's Dictionary of French military terms
Eisenhower, Dwight

Eisenhower, Dwight – hardbound French military dictionary signed by Eisenhower at the top of a blank page, with an apparently early signature suggesting it was his own copy. The “Dictionnaire Militaire” was published by the Librairie Militaire Berger-Levrault in 1911. It carries a blind embossed stamp and several internal rubber stamps, a couple crossed out, indicating it was once the property of US Technical Library of Edgewood Arsenal (Maryland). Although Eisenhower was not formally stationed there the cancelled library marks, placement of the signature, lack of inscription or date give every indication the signature was a mark of ownership rather than an autograph for another officer of autograph collector. This would have most likely been acquired by him after WWI when the library had less use for it. The pages are on thin paper with some minor water staining in areas. There is wear to the outer spine and some separation beginning on the cover, which should be repaired. Ike’s signature is strong with some blotting of the “g”. It is an intriguing artifact worthy of additional research. [#5009]

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Everett, Edward – Governor of Mass, Sec. of State, 1860 VP candidate, orator who gave the “featured” speech at Gettysburg. An ALS, 1-1/2 pages, Boston 2/22/1838, regarding attacks made on him by British Journalist Harriet Marineau for Everett's efforts at compromise. [#1866]

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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 waits out the Bush-Gore ballot counting

Ford, Gerald – LS. “Jerry” on personal stationery 11/29/2000 to Cy Laughter. Responding to a request to help someone with a job in the George W. Bush (43) Administration . “Until the decision on the election is finalized, it is too early to contact President Bush or Governor George W. about a job in the new administration.” A nice reference to the long wait for the 2000 election results.

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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Gerald R. Ford – autograph letter, signed with first initial, Vail, CO, Dec 26 [1973] and a signed vice president card. Three weeks after becoming vice president, while vacationing in Vail Co for the holidays, Ford sends an amusing and rare handwritten letter as VP responding to a request. Amazingly, as he explains in his letter he had no supply of VP stationery while in Vail and had to use leftover stationary as the House Minority Leader. In response to a project he sends a signed vice president’s card, which is included and a Senate booklet, which is not present. He concludes the letter with "No Secretary in Vail so this is by my own bad handwriting. J". He signs the uncommon vice president’s card: "Congratulations and best wishes Jerry Ford". Both pieces were written in blue ink which has faded slightly but otherwise in excellent condition.

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Inaugural quote

Gerald R. Ford – AQS on a matted photo of Chief Justice Burger administering the Presidential Oath of Office in the East Room of the White House. Ford has handwritten and signed an excerpt of his speech in blue felt marker on the matting: “I assume the Presidency under extraordinary circumstances never before experienced by Americans. Gerald R. Ford.” In that single sentence Ford rightly proclaimed the event as one of the more dramatic times in the country’s history and a situation unique from all his White House predecessors.

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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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Nce inscription to Congressman Julius Kahn

– The Man Without A Country, A later edition from 1907 by Little, Brown and Company in Boston. Some beginning separation or cracking of the flyleaf signature page from the binding. “My dear Julius, I hope you will never live to see such a crisis as brought this book into being. Edward E. Hale.” Julius is Julius Kahn, a noted Congressman from California who served from 1889-1924 (losing in 1902 but regaining the seat in 1904). He was succeeded by his wife Florence Kahn who served another 12 years. Hale was appointed Chaplain of the U.S. Senate in 1903 and undoubtedly became friendly with Kahn. The book is a rather unimpressive later edition but the inscription and association make it a very nice piece. Should the page be removed from the book it would frame nicely. [#1797]

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A pair of checks signed by the Hardings. Warren endorses on the back of a check from the Marion County Auditor’s Office in April 1897. Harding’s first run for office was the following year. This is an early example of his signature which is not common prior to becoming a public figure. Florence’s check is drawn on a Marion National Bank check. She fills it in and dates it April 29. The cancellation stamp on the reverse shows the year as 1921, making this less than two months after entering the White House as First Lady.

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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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Harrison fails to fight southern lynching

Benjamin Harrison – important LS as President with Civil Rights content. Writing on April 21, 1892, Harrison responds to Judge Albion W. Tourgee of New York who sent a heartfelt plea of help from an African American woman. The specific cause of her distress is not mentioned but can be identified as the campaign of lynching to suppress African Americans. Harrison writes, in part: “I sympathize with her distress in behalf of her people and know [how] difficult it is to convey an understanding of the limitations that are upon me.” He then mentions a notorious instance of false accusations and execution of three African American males in retaliation for another woman’s refusal to relinquish her seat on a railroad simply because of her color. “Take the Memphis case and what can I do? Only lift my voice in protest against such outrages, which I have never failed to do upon every opportunity.”

The letter Tourgee passed along to Harrison was from a Mrs. H. Davis. After hearing directly from the President she again wrote to Tourgee with a report on the president’s disappointing response. Her letter to Tourgee, transcribed below, is now in the Chautauqua County Historical Society. It offers a remarkably eloquent and powerful argument about presidential powers and equal protection. Harrison only offered a feeble claim over the limits of presidential influence – a remarkably minimalist view of the office compared to successors as early as Theodore Roosevelt ten years later. Judge Tourgee was a well-known Jurist and leading voice against racial injustice. He argued the Plessy v. Ferguson race case before the Supreme Court.

Lynching was the major Civil Rights issue of the last quarter of the 19th Century. Harrison’s effort to walk a middle line of voicing outrage while doing nothing more only invited deeper polarization of public outrage.

Harrison letters with content are scarce and those even touching race relations are almost unheard of in the autograph market. Almost as rare are letters from any president expressing views on the nature and power—or lack of influence- of the office. This is one of the best letters by Harrison as President that collectors are likely to find.

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Pair of letters on the press

Hayes, Rutherford B. - an unusually good pair of ALSs giving advice about discretion on being a reporter’s sources signed "Rutherford B. Hayes" and "RBH". Revealing lessons from a seasoned politician who obviously became skeptical of the press.

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In mourning, Hayes writes about his recently deceased wife

Hayes, Rutherford B. – ALS July 22, 1889, on three pages of a partially pre-printed form acknowledging messages of condolences on the death of his wife Lucy. This is one of the last replies he sent and certainly one of the longest holograph testimonials to his wife in this or any other format. Hayes produced a typeset response to the large volume of mail he expected to receive following her death.

The day after this letter, Hayes recorded in his diary “I have sent in reply to dispatches and letters over seven hundred letters—many of them partly in print. But I think in all cases, saying a few words. Almost all of them short. I think now I am through with the letters thus far received.” Based on his diary, this example is one of the lengthier tributes to his wife and probably one of the last he would write in the weeks immediately following her death. It is also a very personal tribute to her. Please e-mail for a full transcription.

There were two different sizes of this early example of a personally signed form letter. The first is a smaller folded 8vo sheet, one with a printed July date and another with no printed date. Another printing is the same text but on a larger folded 4to bifolium sheet without a printed date. This is the larger version and is the best example to be found of Hayes’ message in mourning.

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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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The Johnsonís White House stage and Harkness Ballet

Johnson, Lady Bird – small collection of 5 pieces, four signed, related to White House entertainment: a) SP of the President and First Lady greeting performers of the Harkness Ballet following their performance at a State Dinner for the President of the Philippines. The photo is inscribed and signed to Gerald Wagner along with a secretarial signature of LBJ, b) a small program card from the event, c) LS from Lady Bird 10/14/65 thanking Wagner for his help in helping make sure the stage was ready for its debut, d)another photo inscribed and signed by Lady Bird to Wagner on June 1965, showing her and Rebekah Harkness with a framed drawing of a performance on the stage. There is a slight crease or wrinkle in the upper left corner of the image, e) a second White House letter signed by Lady Bird 5/29/68 thanking Rebekah Harkness for the many performances of her New York Ballet company at to White House. Johnson mentions that Harkness deserves credit for the stage introduced during the Johnson Administration.

The Kennedy’s had a small stage built for performances in the East Room, typically an individual or small group of musicians. The Johnsons preferred larger themed entertainment and needed a larger stage. Rebekah Harkness a wealthy funder of the arts, including the NY ballet company carrying her name, helped arrange and pay for a new stage. A nice collection related to the Johnsons’ overlooked entertaining at the White House. Presidential myths presume only the Kennedy’s hosted higher art in the White House while the Johnsons preferred banjoes and country music.

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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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Keeping busy when the Bay of Pigs invasion launched

Keeping busy when the Bay of Pigs invasion launched
Johnson, Lyndon B. –LS as vice president, April 17, 1961, the day of the Bay of Pigs invasion. On the start of the Kennedy Administration’s worst international failure Johnson thanks a Foreign Service employee for her help during LBJ’s successful overseas tour to Europe. Johnson had been sent to Senegal to celebrate the first year of independence from France. In an unusually thoughtful note he thanks the Communications Supervisor in the American Embassy in Senegal for employee’s extra work during his stay. “A visit such as ours creates a great deal of extra telegraphic traffic, before it begins, during its course, and after it is over. … I want you to know how much I appreciated your valuable support.” He signs in a heavy black ink with a beautiful specimen of his signature as vice president. LBJ’s personal attention to the mail on that day is interesting. As the invasion was being launched there must have been an effort to stay close to the White House but act like nothing was up. For LBJ that included catching up with and signing otherwise routine mail. Nice association letter.

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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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Richard Nixon –ALS on personal stationery, 8/5/93 to Bob Nesen, signed with his initials “RN”. He thanks his long-time friend and former diplomat for the use of a Cadillac. The car was probably for one of his last trips home to California with his daughters. In part: “As we road [sic] around the Santa Barbara area in one of your Cadillacs, Tricia, Julie and I remarked about how fortunate we have been to have known you as a friend and a loyal supporter over the years…” Pat Nixon had been buried just six weeks earlier at the Nixon birthplace in Yorba Linda and he would die in New York just eight months later.

The letter is in very good condition with minor traces of mounting tape at the very top and bottom edges. It is a nice example of Nixon’s odd tendency in handwritten letters to funnel his writing with each line slightly indented from the line above. The impulse was probably to fill a page without having to write more than he had to say.

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Warning of a noted economistís 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.

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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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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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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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Theodore Roosevelt– LS 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.

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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FDR's last Supreme Court

Supreme Court – FDR’s Supreme Court, represented by nine separate engraved Chamber cards. The cards are signed by the nine Justices sitting at the time of Roosevelt’s death, eight of whom were appointed by Roosevelt. An earlier Court frustrated Roosevelt by striking down key New Deal initiatives. That led him to try to pack the Court with additional Justices that he would appoint. The proposal was a remarkable overreach rejected by Congress. In time though the old Justices retired or died and by the time FDR died eight of the nine Justices were his appointees. (A ninth appointee, James Byrnes, served briefly but retired after one year and was replaced by Wiley Rutledge, FDR’s last nominee.) The group includes Owen Roberts, appointed by Hoover, Harlan Stone, a Taft appointee who FDR promoted to Chief Justice, and then the seven other FDR Justices: Hugo Black (appointed in 1937), Stanley Reed (1938), Felix Frankfurter (1939), William O. Douglas (1939), Frank Murphy (1940), Robert Jackson (1941) and Wiley Rutledge (1943). Stone’s card has a paperclip stain, Rutledge, Douglas, and Jackson each personalized the cards to the collector. All are accompanied by their mailing envelopes addressed to the same collector. [#5252]

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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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ALS as President

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

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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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]