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Eleanor Roosevelt on the Meaning of Civil Rights

ELEANOR ROOSEVELT, Typed Letter Signed, to “Harry,” Washington, D.C., February 19, 1944. 2 pp., 6¼ x 9¼ in. On White House stationery.

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“Something has to happen to people’s souls before they are going to give the rights of citizenship to all the people of our country, regardless of color or creed. That does not mean you have to ask them to dinner. It only means giving them the rights that go with citizenship.”

Item #23592, $15,000

Blistering Border State Speech
against Wartime Confiscation of Slaves

[SLAVERY]. U.S. CONGRESS, Pamphlet. Speech of Hon. John S. Carlile, of Virginia, on the Bill to Confiscate the Property and Free the Slaves of Rebels; Delivered in the Senate …, March 11, 1862. Washington: Congressional Globe Office, 1862. 13 pp.

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Item #21856.02, $450

“Free Pass... Constitutional Purifying Association”

[COPPERHEADS], Broadside, “A FREE PASS. Entitling the holder to the tender mercies of the CONSTITUTIONAL PURIFYING ASSOCIATION, Who will guarantee to cleanse every particle of Copperheadism from our nature - so you will be able to VOTE for an honest man without prejudice...” with several illustrations depicting “THE PURIFYING PROCESS.” [1864]. 6 x 9 in.

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Item #21986.03, $400

Anti-Slavery Broadside: “Comparison of Products, Population, and Resources of the Free And Slave States”

[ANTI-SLAVERY], Broadside, “Comparison of Products, Population, and Resources of the Free And Slave States.” 1861. 14.25 x 22 in., multi-colored, by John Batchelder, printed by Welch, Bigelow, and Co., Cambridge, Mass.

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This chart compares free and slave state output in such areas as the number of schools, newspapers and periodicals, population, slave population, literacy rates, manufacturing, and agricultural output.

Item #22049.02, $1,100

Frederick Douglass Signed Deed

FREDERICK DOUGLASS, Document Signed as Recorder of Deeds, Washington, D.C., 1881-1886. Approx. 3½ x 8½” folded.
Image shown is a sample. To request an image of the deed currently available please email us at info@sethkaller.com

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While Douglass’s letters are scarce, documents signed during his tenure as recorder of deeds for the District of Columbia can be had very reasonably.

Item #20409u, $495

Cinque, Leader of the Amistad Revolt Autograph at an Abolitionist Fundraiser in Philadelphia

CINQUE, Autograph as Leader of the Amistad Captives. Philadelphia, Pa., May 27, 1841. 1 p. Also signed by F-foole [Fuli]. With two endorsements in unknown hand, the later one possibly written by Charles Evans in pencil.

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Cinque was an almost mythic figure during the controversies and legal cases surrounding the slave ship Amistad in 1839-1841. He freed himself and the other Africans in the hold of the Amistad, initiated the revolt that captured the ship, and led the ships’ voyage from waters near Cuba to the United States. After being captured off the coast of Long Island, while imprisoned in Connecticut as the Africans’ status was debated by the U.S. Supreme Court, Cinque learned to speak and write English. (That they spoke Mende was discovered by a linguistics professor at Yale, who then found translators—two escaped slaves who spoke both languages).

After winning their freedom, Cinque and some others embarked on a lecture tour to New York and Philadelphia in May 1841 to raise funds for their return home. Their enthusiastic reception by the abolitionist movement made for a busy schedule.  Among the stops, Cinque visited the Lombard Street School for black children in Philadelphia. 

This autograph, signed at the Lombard school on May 27, 1841, is one of only two or three known original signatures of Cinque.

Item #21884, PRICE ON REQUEST

Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper with United States Colored Troop (USCT) Images

[AFRICAN-AMERICAN SOLDIERS], Newspapers. Frank Leslie’s Illustrated, December 13, and December 20, 1862, 16 pp. each. (Two issues)

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Two war-dated newspapers showing African Americans in the Civil War:

Frank Leslie’s Illustrated, December 20, 1862: “The South Carolina Loyal Colored Regiment in Action,” including “Picking off Rebel Sharpshooters.”  And, “The Negro Drivers of the Baggage Train.”

Frank Leslie’s Illustrated, December 13, 1862: Contrabands looking on at “Camp at Stafford’s Store Virginia.”

Item #22483.01-.02, $375

The 1858 Debates that Propelled Lincoln to National Attention

[ABRAHAM LINCOLN], Book. Political Debates Between Hon. Abraham Lincoln and Hon. Stephen A. Douglas, in the Celebrated Campaign of 1858, in Illinois. Columbus, Ohio: Follett, Foster, and Co., 1860. 3rd edition, with publisher’s advertisements bound in. 268 pp., 6½ x 9½ in.

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Item #22476, $1,500

New Hampshire Ridicules South Carolina’s Attempts
to Game the System After Rejecting the 14th Amendment

[AFRICAN AMERICAN], Broadside. “Part of a Speech of the N. H. “Champion of Democracy” on the Negro Question,” no place, [New Hampshire], c. 1867. 1 p., 9½ x 13½ in.

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Item #22840, $1,000

A Copperhead Newspaper Prints, Then Criticizes,
the Emancipation Proclamation

[ABRAHAM LINCOLN]. EMANCIPATION PROCLAMATION, Newspaper. New York Journal of Commerce. New York, N.Y., January 3, 1863. 4 pp., 24 x 32½ in.

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An early report of the Emancipation Proclamation, where the editors describe Lincoln’s bold move as “a farce coming in after a long tragedy....Most of the people regard it as a very foolish piece of business.”

Item #22448.01, $1,450

‘Rally round the Flag, Boys!’ President Lincoln Centerfold

[ABRAHAM LINCOLN], Newspaper. Harper’s Weekly, October 1, 1864. 16 pp., complete, disbound.

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This October, 1864 issue of Harper’s Weekly has a magnificent centerfold engraving of President Lincoln—perfect for framing—with a patriotic poem below.

Item #H 10-1-1864, $225

The American Museum Magazine Considers Race and Slavery, Bound Together with Congressional Proceedings
on the Bill of Rights

MATHEW CAREY, Magazine. The American Museum, or Repository of Ancient and Modern Fugitive Pieces, &c. Volume VI, July to December, 1789. 492 pp., plus 46 pp. bound in, Proceedings of Congress, from the First Session of the First Congress, including the process of amending the U.S. Constitution by adding a Bill of Rights. With ownership signature of Connecticut Revolutionary War General Jedediah Huntington on free front endpaper. Dedicated in type to George Washington. Bound in contemporary calf, binding worn, small library label on spine, some staining on title page, several pages trimmed near end, with minor loss of text, primitive drawings of soldiers on back endpaper.

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Item #22660, $2,400

James Madison Signed Membership Form
as President of American Colonization Society

JAMES MADISON, Document Signed. “Office of the Colonization Society.” Washington, [ca. 1833-1836]. With Society’s seal engraved at bottom center (a ship sailing towards Liberia, with Latin motto “Lex in Tenebris” – light amid darkness). 1 p., 8¼ x 11⅛ in.

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A rare blank membership certificate, signed in advance by the Society’s President. It would have conferred a life membership in the controversial American Colonization Society, which advocated gradual manumission of slaves and colonization of freed blacks to Liberia.

Signed membership certificates from the Society are relatively rare. Only four have appeared in major auction records in the last 30 years. According to the Library of Congress, “Selling life memberships was a standard fund-raising practice of benevolent societies such as the American Colonization Society. At thirty dollars each, the memberships were a popular gift for ministers. In 1825, one of the agents who sold the certificates in New England estimated that ‘not less than $50,000 have in this way been poured into the treasury of the Lord.’”

This is a superb artifact of antebellum America. It marks the commitment of the “Father of the Constitution” to a solution to the race dilemma that would be castigated today, but which was moderate for its time.

Item #21876, $4,500

Illustrations of African Americans Freeing Themselves
by Moving Toward Union Lines

[EMANCIPATION PROCLAMATION], Newspaper. Harper’s Weekly, February 21, 1863. 16 pp., complete, disbound.

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General Tom Thumb and his bride grace the front page, but “The Effects of the Proclamation—Freed Negroes Coming Into Our Lines at Newbern, North Carolina” is the most significant illustration, occupying all of the fourth page. Also, “Departure of the Great Southern Expedition from Beaufort, North Carolina”; The Rebel Rams Engaging Our Blockading Fleet Off Charleston, South Carolina”; “Hearts and Hands, St. Valentine’s Day, 1863” is the romantic centerfold; “Ft.  Hindman, Arkansas”; “Iron Clad ‘Montauk’ Engaging the Rebel Fort M’Allister in the Ogeechee River.”

Item #H 2-21-1863, $150

The Emancipation Proclamation

[EMANCIPATION PROCLAMATION], Newspaper. Harper’s Weekly, January 17, 1863. 16 pp., complete, disbound.

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Two black teamsters duel on the front page; the text of the Emancipation Proclamation is printed on page 2; the execution of 38 Indian murderers at Mankato, Minnesota on page 4, Thomas Nast centerfold: “The War in the West, the War in the Border States.”

Also, illustrations: Winslow Homer, “A Shell in the Rebel Trenches”; a map of Mississippi; the “Reception of the Authorities of New Orleans by General Butler”; “General Bank’s Forces Landing at Baton Rouge, Louisiana”; “Brigadier General James Blunt”; “Brigadier General John M’Neil”; and a cartoon of a black man celebrating his emancipation by declaring himself no longer part of a farm’s livestock, but instead a man.

Item #H 1-17-1863, $250

“Black bellied Yankees” at The Battle of Fort Blakely

FREDERICK MORTIMER CRANDAL, Autograph Letter Signed, to Julian E. Bryant. “Up the Alabama,” April 25, 1865. 4 pp.

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A Union colonel, in command of the 48th Regiment of U.S. Colored Troops, writes to his friend, Col. Julian E. Bryant, of the 46th Regiment of U.S.C.T., recounting his regiment’s  part in the Battle of Fort Blakely. “We have had hard marching & hard fighting. A week in trenches & a successful charge. The ‘Black bellied Yankee’ made their mark … everyone gives us credit for doing well & I think we did excellently well.My loss was not very heavy, not over thirty all told. The other Regts in my Brigade suffered much more severely on the last charge, I being held in reserve & not being under fire but a few moments, they did gallantly…

Item #21813, $3,000

Horace Greeley on Publication of a Letter
by Abolitionist Cassius Clay

HORACE GREELEY, Autograph Letter Signed in full and with initials, to Ephraim George Squier [ed. of Hartford Whig Daily Journal], New York, March 26, 1844. 1 p.

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Noted abolitionist Cassius Clay wrote a letter that supported his slaveholding cousin Henry Clay’s run for the presidency while simultaneously attacking the foundations of slavery and its entrenchment in American political life. Horace Greeley, editor of the New York Tribune, writes to a Hartford newspaper editor asking him to take care that every Abolitionist reads this letter this week.”

Item #20729, $1,250

Discontent with Gilded Age Presidential Politics
and the Influence of “the negro vote”

WILLIAM BEACH LAWRENCE, Autograph Letter Signed, to Henry Anthony. Newport [R.I.], November 25, 1872. 4 pp.

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A detailed, despairing letter on campaign politics after the reelection of Ulysses S. Grant. Lawrence observes the humiliating defeat of Democrats and “Liberal Republicans” – who united behind Horace Greeley because of corruption in the Grant administration – in the Election of 1872. Lawrence laments the elevation of personality over merit and virtue in elections, an observation which resonates today. He also expresses concern about how newly enfranchised African Americans tended to vote.  “The negroes are naturally disposed to support those who are in power & whom they invest with superior dignity, on account of the possession of power. …the extraordinary denouement of the Cincinnati Convention has placed in bold relief the mode most unsatisfactory to an intelligent people, by which party conventions are constituted & which are readily made, the instruments of the vilest partisan combinations, carried on by men without character & without principle.

Item #20020, $950

The Amistad: an Arresting Engraving of the Revolt

[AMISTAD], Broadside Print, Death of Capt. Ferrer, the Captain of the Amistad, July, 1839. Original hand coloring. Originally appeared with an 1840 New Haven Pamphlet, A History of the Amistad Captives...Also An Account of the Trials.

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Item #21957, $15,000

“Our Colored Brother” Comes Up to Bat
with the 15th Amendment

[FIFTEENTH AMENDMENT], Print. “The Great National Game” from the graphic newspaper “Punchinello.” New York, N.Y., April 23, 1870. 16 pp. 9 x 13 in.

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This full-page engraving, “The Great National Game,” satirizes the recently-passed constitutional amendment granting African-American men the right to vote. The baseball motif, popularized in presidential politics, depicts a black man with stereotyped features holding a bat labeled “15th amendment” about to hit a ball stylized with the stars and stripes. The image caption heralds the arrival of African Americans to full political rights “Our colored brother: Hi Yah! Stan back dar; its dis chiles innins now.’ ”

Item #21739, $2,500
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