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Rare First Printing of the U.S. Constitution

[U.S. CONSTITUTION], Newspaper. The Independent Gazetteer, or, the Chronicle of Freedom. Philadelphia: Eleazer Oswald, September 19, 1787. 4 pp.

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We, the People of the United States…

This rare complete printing of the Constitution appeared on the first day it was publicly available, Wednesday, September 19, 1787. That same morning, the Constitution was published by four other papers, the Pennsylvania Packet, and Daily Advertiser, Pennsylvania Journal, Pennsylvania Gazette and Freeman’s Journal. The Independent Gazetteer is unique, in that it is the only one of the five first-day printings whose type was evidently not used to print another, stand-alone edition.

Item #21085.99, $450,000

President Adams Writes to an Old Friend, Reflecting on the Vicissitudes of High Office

JOHN ADAMS, Autograph Letter Signed, as President, to Tristram Dalton, March 30, 1798, Philadelphia, [Pa.] 2 pp., 8 x 9⅞ in.

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A wistful letter to a boyhood friend in which Adams mentions some guileful political colleagues and laments the “popular Passions of the times” and the general neglect of his political writings. “The Difficulty of leading or guiding Millions, by any means but Power and Establishments can be known only to those who have tried Experiments of it.

Item #20887.99, $40,000

Samuel Huntington Speech on Education, Liberty, and
“Acts of Insolvency … Repugnant to the Constitution”

SAMUEL HUNTINGTON, Autograph Speech Signed, October 11, 1792, [Conn.] 4 pp., 8 x 12¾ in.

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Governor Huntington, in a “state of the state”-style address, proposes modifying the taxation system and state militia, building new roads, and granting the Superior Court power to send a wider range of convicts to New Gate Prison. The speech also emphasizes the importance of education, for the continued strength and vitality of republican institutions, a recurring theme in his administration. “Let me observe...a firm belief that it is Impossible for a free people to preserve their liberties & privileges... unless useful knowledge is generally diffused among them, & the principles of Virtue & religion included …; and were these favours properly bestowed upon every rising generation, …all Arbitrary & Despotic Government would vanish away...

Item #20732.99, $8,500

General Edward Hand on Framing a New Constitution in Pennsylvania

EDWARD HAND, Autograph Letter Signed, to Jasper Yeates, February 4, 1790, Philadelphia, Pa. 2 pp., 6¾ x 8 in.

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Edward Hand apprises a Pennsylvania political ally of recent developments at the state convention for framing a new constitution. “Some time ago I forwarded you the plan of the Legislative Branch, & now send those for the Executive & Judicial, as agreed on by the Committee of the whole.

Item #20731.99, $3,500

George Washington’s Famous Letter to American Roman Catholics: A Message of Thankfulness, Patriotism, and Inclusiveness

[GEORGE WASHINGTON], Newspaper. The Providence Gazette and Country Journal, “Letter to the Roman Catholics in America,” ca. March 15, 1790, New York. Printed on the first page, April 10, 1790. Providence, Rhode Island: John Carter. 4 pp., 10⅛ x 15⅜ in.

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As mankind become more liberal, they will be more apt to allow, that all those who conduct themselves as worthy members of the community, are equally entitled to the protection of civil government. I hope ever to see America among the foremost nations in examples of justice and liberality.

Item #24985, $9,500

Significant Collection of the Worcester Magazine, Publisher Isaiah Thomas’ Protest against Advertising Tax. Filled with News of Shays’ Rebellion, and Federalist and Anti-Federalist Essays

ISAIAH THOMAS, Magazine. Worcester Magazine, 56 issues from September 1786 to March 1788. Worcester, MA: Isaiah Thomas. Each issue approximately 16 pp., 5½ x 9½ in.

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In 1785, the state of Massachusetts instituted a stamp tax on newspapers but soon replaced it with a tax on newspaper advertisements. To protest the tax on advertisements, Thomas suspended his weekly newspaper, Thomas’s Massachusetts Spy; or, the Worcester Gazette, at the end of March 1786. In April 1786, Thomas began publishing the Worcester Magazine, which was not subject to the tax, as a substitute for the Massachusetts Spy. Although a magazine in name, the Worcester Magazine continued the same kind of news as Thomas had printed in his newspaper. Its most valuable features were political pieces and “intelligence,” including essays for and against the new proposed U.S. Constitution. It also included a series entitled “The Worcester Speculator” (16 essays from September 1787 to March 1788), along with agricultural articles, medical notes, recipes, anecdotes, and other items.

Thomas continued publishing the Worcester Magazine for twenty-four months (approximately 104 issues) until Massachusetts repealed the advertising tax effective in March 1788, then Thomas resumed publishing the Massachusetts Spy on April 3, 1788. The Worcester Magazine includes extensive coverage of the Massachusetts Ratifying Convention to consider the proposed federal Constitution, which met from January 9 to February 6, 1788.

Ownership signatures of “Coln E. Crafts” on some issues indicate they belonged to Ebenezer Crafts (1740-1810). Crafts was born in Connecticut and graduated from Yale College in 1759. He purchased a farm and built a tavern in Sturbridge, Massachusetts. During the Revolutionary War, he commanded a company of cavalry as captain. From 1785 to 1791, Crafts led a regiment of cavalry from Worcester County, Massachusetts, and he helped suppress Shays’ Rebellion in 1786-1787. He was one of the founders of Leicester Academy in Leicester, Massachusetts, and later moved to northern Vermont, where he helped found Craftsbury, which was named after him.

Item #24829, $8,500

George Washington’s Second Inaugural Address

GEORGE WASHINGTON, Newspaper. Gazette of the United States, March 9, 1793. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: John Fenno. 4 pp., 9½ x 14¾ in.

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Previous to the execution of any official act of the President the Constitution requires an oath of office. This oath I am now about to take, and in your presence—that if it shall be found, during my administration of the Government, I have in any instance violated willingly, or knowingly, the injunctions thereof, I may (besides incurring constitutional punishment) be subject to the upbraidings of all, who are now witnesses of the present solemn ceremony.

Although Washington wanted to retire after a single term, the members of his cabinet, especially rivals Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton, were convinced that he was essential to lead the nation through the next four years. After being again unanimously selected by the Electoral College, Washington delivered his second inaugural address in the Senate Chamber of Congress Hall in Philadelphia. At 135 words, it is the shortest inaugural address ever.

Item #30027.12, $1,800

James Madison’s First Inaugural Address, Asserting Neutral Rights in Prelude to the War of 1812

JAMES MADISON, Newspaper. The Repertory, March 14, 1809. Boston, Massachusetts: John & Andrew W. Park. 4 pp., 13¼ x 20¼ in.

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Indulging no passions which trespass on the rights or the repose of other nations, it has been the true glory of the United States to cultivate peace by observing justice, and to entitle themselves to the respect of the nations at war by fulfilling their neutral obligations with the most scrupulous impartiality.

When President Thomas Jefferson followed George Washington’s example and declined to seek a third term, he selected James Madison as his successor. Reflecting challenges within his own party, Madison won the Presidency over fellow Democratic-Republican DeWitt Clinton, who was endorsed by some state Federalist parties, by a narrow margin.

Item #30001.61, $795

Andrew Jackson’s First Inaugural Address in Maryland Newspaper

ANDREW JACKSON, Newspaper. Niles’ Weekly Register, March 7, 1829. Baltimore, Maryland: Hezekiah Niles & Son. 16 pp. (17-32), 6¼ x 9⅞ in.

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As long as our Government is administered for the good of the people, and is regulated by their will; as long as it secures to us the rights of person and of property, liberty of conscience and of the press, it will be worth defending....

Andrew Jackson’s election in 1828 over incumbent John Quincy Adams marked an end to the “Era of Good Feelings,” as Jackson’s supporters became the Democratic Party, while those who supported Adams became the National Republicans. In March 1829, Jackson became the first president to take the oath of office on the East Portico of the U.S. Capitol. His inaugural address promised to respect the rights of states and the constitutional limits on the presidency.

Item #30001.60, $245

“John Bull and the Baltimoreans” Lampooning British Defeat at Fort McHenry in Baltimore Following their Earlier Success at Alexandria

[WAR OF 1812]. WILLIAM CHARLES, Print. John Bull and the Baltimoreans. Satirical engraved aquatint cartoon. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania [October, 1814]. 1 p., 12½ x 9 in. Frame: 18¾ x 15 in.

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Mercy! mercy on me. What fellows those Baltimoreans are. After the example of the Alexandrians I thought I had nothing to do but enter the Town and carry off the Booty. And here is nothing but Defeat and Disgrace!!

A masterpiece of design and composition.

Item #25448, $3,400

Pownall’s New Map of North America, 1794

THOMAS POWNALL, Map. A New Map of North America with the West India Islands, divided according to the Preliminary Articles of Peace, Signed at Versailles, 20, Jan 1783, wherein are particularly Distinguished The United States, and the Several Provinces, Governments &ca which Compose the British Dominions, Laid down according to the Latest Surveys, and Corrected from the Original Materials of Goverr. Pownall, Membr. of Parlimt. London: Laurie and Whittle, 12th May, 1794.

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Item #23539, $1,750

John Marshall’s Supreme Court Decides Osborn et al. v. The Bank of the United States, landmark 11th Amendment Case

[JOHN MARSHALL], Newspaper. Daily National Intelligencer, March 22, 1824. Washington, DC: Gales & Seaton. Opinion for the Supreme Court in Osborn et al. v. The Bank of the United States fills pages 3 and 4. 4 pp.

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[T]he Eleventh Amendment, which restrains the jurisdiction granted by the Constitution over suits against States, is, of necessity, limited to those suits in which a State is a party on the record.

Ohio levied taxes on each branch of the U.S. Bank in the state. The Court had already ruled in McCulloch v. Maryland that such taxes were unconstitutional, but Ohio persisted in enforcing the tax. Ralph Osborn, the State Auditor, seized funds from the Bank. The circuit court ordered Osborn and his colleagues to repay the amount seized. The question is Osborn was, did the federal circuit court’s assertion of jurisdiction violate the Eleventh Amendment? In a 6-to-1 decision, the Court upheld the circuit and ruled that the Ohio law was “repugnant to the Constitution.” Osborn and his colleagues were thus “incontestably liable for the full amount of the money taken out of the bank.”

This issue includes a first printing of the landmark Supreme Court decision in the case of Osborn et al. v. The Bank of the United States. The Court announced its decision on Friday, March 19, 1824, and this printing appeared on Monday, March 22.

Item #24689, $1,950

59 Western Pennsylvania Settlers Petition the Governor to Supplement Frontier Defense

[PENNSYLVANIA], “To his Excellency Thomas Mifflin Governor of the State of Pennsylvania. The petition of a Number of the Inhabitants on the Fronteers of Westmoreland County Humbly Sheweth…” Folio manuscript broadside, docketed on verso, entirely handwritten in ink, signed by 58 petitioners (mostly individually, though it appears that a few small groups may have one signer writing his own name and then that of a couple additional people who perhaps could not sign on their own), seeking the commission of three officers, Archibald McGuire, George Shrum and Matthew Dill, of an additional company for the protection of the Westmoreland County frontier. Ca. 1790-91.

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This petition, signed by 58 Scotch-Irish settlers of the western frontier of Pennsylvania, must have been appreciated by Governor Mifflin, as it showed the settlers’ lack of confidence in the ability of the federal government to protect the frontier. Following the defeat of Harmar’s expedition in 1790, President Washington appointed Arthur St. Clair, Mifflin’s political rival and immediate predecessor, to build a string of forts along the western frontier. According to the petitioners, the positioning of these forts left much to be desired.

Item #25609, $5,500

Newspaper Belonging to John Quincy Adams Reports Transfer of the Floridas to the U.S.

[JOHN QUINCY ADAMS], Newspaper. Western Monitor, August 7, 1821. Lexington, Kentucky: William Gibbes Hunt. Issue owned by John Quincy Adams; Report on Adams-Onís Treaty of 1819. 4 pp, 14½ x 20½ in.

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This issue contains an inside page report of the U.S. taking possession of Florida from Spain under the terms of the Adams-Onís Treaty of 1819. This issue was owned by, delivered to, and read by John Quincy Adams (the “Adams” in the Adams-Onís Treaty) when Adams was the Secretary of State in the James Monroe administration. “Hon. John Q. Adams” is written in contemporary brown iron gall ink in the top blank margin on the front page, indicating that this issued was delivered to Adams while he was serving as Secretary of State.

Item #23822, $3,500

Many of the leading Jews of Newport and New York sign 1818 land sale from estate of Benjamin Seixas to Oliver Hazard Perry

[EARLY AMERICAN JUDAICA]. NAPHTALI PHILLIPS, Manuscript Document Signed, 1p, folio, 14½ x 21½ in., November 30, 1818.

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Elaborate receipt for Newport, Rhode Island sale of land from estate of Benjamin Seixas (1747-1817) signed by numerous members of his family and members of the Spanish-Portuguese Jewish Congregation who were heirs to the property, known now as the Buliod-Perry House at 29 Touro Street, to Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry, the great naval hero of the Battle of Lake Erie in 1813.

Item #25466, $18,000

Confederation Congress sends proposed Constitution to the states for ratification

[U.S. CONSTITUTION], Newspaper. The Pennsylvania Packet, and Daily Advertiser. October 1, 1787 (No. 2700), Philadelphia: John Dunlap and David C. Claypoole, including the September 28 resolution of the Confederation Congress to send to the states for ratification the recently completed U. S. Constitution. 4 pp., 12 x 18¾ in.

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Item #24135.99, $6,500

Rare document of Newport Jewish leader Moses Seixas – who wrote address that elicited George Washington’s most famous statement on religious freedom and citizenship

MOSES SEIXAS, Manuscript Document Signed, to William Channing, December 18, 1788. Receipt for carpeting. 1 p., 7¼ x 4 in.

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Seixas’ 1790 letter of welcome elicited the first president’s most compelling statement on religious liberty, “to bigotry no sanction.” In this 1788 receipt, Seixas signs a receipt documenting payment for carpet by William Channing, the state’s new attorney general.

Item #25418, $20,000

Prospectus of Society for Establishing Useful Manufactures

[ALEXANDER HAMILTON], Newspaper. Gazette of the United States, September 10, 1791. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: John Fenno. 4 pp., 10 x 16 in. The prospectus is printed on the front page in three columns.

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Contrasting with the agrarian view of many Virginia founding fathers, New Yorker Alexander Hamilton saw an industrial future for the United States. After nearly two years of study and with the aid of Assistant Secretary Tench Coxe, Secretary of the Treasury Hamilton compiled his famed Report on Manufactures at the request of Congress. With the Society for Establishing Useful Manufactures, Coxe and Hamilton advocate creating the nation’s first public-private partnership to develop the area around the Great Falls of the Passaic River, using the cataract for power.

Item #30014.06, $2,500

Secretary of State Pickering certifies five Acts of Congress relating to the Whiskey Rebellion, debtor’s prison, the estate of General Nathanael Greene, etc.

TIMOTHY PICKERING, Document Signed, five acts passed by the first session of the Fourth Congress, ca. June 1796, [Philadelphia]. 4 pp., 8 x 13½ in. Each act bears printed signatures of President George Washington, Speaker of the House Jonathan Dayton, and President of the Senate, pro tempore, Samuel Livermore. Secretary of State Timothy Pickering certifies with his signature that five acts of Congress are “Deposited among the Rolls, in the office of the department of State.”

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The printed acts include: An Act to regulate the compensation of Clerks, May 30, 1796; An Act for the relief of persons imprisoned for debt, May 28, 1796; An Act Providing relief to the owners of stills with the United States, for a limited time, in certain cases, June 1, 1796;

An Act Making an appropriation to satisfy certain demands attending the late insurrection; and to increase the compensation to jurors and witnesses in the courts of the United States, June 1, 1796; and An Act To indemnify the estate of the late Major General Nathanael Greene, for a certain bond entered into by him, during the late war, June 1, 1796.

Item #25081, $6,500

Relieving Persons in Debtors Prison

EDMUND RANDOLPH, Document Signed as Secretary of State. An Act to continue in force the act for the relief of persons imprisoned for Debt and An Act to alter the time for the next annual meeting of Congress, May 30, 1794. Philadelphia: Childs and Swaine. Signed in type by George Washington as President, John Adams as Vice President, and Frederick Muhlenberg as Speaker of the House. 1 p., 8¼ x 13½ in.

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Item #24428.04, $3,750
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