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While Running for the Democratic Presidential Nomination, Senator Barack Obama on Transparency and Limiting the Power of Special Interests

BARACK OBAMA, Typed Manuscript with autograph corrections. [Chicago, Ill., ca. May 21, 2007]. 2 pp, 8 ½ x 11 in. With 112 handwritten words in Obama’s red ink and pencil and 3 holes punched at left edge of each sheet. Published on the “Commentary” page of the Chicago Tribune, May 21, 2007.

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“When it comes to reforming Washington … Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis had the right idea. Sixty years ago he said, ‘Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants; electric light the most efficient policeman.’ Brandeis was a progressive responding to the excesses of the Gilded Age. Nearly a century later, we find Washington in need of a lot of sunlight and disinfectant….

I’m not perfect. In my current pres. campaign, I shall have to raise money, and still have relationships w/lobbyists. But at least people will know who those relationships are...”

Over a year before he became the Democratic candidate for President, Senator Barack Obama addressed the issue of lobbyists, special interest groups, and campaign financing.  Obama’s message was published in the Chicago Tribune on May 21, 2007.  Obama’s careful edits, with over 100 words and many strike-outs in his hand, likely came too late for the editorial page deadline of this major metropolitan newspaper. Most of the text Obama wished to be struck remained, and several phrases he did not strike through (noted below in parentheses) were removed, possibly by the editorial page editor.

Item #22930, $7,500

Martin Luther King, Jr. Autograph Manuscript Page for His First Book, Stride Towards Freedom

MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR, Autograph Manuscript, a page from a late draft of Chapter 11 of his book, Stride Toward Freedom. Montgomery, n.d. [circa 1957]. The entire text, including corrections, is King’s hand. 1p., 8½ x 11 in.

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“Virtually every national or international union has clear policies of nondiscrimination ... But in spite of this some unions, governed by the racist ethos, have contributed to the degraded economic status of the Negroes…”

Item #23300.03, $17,500

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

Blanche Bruce, The First Full-term African American U.S. Senator Signs a Deed

BLANCHE BRUCE, Document Signed. Land deed. Washington, D.C. September 30, 1890. Signature panel 8¼ x 3½ in., overall dimensions 8¼ x 14 in.

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Blanche Bruce was the first full-term African American to serve in the U.S. Senate, 1875-1881. He was then appointed by President James Garfield as Register of the U.S. Treasury in 1881. He later served as the Washington, D.C. Recorder of Deeds (a position earlier held by Frederick Douglass), 1890-1893 and again as Register of the Treasury from 1897 until his death in 1898.

Item #22945.16, $95

Responding to the U.S. Supreme Court’s Invalidation of Anti-Discrimination Laws, a New Jersey Congressman Unsuccessfully Attempts to Ensure Civil Rights at the Start of the Jim Crow Era

[CIVIL RIGHTS]. JOHN HILL, Broadside. Assembly No 13., State of New Jersey. An Act to Prevent Discrimination against Any Person on Account of his Race, Creed or Color. Large folio sheet, with numbered lines, printed for the use of the legislature. [New Jersey], Introduced January 9, 1883.

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“Be it enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey, That no person shall be denied the full and equal enjoyment of the accommodations, advantages, facilities and privileges of all hotels, inns, taverns, restaurants, public conveyances on land or water, theatres and places of public resort or amusement, because of race, creed or color…”

Item #24742, $1,250

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

Frederick Douglass Signed Deed

FREDERICK DOUGLASS, Document Signed as recorder of deeds, Washington, D.C., 1881-1886. Approx. 3½ x 8½” folded. Sample Frame pictured.

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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 #20409, $895

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

Frederick Douglass Encourages Writing on John Brown

FREDERICK DOUGLASS, Autograph Letter Signed to unknown correspondent. Washington, D.C., November 28, [no year]. 1 p.

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Douglass suggests to the author of a work on John Brown, the abolitionist crusader who attempted to incite a slave rebellion in Virginia in 1859, that she attempt to have her lines published in a popular magazine. “I know of no better way to have the value of your lines on John Brown tested and made available than by offering them for publication …”

Item #21439.03, $10,500

“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

Fisk University Co-Founder John Ogden Asks Merriam Publishers if the Gift of a Pictorial Dictionary Was Meant for Him or the University

JOHN OGDEN, Autograph Letter Signed, to George and Charles Merriam. Nashville, Tenn., Oct. 18, 1869. 1 p., 8½ x 5¼ in. On Fisk University letterhead.

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In this brief note, Ogden thanks the famous Springfield, Massachusetts dictionary publishers the Merriams for a gift of a copy of their Pictorial Dictionary. Ogden references one “Mr. Gamble” as having stated that the volume was intended as a personal gift, but notes that the dictionary has “the name of our institution inscribed upon, or rather in it, from which I infer you intended it for the institution.” He then asks the Merriams to “decide the quarrel.”

Item #24172.01-.02, $550

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

Democratic Broadside Shows
the Limitations of Reconstruction

[RECONSTRUCTION; RACISM], Broadside. “Democratic National Union - No Negro Suffrage” [Ohio, 1866], 3” x 11”, 1 p.

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Typical of the populist racism characterizing Democratic Party politics immediately after the Civil War, this party ticket contains the names of local candidates for office, including Brevet Brigadier General Benjamin Lefevre. A native Ohioan, Lefevre served throughout the war, entering politics when peace was declared, but only after breaking an engagement with a Southern belle. He served as a congressman from Ohio throughout reconstruction.

Item #20537, $360

“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

‘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 Success of Black Troops At Petersburg, Virginia, Under Butler

[CIVIL WAR], Broadside. New England Loyal Publication Society No. 200. Boston, Mass., June 27, 1864. 1 p., 9 x 10¾ in.

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“They grinned and pushed on, and with a yell that told the southern chivalry their doom, [they] rolled irresistibly over and into the work.”

Item #23626, $750

“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

Ulysses S. Grant Follows Up on African American Troops’ First Battle at Milliken’s Bend: “Drive the enemy from Richmond. Reinforce Mower all you can and send him to do it.”

ULYSSES S. GRANT, Autograph Note Signed, to Elias S. Dennis, June 13, 1863, 1 p. 7¾ x 2½ in.

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Grant was determined to take Vicksburg, and retaking the surrounding countryside in Mississippi and across the river in Louisiana were critical parts of his plan. Here, he moves around troops to further his design after an important showing by the USCT a few days earlier. In his Memoirs, Grant observed that “This was the first important engagement of the war in which colored troops were under fire,” and he praised their actions.

Item #24508, $4,000

Col. Isaac Shepard Authorizes Recruitment
of 1st Mississippi Regt. African Descent (Former Slaves)

ISAAC SHEPHARD, Autograph Manuscript Signed. Milliken’s Bend, Louisiana, May 25, 1863. 1 p.

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Special order of the colonel commanding the African Brigade authorizing new recruiting efforts in Louisiana for Bryant’s 1st Mississippi Regt. of African Descent. “Major J. E. Bryant of the 1st Reg Miss. Infantry of African descent, is hereby ordered to proceed to Grand Gulf, Haines’ Bluff, or any other locality in front where he may deem it prudent, to recruit for his Regiment…”. Shepard allows eight (white) soldiers from Sherman’s Corps to be enlisted as Lieutenants.

Item #21810, $1,750

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
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