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In mourning, Hayes writes about his recently deceased wife
Hayes, Rutherford B.

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.