Seth Kaller, Inc.

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See our current Revolutionary War catalog, including rare printed documents from 1774-1776 that lead up to Independence.

Leadership Lessons from POTUS 1:
What Washington Wanted to Say on Becoming President

“My present object is to point out the means of encreasing & perpetuating the happiness of the people ... The preliminary observation that a free government ought to be built on the information and virtue of the people will here find its proper place ...”

On April 30, 1789, on the balcony of Federal Hall in New York City, George Washington took the Presidential oath of office, solemnly swearing to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”Bucking thousands of years of tyrannical traditions, the Founders and Washington staked out an exceptional path for America. Despite the reality of slavery, the lack of political standing of women, and myriad other deep and often tragic injustices, they created for us the vision of an economically thriving and diverse nation capable of collectively overcoming challenges that the states could meet on their own. Preparing for the awesome task, Washington drafted his inaugural address in January, 1789. Aware of his own fallibility, he then sent it to James Madison, encouraging unfettered advice with a coy note implying that David Humphreys was the author. Washington didn’t exactly lie, but in fact, the whole 73-pages manuscript was not only written in his own words, but also penned by his own hand.

Madison feared that such a detailed manifesto would re-open wounds from recent ratification battles and hinder the new government’s progress. He sent back an entirely re-written and much shorter version that steered clear of avoidable controversies. Washington, being in the habit of following good advice, put aside his own draft and delivered Madison’s substitute speech. What Washington really wanted to say was not in the appropriate but unremarkable Delivered Address, but in his own Undelivered Address, which was in effect his manifesto on designing, defining and defending our government. Given the current crisis, I think the example of George Washington and the Founders might have some lessons for us as we first respond to an unprecedented crisis, and then come to terms with how to pay for it, as Washington and Hamilton did with the debt incurred to fight the Revolutionary War. To read a brief summary, click here

Email me to see our complete catalog of a unique collection featuring the address.

“In all our appointments of persons to fill domestic & foreign offices, let us be careful to select only such as are distinguished for morals & abilities ... We should seek to find the Men who are best qualified to fill Offices.”

John Hancock Proclaims Independence:
Exceedingly Rare and Important Letter Sending
the Declaration of Independence to Georgia

Congress have judged it necessary to dissolve all Connection between Great Britain & the American Colonies, and to declare them free and independent States....

Of the thirteen similar letters Hancock sent to the states, only five can be located today, three of which are in institutional collections.

The important Consequences to the American States from this Declaration of Independence, considered as the Ground & Foundation of a future Government, will naturally suggest the Propriety of proclaiming it in such a Manner, that the People may be universally informed of it.

The Declaration copies that Hancock sent with these letters are known as Dunlap Broadsides, after John Dunlap, who spent the night of July 4-5 printing them. The broadsides – single pages with all the information printed on one side – were all unsigned. Even so, the last Dunlap to change hands reportedly sold for $23 million.

JOHN HANCOCK. Letter Signed, text in a secretarial hand (likely Jacob Rust), to the Convention of Georgia [Council of Safety], Philadelphia, July 8, 1776, 2 pages, 8 x 12-5/8 in. on the first leaf of a bifolium. Inventory #26034

Note that we will offer a generous discount to any buyer willing to bring the letter back to Georgia, or to place it in an appropriate museum or library.


History You Can Own

We can help you enjoy an inspirational connection to your favorite historic figure, event, or idea.

Important documents and artifacts can be loaned, placed on deposit, or donated to ensure their survival for generations to come. Seth Kaller, Inc. can coordinate all aspects of collection-building, including acquisition, authentication, appraisal, conservation, framing, insurance, and recognition for your family, your company, or your foundation.

Items presented here are drawn from our broad inventory. We have many more original documents and collections, ranging from $100 to millions of dollars, please contact us if you have specific interests.

Authenticity Guaranteed

We unconditionally guarantee the authenticity of our documents. We verify authenticity through our own expertise and archival research, as well as in consultation with independent experts and institutions. Client references furnished on request.

Seth Kaller is a leading expert in acquiring, authenticating, and appraising rare historic documents and artifacts. Kaller has built museum-quality collections for individuals and institutions, as well as legacy collections for philanthropists to donate. He has handled important manuscripts, documents and rare books relating to the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution; leaves from George Washington’s draft of his inaugural address; Abraham Lincoln’s “House Divided” manuscript and signed copies of the Thirteenth Amendment and the Emancipation Proclamation; and Robert E. Lee’s farewell to his troops.

We are members of the Professional Autograph Dealers Association (PADA), Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association of America (ABAA) and the Manuscript Society.

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