Autograph Letters Signed
Browse our extensive selection of signed and autographed letters and items from leaders in every field.
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"The Road goes ever on and on down from the door where it began. Now far away the Road was gone and I must follow if I can": J.R.R. Tolkien Signed Calligraphic Quote and Autograph Letter
Exceptionally rare calligraphic quotation signed and entirely in the hand of J.R.R. Tolkien of The Road Goes Ever On, also known as A Walking Song, fictionally composed by Bilbo Baggins and first appearing in The Hobbit and later thrice in slightly differing versions throughout The Lord of the Rings. With the original autograph transmittal letter signed by Tolkien at the conclusion of which he has practiced his calligraphy for the final draft of the calligraphic quote. On Tolkien’s Merton College letterhead the letter reads, ‘Dear Mr. Hodgson, I am sorry that this letter dictated to my London secretary was not forwarded to you at once. It was sent to me for signature while I was away on a brief convalescence after being ill during January and February and the beginnings of March, and I regret that it came back with me, to become included in a heavy correspondence awaiting my return. With regard to the copy of the verses: I expect that it is only the first version L.R. I 44,82 and that also from version III 226 that you wish for. Do you wish for a copy in my normal hand in a more careful form (as here); or something more “calligraphic” in intention? But I warn you that neither will be very beautiful. My ageing hands are now losing their steadiness and such moderate skill as they ever had. “Yours sincerely J.R.R. Tolkien. The Road does ever on and on…The Road goes ever on and on down from the door where is began.” The letter is in fine condition and measures 7 inches by 5.25 inches. Double matted and framed, the final quotation, entirely in Tolkien’s hand reads, “The Road goes ever on and on down from the door where it began. Now far away the Road was gone and I must follow if I can. Pursuing it with eager feet, until it finds some larger way Where many paths and errands meet. And whither then? I cannot say. J.R.R. Tolkien.” Matted with a notation which reads, ‘From the Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien Written Out by the Author 1973.’ In fine condition. Double matted and elaborately framed, the entire piece measures 21 inches by 18.5 inches. Exceptionally rare and desirable.
Jack Kerouac’s candid handwritten reply to a young man’s questions about being a “Beatnik,” his life philosophy, his thoughts on Montana, and more. Students in Robert Dodd’s ninth-grade class were told to contact their favorite writer with their own unique series of questions relating specifically to that writer. The young Dodd chose Jack Kerouac, and the author replied at length to his questionnaire, which includes queries about his classification as a “Beatnik” (his answer: “I never was a Beatnik – it was the newspapers and critics who tagged that label on me….”), life philosophy (“My philosophy is ‘No Philosophy,’ just ‘Things-As-They-Are’”), career goals (“Be a great writer making everybody believe in Heaven”), the ideal way of life (“Hermit in the woods…”), his thoughts on fame (“My name is like Crackerjacks, famous, but very few people buy my books…”), and segregation (“[t]he Irish and Italians of Massachusetts never paraded in protest, just worked hard and made it”). Interestingly, Kerouac is most expansive in response to the final question: whether he has visited Montana. His answer fills three-quarters of the page, beginning: “Great day, my favorite state! – I wrote about Montana in ‘On the Road’ but the publishers took it out behind my back… I stayed one night, but up all night, in a saloon in Butte, to keep out of the 40-below February cold, among sheep ranchers playing poker.” Two pages. In near fine condition.
Exceptionally Rare Hand-written Letter Signed by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. as a graduate student at Boston University in 1952
Hand-written autograph letter signed by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to his academic adviser at Boston University Graduate School. The letter, dated September 1952 on an official Registrar Petition form addressed to the faculty reads: “I am desirous of taking twelve hours towards the PhD degree this semester in the Boston University Graduate School. My major field is Systematic theology. At present I have completed twenty-eight hours toward the degree, and passed the French examination. I plan to take the German examination in October, 1952. I would have taken the examination before now, but I wanted to make sure that I had an adequate background in German before taking it. For the past two years I have been a close student of German. In the light of this I am fairly certain that I can pass the examination in October. Martin L. King Jr. Graduate Student.” With faculty notes beneath signed by King’s academic adviser, “1952 L. Harold DeWolf. Approved. Granted for fall semester only.” King has also clearly printed his name on the verso, visible though an opening at in the back of the frame. Double matted and framed with a photograph of a young King. The entire piece measures 19 inches by 15 inches. An exceptionally rare example providing a remarkable glimpse into the iconic leader’s education.
Exceptionally rare autograph album signed by President Abraham Lincoln and his cabinet including Salmon P. Chase and William H. Seward
Exceptionally rare finely bound autograph album signed by the 16th President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln as well as his cabinet and 225 senators, representatives, and delegates of the 37th Congress, 1861-1863. Octavo, bound in full morocco, gilt titles and tooling to the spine, raised bands, gilt ruled, all edges gilt, marbled endpapers, with the name “Lizzie F. Harlow” gilt on the front panel. Singed by Abraham Lincoln on the first page of the album, “Yours truly, Abraham Lincoln.” Additionally signed by William H. Seward, Edwin M. Stanton, Gideon Welles, M. Blair, Edward Bates, J. P. Usher and S. P. Chase. Collected between the years of 1862 and 1863 by James McCain, a young patent officer at the United States Patent Office. McCain presented the custom-bound album to his sweetheart, Lizzie F. Harlow, who, despite not marrying the young clerk, passed it down to her heirs. In near fine condition. An exceptional rarity with noted provenance.
“I’VE JUST HAD THE HAPPIEST DAY OF MY LIFE”: Exceptional letter signed by Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher to Nobel Prize-winning economist Friedrich von Hayek
Exceptional letter signed by Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher to Nobel Prize-winning economist Friedrich von Hayek. One page, on Thatcher’s official 10 Downing Street letterhead and dated May 22nd 1984, the letter reads, “Dear Professor Hayek,” I have it in mind on the occasion of the forthcoming list of Birthday Honours to submit your name to The Queen with a recommendation that Her Majesty may be graciously pleased to approve that you be appointed a Member of the Order of the Companions of Honour. I should be glad to know if this would be agreeable to you. I shall take no steps until I have your reply. “Yours sincerely, Margaret Thatcher.” Accompanied by a large original black and white photograph of Hayek taken at the honorary appointment at Buckingham Palace in which, he was in fact, awarded the Companion of Honour Medal by Queen Elizabeth II. In fine condition. Matted and framed, the entire piece measures 24.5 inches by 19 inches. An exceptional piece of history.
“The love for all living creatures is the most noble attribute of man": Rare Autograph Note Signed by Charles Darwin to Alfred Russel Wallace
Rare autograph note signed by Charles Darwin to fellow naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace. The note reads, “Oct. 27 Down, Beckenham Kent Can you tell me Mr. Fr. Geach’s address? I want to send him my book.” With the address in Darwin’s had on the verso: “A.R. Wallace The Dell Grays Essex.” The two leading figures in the development of the theory of evolution through natural selection, Darwin and Wallace’s theories differed slightly. Darwin argued that competition between members of the same species led to adaptation, while Wallace asserted that environmental pressures led populations of various locations to diverge. In 1858, Darwin and Wallace published a joint publication: On the Tendency of Species to form Varieties; and on the Perpetuation of Varieties and Species by Natural Means of Selection,’ the content of which Darwin would develop into his magnum opus, On the Origin of Species, published the following year. In near fine condition. Double matted and framed with a photograph of Darwin. Double matted and framed. The entire piece measures 18.5 inches by 13.5 inches. An exceptional example linking two of the leading minds in the theory of evolution.
Rare Autograph Letter Signed and entirely in the hand of George Orwell; sent months after he took up residence on the isle of jura where he would write his masterpiece nineteen eighty-four
Rare autograph letter signed and entirely in the hand of great English author George Orwell. One page, the letter reads, “Barnhill Isle of Jura Argyllshire Scotland 31.5.46 Dear Sir, I of recently received your letter dated the 22nd, as I was travelling for some days before coming here. I am afraid I cannot make any engagement to speak for you, as I intend to be at the above address until October and am not certain of my movements after that. Please forgive me. Yours truly, Geo. Orwell.” In fine condition. Double matted and framed with a portrait of Orwell. The entire piece measures 23 inches by 13.5 inches. Scarce and desirable, written only days after Orwell took up residence at Barnstable where he would compose his masterpiece, Nineteen Eighty-Four.
"I have been accepted in Boston University Graduate School as a regular student and a candidate for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in the field of Systematic Theology": Exceptionally Rare Autograph Letter Signed by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. before beginning graduate studies at Boston University in 1951
Typescript autograph letter signed by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. requesting housing upon his acceptance to Boston University Graduate School. The letter, dated June 15th 1951 and addressed to Dean Charles W. Alter, Boston University Graduate School, reads, “Dear Dean Alter, I have been accepted in Boston University Graduate School as a regular student and a candidate for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in the field of Systematic Theology. I am now interested in finding living accommodations on the campus, or at least very near by. A single room would be preferable. If such is possible I would appreciate having it reserved. I am also interested in applying for a graduate Fellowship. Please send me the necessary information at this point along with an application blank. Thanks in advance for your cooperation, I am Sincerely yours, Martin L. King, Jr.” King later recalled his experience with housing bias in 1951 Boston in an interview with the Boston Globe in 1965, “I remember very well trying to find a place to live. I went into place after place where there were signs that rooms were for rent. They were for rent until they found out I was a Negro, and suddenly they had just been rented.” Double matted and framed, with a photograph of a young King. The entire piece measures 14 inches by 21.75 inches. This letter offers an extraordinary glimpse into the education of the great African-American Civil Rights leader, exemplifying his own experiences with the systemic racism in 1950s American society.
"I share entirely your view that it is vitally necessary for everyone in the Middle East to live in peace": Autograph Letter Signed by David Ben-Gurion
Autograph letter signed by the founder of modern day Israel and first prime minister David Ben-Gurion. It reads, “Sdeh. Boker, 28. 2. 70 Dear Mr. George P. Viegelmann, Jr. I share entirely your view that it is vitally necessary for everyone in the Middle East to live in peace. I am expressing a private view: I would be ready to give up a great Part of the areas which we hold since the six day war, if this would bring peace; by peace I mean friendship with our Arab neighbors and cooperation politically, economically and culturally, but perhaps only Russia can bring this about. I even doubt whether the American Gov. can achieve that. In the future there may be a change in Egypt. David Ben-Gurion.” This letter is a very unique piece of history, particularly in regards to Israeli-Arab relations and the study of peace in general. While publicly Ben-Gurion was the undoubted leader in Zionism, privately at the end of his life, he began to have other opinions. He desired peace even if it meant giving up land that they had fought to obtain. Ben-Gurion’s thoughts on peace in his latter years is corroborated by the recent documentary, Ben-Gurion, Epilogue. This movie features footage that was taken in 1968 and only recently discovered. In the footage he explains that Israel’s moral compass was inexorably tied to its treatment of the non-Jews living under its rule. Double matted and framed opposite a photograph of Ben-Gurion. The entire piece measures 15 inches by 16.5 inches.
Rare Presidential Commission appointing Baseball Hall of Famer Joe Dimaggio as a member of the Conference on Physical Fitness and Sports; signed by President Richard Nixon
Washington, D.C: 1970.
Rare Richard Nixon Presidential Commission appointing Baseball Hall of Famer Joe DiMaggio as a “Member of the Conference on Physical Fitness and Sports.” Dated September 25th, 1970 the appointment is signed by President Richard Nixon and Secretary of State William Rogers with the Presidential seal. Double matted and framed. In fine condition. From the personal collection of Joe DiMaggio. Included is letter of provenance from DiMaggio’s estate signed by his two granddaughters. An exceptional association linking two American icons. Double matted and framed.
"I'm wearing a necklace and ear-rings so that the mountains can enjoy looking at them!": Exceptionally rare collection of autograph letters signed by reclusive author P.L. Travers
1974 - 1993.
Exceptionally rare collection of 28 typed and hand written letters and notes signed by the author of Mary Poppins, P. L. Travers. 36 pages, the letters are a collection of 20 years of correspondence between Travers and close personal friends John and Jacqueline Rutherfurd and offer an intimate glimpse into Travers’ personal life and many travels. In one note dated August 10, 1981, Travers writes: “Dear Jaqueline, I write, with a newly overhauled portable (and see how it works and imagine what I will have to say to them when I get back to London!) from Chandolin, the highest lived-in-all-the-year-round village in Europe. Lovely high air and I try to come for a short time every year to get away from London sea level. And I’m wearing a necklace and ear-rings so that the mountains can enjoy looking at them!” Another letter, dated December 20, 1981, reads in part: “I am waiting for a photograph of me that was taken for my new book that is coming out here in the spring…I wish I could say when the book will be out in the U. S. but there are all sorts of goings on there; I’ve rewritten one of the stories, called Bad Tuesday in the first Mary Poppins book as the San Francisco library put it in the index as being ‘insulting to minorities.’” Another letter dated May 7th 1980 reads in part: “That was a lovely poem to have received at three o’clock in the morning, Jacqueline! Truly beautiful…I will certainly keep it. I put special things into books and then come upon them ages after and am refreshed all over again. That is why I don’t lend my books. I’m not going to let others see my letters, my comments in the margins; why let them into my communing with myself?” Additionally included are the original envelopes addressed to the Rutherfurds in Travers’ hand. An exceptional collection offering a unique glimpse into the personality of the very private author.
Rare Photographic Portrait of Robert E. Lee and his staff; Inscribed by Civil War Photographer Mathew Brady
Photographic portrait of General Robert E. Lee flanked by his son, General George Washington Custis Lee, on his right and Colonel Walter Taylor on his left. Inscribed by one of the earliest photographers in American history, Mathew Brady, on a mount, “To Col. Robert Alexander Compliments of his friend, M.B. Brady.” The photograph was taken at Lee’s estate in Richmond, Virginia in April of 1865, only days after his surrender to Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox. This is one in a series taken by Brady in the basement below the back porch of the estate and from the original wet plates in the Brady-Handy collection. “This photograph is one of the most celebrated images produced by Brady, who established his reputation in the 1850s as the preeminent portraitist in New York and Washington, D.C. In the aftermath of the Civil War, Brady sought out General Robert E. Lee, who had returned to the Confederate capital at Richmond, Virginia, after his surrender to General Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Court House on April 9, 1865. At the photographer’s request General Lee reluctantly put on his uniform and posed at the back of his residence with his son, General George Washington Custis Lee (left), and his chief of staff, Colonel Walter H. Taylor (right). The image conveys the pathos of defeat for the Confederacy and for Lee personally. For Brady, who had been present at the first battle of the Civil War at Bull Run, this portrait completed his photographic coverage of the conflict” (WAM). Matted and framed. The entire piece measures 17 inches by 14 inches. An exceptional piece of Americana.
"Humanity is the same the world over in whatever garb or colour she may be clothed": Signed Photograph of Mahatma Gandhi
Rare signed photograph depicting Mohandas K. Gandhi in profile with his palms pressed together, inscribed in Gujarati (“[Truth at all costs]”) and signed in English M.K. Gandhi on the image in blue ink. With an autographed letter signed from Amrit Kaur, the secretary to Gandhi and later Health Minister of India, to Sgt. John McAleer, written on Gandhi’s behalf, enclosing the signed photograph and responding to his letter (“…Humanity is the same the world over in whatever garb or colour she may be clothed…”), 2 pages, Poona, 5 March 1946, with envelope; photograph of Gandhi and another in rickshaws being pulled by a ceremonial guard, stamped and inscribed “Bhullo chien Desia” on the reverse; and a newspaper cutting; altogether five items mounted and framed together. In very good condition with the inscription faded. Matted and framed, the entire piece measures 19.5 inches by 16.5 inches. A nice collection with noted provenance.
"As you may have noticed I have been wandering all the time": Rare autograph postcard signed and entirely in the hand of the Father of the Nation of India, Mahatma Gandhi
Rare autograph postcard signed and entirely in the hand of the Father of the Nation of India, Mahatma Gandhi. The letter reads, “Dear Rev. Conley, You will please forgive one for my inability to reply to your letter earlier. As you may have noticed I have been wandering all the time. I am at present at Thithal leaving Bombay on 24th Oct for Bengal. I am afraid therefore that we cannot meet before the … Your serv MK Gandhi 25 4 25 Tithal.” The postcard measures 5.5 inches by 3.5 inches. In near fine condition. Rare and desirable.