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"The longest letter signed and entirely in the hand of John Adams obtainable": Exceptionally rare 16-page autograph letter signed by Founding Father John Adams defending the ultimate necessity of American sovereignty
Exceptionally rare 16-page autograph letter signed by and entirely in the hand of Founding Father John Adams defending the ultimate necessity of American sovereignty and its precedence over international alliances. Sixteen pages, entirely in the hand of John Adams and written on both the recto and verso of each page, the letter is dated January 9, 1809 and addressed to Speaker of the House of Representatives, Joseph Bradley Varnum. Although France and America shared a strong alliance which proved crucial to winning the Revolutionary War, at the onset of the French Revolution in 1789, Washington's fear that American involvement would weaken the new nation before it had firmly established itself created tensions and a new war between England and France broke out in 1793. The British Navy soon began targeting French vessels and trading interests across the Atlantic, and although many Federalists thought that America should aid its ally, Washington proclaimed that the United States would be “friendly and impartial toward the belligerent parties.” The Neutrality Proclamation was ignored by Britain and angered France, which then allowed its navy and privateers to prey on American trade. To protect American sailors and merchants without provoking Britain, in March 1794, Congress passed a 30-day embargo, which it then extended. Britain, the strongest sea power, began to seize American ships suspected of trading with France, and stepped up its practice of impressment. From 1806-1807, the British navy, in desperate need of men to oppose Napoleon, forced roughly 5,000 American sailors into service on the pretense that they were deserters. In 1807, King George III proclaimed his right to call any British subjects into war service and claimed that Britain had full discretion to determine who was a British citizen. The crisis reached one peak for America in June of 1807 when the HMS Leopard attacked the USS Chesapeake off the coast of Virginia. Three American sailors were killed, eighteen were wounded, and the Chesapeake surrendered after firing only one shot. The Leopard seized four American seaman, claimed as deserters from the British navy, and hanged one of them. Jefferson and Madison, his Secretary of State, responded with the Embargo of 1807, a ban on all American vessels sailing for foreign ports. Meanwhile, Russia allied with Napoleon and pressed Denmark to turn over her fleet. In September 1807, Britain preemptively bombarded Copenhagen and seized the Danish-Norwegian fleet. While Jefferson’s Republicans still generally favored France, a schism grew in the Federalist party. Men like Timothy Pickering downplayed impressments while focusing on trade and access to British manufacturing. On October 16, 1807, King George III aggravated already high tensions with American following the British attack of the USS Chesapeake off the coast of Virginia by issuing a Royal Proclamation expanding the British right to impressment (the King’s right to call any British subjects into war service and determine their citizenship). News of the King’s Proclamation arrived in the United States in December 1807 and, lacking military options, President Jefferson proposed an embargo to ban all U.S. exports on American vessels in order to protect American sailors’ lives and liberties, despite its potential to cripple American trade. The Embargo Act was signed on December 22, 1807, causing immediate economic devastation. In protesting the Embargo, rather than wrestling with the difficulty of defending American sovereignty, some opponents chose to declare the legality of impressments as defined by King George’s Royal Proclamation. John Adams’ former Secretary of State, Timothy Pickering, took a leading role in fighting the embargo, arguing that Jefferson was using it to draw America closer to Napoleon’s France. Given the devastating economic effects of the embargo, Pickering’s message found a wide audience. Adams, on the other hand, recognized the dire threat the King’s Proclamation posed in denying America the right to determine its own rules for citizenship and in December, took his arguments to Speaker of the House Joseph Varnum. As he stated in the present letter, “He [Pickering] thinks that as every Nation has a Right to the Service of its Subjects, in time of War, the Proclamation of the King of Great Britain, commanding his Naval Officers to practice Such Impressments, on board, not the Vessells of his own Subjects, but of the United States, a foreign Nation could not furnish the Slightest ground for an Embargo! … But I Say with Confidence that it furnished a Sufficient ground for a Declaration of War. Not the Murder of Pierce nor all the Murders on board the Chesapeake, nor all the other Injuries and Insults We have received from foreign Nations, atrocious as they have been, can be of such dangerous, lasting, and pernicious Consequence to this Country, as this Proclamation, if We have Servility enough to Submit to it.” Adams suggested repealing and replacing the Embargo Act with one that allowed international trade with all but the belligerents, while building up the navy. Varnum asked to publish it. Before assenting, Adams completely reworked his argument, mustering all the reason and rhetoric at his disposal into a stirring defense of sovereignty and citizenship, resulting in the present letter. On March 1, 1809, Congress repealed the Embargo Act, following Adams’ suggestion to replace it with the Non-Intercourse Act which allowed trade with all nations except Britain and France. In fine condition. A remarkable piece of early American history illustrating the second President of the United States’ impassioned devotion to the pursuit of American liberty. The longest letter signed and entirely in the hand of John Adams obtainable.
Price: $125,000.00 Item Number: 121560
Rare Society of the Cincinnati membership certificate signed by George Washington as president of the society of the Cincinnati
Philadelphia: May 5th, 1784.
Rare autograph document signed by George Washington as President of the Society of the Cincinnati during the first general meeting of the Society and 5 years prior to his election and inauguration as the first President of the United States of America. One page partially printed on vellum with engraved vignettes by Auguste L. Belle after Jean-Jacques Andre LeVeau depicting America in knight’s armor trampling upon the British standard and the American eagle casting the British lion and Britannia out to sea with thunderbolts, engraved seal of the Order of the Cincinnati. The document reads: Be it known that Lieutenant William Andrews is a member of the society of the Cincinnati instituted by the Officers of the American Army at the Period of Dissolution, as well to commemorate the great Event which gave Independence to North American, as for the laudable Purpose of inculcating the Duty of laying down in Peace Arms assumed for public Defence, and of uniting in Acts of brotherly Affection and Bonds of perpetual Friendship the Members constituting the same. In Testimony whereof I, the President of the said Society have hereunto set my hand at Philadelphia in Pennsylvania this fifth day of may in the Year of our Lord One Thousand Seven Hundred and Eighty Four and in the Eighth Year of the Independence of the United States. By Order, ” “H.Knox” Secretary “G. Wahsington” President. William Andrews was commissioned a lieutenant on 1 January 1777 with the Third Continental Artillery. His regiment wintered at Valley Forge, andthe following June, Andrews was captured and held by the British in New York until he was exchanged in September 1781. In fine condition. Double matted and framed with an engraved portrait of Washington. The entire piece measures 36 inches by 23 inches. An exceptional example.
Price: $22,500.00 Item Number: 101412
"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.
Price: $18,500.00 Item Number: 82416
Rare Original Photograph of General Ulysses S. Grant Taken By Mathew Brady; Boldly Signed By Grant As President
Rare original Mathew Brady photograph of Ulysses S. Grant. Boldly signed by Grant as the 18th President of the United States, “U.S. Grant March 18th 1875.” One of the earliest photographers in American history, Mathew B. Brady brought home the reality of the Civil War to the American public with his innovative use of a mobile studio and darkroom to capture thousands of war scenes throughout the Civil War. Brady was also recognized as one of the premier photographic portraitists of the 19th century, taking photographs of numerous celebrities including Andrew Jackson, John Quincy Adams, Abraham Lincoln, and Robert E. Lee among others. Double matted and framed. The entire piece measures 19 inches by 16.5 inches. In near fine condition. Rare and desirable with such a strong signature signed by Grant during his presidency.
Price: $18,500.00 Item Number: 94709
"I salute you with continual friendship & respect. Th. Jefferson”: one page autograph letter signed by thomas jefferson regarding his library
One page autograph letter signed by Thomas Jefferson regarding duties for a shipment of books for his second library at Monticello. Address to David Gelston, esq, who was the Collector of the Port of New York (appointed by Jefferson in 1801). The letter reads, “On my return home after some absence I found here your favors of Sept. 2 & 15. stating the amount of freight & duties on my books … Having no medium of remittance but in the bills of our banks I enclose 8.D presuming they are negotiable with you, and that the fractional surplus may cover their discount at market. I salute you with continual friendship & respect. Th. Jefferson.” The letter measures 9.75 inches by 7.75 inches. Matted and framed with a portrait.
Price: $17,500.00 Item Number: 26064
"No one quality by itself makes a good man or woman; many are essential; but three especially - courage, straightforward honesty, and common sense": Rare autograph quotation book lengthily inscribed by Theodore Roosevelt as President in addition to many others including William Howard Taft, John Muir, John Burroughs, and Bernard Baruch
ROOSEVELT, Theodore; William Howard Taft; John Muir; John Burroughs; Bernard Baruch et al. [Olga Roosevelt].
Olga Roosevelt’s autograph book, lengthily inscribed and signed by Theodore Roosevelt as President of the United States, William Howard Taft as Vice President of the United States and several other famous figures of the era, including naturalists John Muir and John Burroughs and financier Bernard Baruch. Octavo, bound in full vellum with hand painted decorations to the spine and panels, patterned endpapers. Inscribed and signed by Theodore Roosevelt with a lengthy quotation, “No one quality by itself makes a good man or woman; many are essential; but three especially – courage, straightforward honesty, and common sense. Theodore Roosevelt July 23rd 1903.” Inscribed by William Howard Taft “For Miss Olga Roosevelt with best wishes of William H. Taft May 23 1910.” Inscribed by American naturalist John Burroughs, “The most precious things of life are without money & without price John Burroughs Sept 8, 1903.” Inscribed by the President of Cornell University and United States Ambassador to Germany Jacob Gould Schurman, “Beauty, graceful manners, good temper, common sense, and a kind heart: these are the qualities that make a woman to be beloved and powerful. J.G. Schurman East Hampton September 14th 1903.” Additionally inscribed by Alfred W.S. Garden, American diplomat Robert Underwood Johnson, American screenwriter Daniel Carson Goodman, and American naval officer Leigh Carlyle Palmer. Signed by John Muir and signed and dated by Bernard Baruch “B. Baruch Jan 20th 1920.” From the collection of Theodore Roosevelt’s niece, Olga Roosevelt. Roosevelt was the heiress to a fortune of several million dollars left her by her mother. She made her debut in Washington in 1908 and married Dr. Breckenridge Bayne in 1911. In very good condition. An exceptional collection of signatures with noted provenance.
Price: $15,000.00 Item Number: 116342
"GOD IS INTERESTED IN THE FREEDOM OF THE WHOLE HUMAN RACE": FIRST EDITION OF STRIDE TOWARD FREEDOM: THE MONTGOMERY STORY; SIGNED BY MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR.
New York: Harper & Brothers, Publishers, 1958.
First edition of Dr. Martin Luther King’s first book. Octavo, original half cloth, illustrated. Boldly signed by the author on the front pastedown, “Best Wishes, Martin L. King Jr.” Near fine in a near fine dust jacket with light rubbing. Housed in a custom half morocco clamshell box. Rare and desirable signed.
Price: $15,000.00 Item Number: 117338
Rare collection of Rough Riders Photographs and Documents; Twice signed and inscribed by Theodore Roosevelt
Rare collection of original signed documents and photographs taken during President Theodore Roosevelt’s days as Colonel of the 1st United States Volunteer Cavalry, or Rough Riders. The collection includes an original mounted photograph of Roosevelt in full uniform with his campaign hat; two cabinet card photographs of Albert S. Johnson, a member of the Cavalry; an endorsement dated September 7, 1998 which reads in part, “This officer did not serve in Cuba but remained in Florida with the squadron left behind” signed, “T. Roosevelt” which is affixed to the verso of of Albert S. Johnson’s 5 September 1898 application for 60-days leave; and a military record discharging Johnson from the 1st United States Volunteer Cavalry with remarks from Captain R.H. Bruce and Theodore Roosevelt, “Did not serve under me personally; is reported to me as a good and loyal officer. T. Roosevelt col 1st U.S.V.” Johnson’s application for leave was ultimately denied as his regiment was about to be disbanded and taken out of service. In near fine condition. An exceptional collection. Documents from Roosevelt’s Rough Rider days are rare.
Price: $12,500.00 Item Number: 95371
"We miss you very much. Love from Caroline & Mummy" Postcard from Jacqueline Kennedy to her son John, Jr.
Postcard from Jacqueline Kennedy to her son John F. Kennedy, Jr. It reads, “Dearest John, Every day we say where is John-John – Away!! – We ride in this cart & the horse has feathers – & we play on a beach like this & I found a sea horse – & we go up this hill to our house. That is a tower to look out for pirates – We miss you very much. Love from Caroline & Mummy.” Written on a postcard from Amalfi which she has addressed to “Master J.F. Kennedy Jr.” The verso shows a colorful illustration of the seashore including a horse-drawn cart, beach, stone tower, and village. Accompanied by a White House envelope with the typed return address, “Villa l’Episcopio RAVELLO, ITALIA.” Double matted and framed opposite of photograph of the Kennedy family. The entire piece measures 15 inches by 19 inches.
Price: $12,500.00 Item Number: 65095
Rare early American land grant signed by the founder of Pennsylvania, William Penn as the new province’s first governor. One page, script on vellum, the document is dated January 26, 1684 and grants s tract of land to one of the earliest Quaker colonists to settle in Philadelphia county, Thomas Simmons and reads in part, “Know yee that I have given granted & confirmed & by these present for me my Heirs & Successors, Proprietor of Pennsylvania do give grant & confirm unto ye s’d Thomas Simmons his heirs & assign for ever ye s’d Two Hundred Acres of Land to have & enjoy ye s’d Land to ye only & behoof of ye s’d Thomas Simmons to be holden of me my Heirs and Successors Proprietaries of Pennsylvania… In Witness to hereof I have caused these my Letters to be mad Patents, witness my self at Philadelphia ye Six & Twentieth day of ye First Month One Thousand six Hundred Eighty Four Being ye Sixth Year of ye King’s Reign & ye Fourth of my Government, William Penn.” Signed by William Penn at the conclusion of the document. Retaining the paper seal. In near fine condition. Elaborately double matted and framed with two lithographic portraits of Penn, and a large lithograph of his early residences. The entire piece measures 32.25 inches by 29.25 inches. An exceptional presentation.
Price: $12,500.00 Item Number: 121655
Military commission signed by Abraham Lincoln, Washington, August 1861. Folio on vellum with vignettes. Light wear along the folds. Countersigned by Simon Cameron. Matted and framed.
Price: $12,500.00 Item Number: 69020
“Once you can express yourself, you can tell the world what you want from it": Rare Collection of original Oleg Cassini dress designs, sketches, photographs, letters and a gown replica designed by him for first lady Jacqueline Kennedy
Rare collection of original Oleg Cassini dress designs, sketches, photographs, letters and a gown from Cassini’s personal collection. The collection includes a French magazine page inscribed by Jacqueline Kennedy, “afternoon + Theatre”, a letter typed by Cassini’s secretary Kay McGowan transcribing Kennedy’s instructions to him, an original Cassini Studio pencil sketch, a chart of sixteen Cassini designs with pinned fabric swatches, a Cassini designed replica of a gown worn by Jackie at the September 19, 1961 White House Dinner held in honor of of President Dr. Manuel Prado Ugarteche and First Lady Clorinda Málaga de Prado of Peru with Cassini’s couture label, a photograph featuring Cassini, and two photographs of Jacqueline Kennedy donning Cassini’s designs, including one framed which features a photograph of her wearing the very dress mimicked in the replica. In near fine condition. A nice collection offering insight into the complexity and careful planning of Jackie’s public image.
Price: $12,500.00 Item Number: 116093
Rare Civil War era endorsement signed by Abraham Lincoln as President. Dated March 14, 1864, the endorsement reads, “Submitted to the Sec. of War & Gen. Meade. A. Lincoln, March 14, 1864.” In fine condition. On March 14, 1864 Lincoln issued an order for the draft of 200,000 men to support the Union effort. Only two days prior, General Ulysses S. Grant assumed command of the Union armies. Matted and framed with and engraved portrait of Lincoln and gold biographical plaque. The endorsement measures 3.25 inches by 2.75 inches. The entire piece measures 22.75 inches by 19 inches.
Price: $11,800.00 Item Number: 109638
"The Allied Armies, through sacrifice and devotion and with God's help have wrung from Germany a final and unconditional surrender": Proclamation of Nazi Germanys Surrender; Signed by Harry Truman
Washington, D.C: May 8, 1945.
Large three-colored broadside of Harry Truman’s Proclamation declaring the surrender of Germany, boldly signed by Harry S. Truman. Also included at the lower left is the original 1945 Christmas card from the President and Mrs. Truman and at lower right, the original red, white and blue ribbon. These were presented by the President as gifts for friends. Uncommon, especially with the original Christmas card and ribbon. Matted and framed, which measures 21 inches by 28 inches.
Price: $11,500.00 Item Number: 4419
Inscribed by John F. Kennedy as President, “For General Norstad With high esteem – appreciation, and very best wishes – January 1963.” A group of 7 gelatin silver prints of President Kennedy awarding the Distinguished Service Medal to General Lauris Norstad. The recipient was NATO Supreme Allied Commander in Europe. Matted and framed.
Price: $9,800.00 Item Number: 4428
Large signed photograph of Ulysses S. Grant as President of the United States. Boldly signed below the image by Grant. The entire piece measures 14.5 inches by 17 inches. Handsomely matted and framed. Scarce and desirable signed by Grant.
Price: $9,800.00 Item Number: 4608
June 8, 1863.
Military commission boldly signed by Abraham Lincoln as President August 7, 1861, and countersigned by Simon Cameron as Secretary of War, appointing John W. Taylor as Assistant Quartermaster with the rank of Captain, orange Seal at top left, registration docket signed by Adjutant General Lorenzo Thomas Double matted and framed, the entire piece measures 25.8 inches by 21.5 inches. In near fine condition.
Price: $9,800.00 Item Number: 96862
"ASK NOT WHAT YOUR COUNTRY CAN DO FOR YOU, ASK WHAT YOU CAN DO FOR YOUR COUNTRY"; LIFE MAGAZINE INAUGURAL ADDRESS; INSCRIBED BY JOHN F. KENNEDY TO EVELYN SYMINGTON
Rare Souvenir Edition of Life Magazine’s Inaugural Spectacle commemorating the inauguration of President John F. Kennedy. Quarto, original wrappers, illustrated. Presentation copy, inscribed by John F. Kennedy on the front panel, “To Evie Symington with very good wishes John F. Kennedy.” The recipient, Evelyn Symington was the wife of Amherst, Massachusetts-born politician Stuart Symington. Symington served as a Democratic United States Senator from Missouri between 1953 and 1976 and emerged as a prominent critic of McCarthyism early in his term. He sought the the Democratic nomination in the 1960 presidential election with the backing of former President Truman, but the nomination went to John F. Kennedy, largely due to Symington’s refusal to speak to southern segregated audiences. When Kennedy won the nomination, Symington was his first choice for Vice President, but was dropped in favor of Texas Senator Lyndon B. Johnson. He advised President Kennedy as a member of EXCOMM during the October 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis. In near fine condition.
Price: $9,500.00 Item Number: 117063
First Edition of Reports of the Committee of Investigation: Sent in 1873 by the Mexican Government to the Frontier of Texas; From the Library of Ulysses S. Grant
Reports of the Committee of Investigation: Sent in 1873 by the Mexican Government to the Frontier of Texas.
New York: Baker & Godwin, 1875.
First edition of the first English translation of the 1873 Mexican Border Commission’s investigative report on Texan allegations of Mexican robberies at the international border. From the library of Ulysses S. Grant, presented to him by Mexican Secretary of Foreign Affiars Ignacio Mariscal with a dedication card affixed to the second free endpaper. Octavo, original cloth with gilt titles and tooling to the spine, with three large hand-colored folding maps at rear. In very good condition. Housed in a custom half morocco and chemise clamshell box. Rare and highly desirable from the library of President Grant.
Price: $8,800.00 Item Number: 94712