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Emma Lazarus, Author of the Statue of Liberty Welcoming Poem “The New Colossus,” Writes About Publication of Her Poems

EMMA LAZARUS, Autograph Letter Signed, to [Henry C. Bowen], Editor, Independent, March 7, 1877, New York, NY. 1 p., 5 x 8 in.

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Emma Lazarus offers new poems to The Independent, a weekly Congregational magazine published in New York City. She also inquires about her poem on Beethoven, which the magazine had already accepted, and eventually published in July 1877.

In 1883, she wrote the sonnet “The New Colossus” to help raise money for the construction of a pedestal for the Statue of Liberty. Ultimately, in 1903, the poem was cast into a bronze plaque mounted inside the pedestal’s lower level. 

Rarity
Lazarus's letters are seldom seen on the market, in part due to her premature death in 1887, at age 38. In 1919, New York’s renowned Anderson Galleries noted, “The mss. of this author...are practically unobtainable. This is the first Emma Lazarus ms. essay ever offered at auction....” In his classic 1961 book on autographs, Charles Hamilton observed, “Not many autographs are so desirable as that of Emma Lazarus.... Her autograph is extremely rare.” The few extant Lazarus autographs to reach the market mostly did so in the twentieth century, between 1910 and 1980. Our letter is the first Lazarus autograph on the market since the 2002 sale at R.M. Smythe of an autograph fair copy signed of “The New Colossus.”

Item #27695, $12,000

Abraham Lincoln Signed Check to “William Johnson (Colored)”

ABRAHAM LINCOLN, Partially Printed Document Signed, Riggs & Co. Bank check, October 27, 1862, Washington, D.C. 1 p., 7½ x 2¾ in. Filled out and signed by Lincoln as president, payable to “William Johnson (Colored)” for $5.

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Johnson accompanied Lincoln from Springfield to Washington, D.C., served as the President’s valet, and traveled with him to Antietam (25 days before this check) and a year later to Gettysburg.

Item #27740, $180,000

President John Quincy Adams’ Remarks & Toast Commemorating William Penn’s Landing

JOHN QUINCY ADAMS, Autograph Manuscript, Remarks and Toast to Penn Society, October 25, 1825, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. 1 pp., 8 x 9¼ in.

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The Land of William Penn, and his ‘Great Town,’ the City of brotherly Love.”

In these brief remarks at Masonic Hall in Philadelphia in October 1825, President Adams proposed the above toast at the second annual meeting of the Penn Society and the 143rd anniversary of William Penn’s landing in America.

Item #27469, $6,800

Civil War “The Union Forever” Flag Made by Philadelphia Sailmaker, ca. 1861

[U.S. FLAG - CIVIL WAR], Large (204 x 150 in.) 34-Star Flag of the United States with an applied fabric piece across approximately three-quarters of its width, with printed motto, “The Union Forever.” Philadelphia: J. Chase, ca. 1861.

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According to museum records, original owner James W. Pancoast was a farmer in Accomack County on the Eastern Shore of Virginia. He flew this flag at the outbreak of the Civil War, but was compelled to take it down, and fled back to the North.

The flag’s date is based on the 29 months that the United States officially consisted of 34 states. Kansas was admitted to the Union on as the 34th state on January 29, 1861. West Virginia (50 trans-Allegheny counties that had been part of Virginia) were admitted as the 35th state on June 20, 1863.

“The Union Forever” was a common slogan in the North on the eve of and during the Civil War. It was the theme of poems, songs, and campaign slogans, and was printed on envelopes, campaign and recruiting broadsides, ballots, textiles, and other materials.

Item #26743, $19,000

George Washington Signed Military Commission, Preparing for a Decisive Victory Against Native Americans and the British in the Midwest

GEORGE WASHINGTON, Document Signed, Philadelphia, Pa., March 19, 1793, appointing William Winston as Captain of Light Dragoons. Co-signed by Henry Knox, Secretary of War, and John Stagg, Chief Clerk of the War Department. Imprint at bottom, “Drawn and Engrav’d by Thackara and Vallance, Philada.” With paper seal of the United States. 1 p., 16 x 20 in., on vellum. Framed with rag mats and UV-filtered plexiglass to 29 x 34¼ in.

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Two weeks after his second inauguration, President George Washington appoints William Winston as Captain of Light Dragoons. By the time Winston joined the army in the Northwest Territory, he had been promoted to command the entire cavalry of the new Legion of the United States. In that position, he fought at the Battle of Fallen Timbers, the decisive U.S. victory against the Native American confederation and their British allies in that area.

George Washington-signed military commissions are rare on the market, and we don’t recall ever seeing a more attractive example.

Item #20626.99, $55,000

George Washington’s First Presidential Thanksgiving Proclamation

[GEORGE WASHINGTON], Gazette of the United States. New York, N.Y., October 7, 1789. 4 pp., In addition to the Thanksgiving Proclamation on page one, this issue also includes: a printing of the Treaty of Fort Harmar between the United States and the Wyandot, Delaware, Ottawa, Chippewa, Pattawatima, and Sac Indian nations (p. 1, col. 2 to p. 2, col. 2). A report from London about an “African Genius” (p. 2, col. 2). And a report on the proceedings of Congress, including an act to suspend part of the Tonnage Duties Act (p. 4 col. 3). 9½ x 14¾ in. Overall fine. Archivally framed.

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“to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.... for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness... for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed; and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge”

On September 28, 1789, just before the closing of the First Federal Congress, the Senate added its assent to a House resolution requesting that George Washington be asked to call for a day of public thanksgiving and prayer. Later that day, Congress passed the Bill of Rights to be sent to the states for their ratification, and on the next day the first session of the first Federal Congress was adjourned. On Saturday, October 3, Washington issued America’s first presidential Thanksgiving Proclamation. The Gazette printed it in full on the first page of this, their next edition, Wednesday October 7th.

Item #23257.99, $45,000

Abraham Lincoln and Ulysses S. Grant Portraits by William E. Marshall

[ABRAHAM LINCOLN; ULYSSES S. GRANT], William E. Marshall, Engraved Prints: “Abraham Lincoln,” New York, 1866, 20 x 25⅝ in. framed to 28½ x 35 in. And “Gen. U. S. Grant,” New York, 1868, 17⅛ x 22½ in., framed to 26 x 31¼ in. Ex Louise Taper Collection.

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Considered the “finest line-engraving” of Lincoln, Marshall created this in 1866 from his painting of the martyred President. In November 1866, Ticknor and Fields of Boston announced that they would publish Marshall’s engraving on a subscription basis.

Item #26757, SOLD — please inquire about other items

Acquittal of Printer John Peter Zenger in Colonial New York Establishes Foundation for American Freedom of the Press

[JOHN PETER ZENGER], The Trial of John Peter Zenger, Of New-York, Printer: Who was charged with having printed and published a Libel against the Government; and acquitted. With a Narrative of his Case. To which is now added, being never printed before, The Trial of Mr. William Owen, Bookseller, near Temple-Bar, Who was also Charged with the Publication of a Libel against the Government; of which he was honourably acquitted by a Jury of Free-born Englishmen, Citizens of London, 1st ed. London: John Almon, 1765. Three-quarter olive calf, red morocco spine label, stamped in blind and in gilt, over marbled paper-covered boards; some sunning to leather; all edges trimmed. 60 pp., 5 x 8.25 in.

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It is not the cause of a poor printer...it is the cause of liberty.

This volume, printed in London three decades after John Peter Zenger’s trial, illustrates the continuing relevance of his acquittal to the freedom of the press. The volume also includes the story of William Owen, a London bookseller, who had been prosecuted for libel at the request of the House of Commons in 1752. Like Zenger, Owen was also acquitted by a jury.

John Almon, a publisher and bookseller known for his commitment to the freedom of the press, printed the volume as part of his challenge to governmental censorship of the press. In the same year that Almon published this pamphlet, the attorney general prosecuted him for the publication of a pamphlet entitled Juries and Libels, but the prosecution failed.

Item #27745, $3,500

Thomas Paine Encourages Americans in the Wake of Brandywine Defeat in Newspaper of One of the First Women Publishers

[THOMAS PAINE; REVOLUTIONARY WAR], The Connecticut Courant and Hartford Weekly Intelligencer, September 22, 1777. Hartford: Hannah Watson. 4 pp., 10 x 16½ in.

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Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom, must, like men, undergo the fatigues of supporting it.” (p2/c2)

We fight not to enslave, but to set a country free, and to make room upon the earth for honest men to live in.” (p3/c1)

This first issue of The Connecticut Courant and Hartford Weekly Intelligencer publishedafter the death of editor and publisher Ebenezer Watson at age 33 features No. 4 of Thomas Paine’s The American Crisis, a series of sixteen pamphlets, published over the pseudonym “Common Sense.” Paine was serving as a volunteer aide-de-camp to General Nathanael Greene and sent dispatches to Philadelphia newspapers about events in the field. Paine wrote sixteen pamphlets in the series, which he entitled The American Crisis, issued in thirteen numbered pamphlets and three additional unnumbered ones between December 1776 and 1783. His first number began with the famous sentence, “These are the times that try men’s souls.”

Item #27406, SOLD — please inquire about other items

President Washington Approves Establishment of Mint and Issues First Veto

[GEORGE WASHINGTON], Columbian Centinel, April 21, 1792. Boston, MA. 4 pp, 10.5 x 16.75 in.

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This newspaper includes the full text of “An Act establishing a Mint and regulating the Coins of the United States” of April 2, 1792, signed in print by Speaker of the House Jonathan Trumbull, Vice President John Adams, President George Washington, and Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson. The bill established a mint, specified its officers, and reaffirmed the Congress of the Confederation’s adoption of decimal currency in 1785 (p1/c1-p2/c1). President Washington appointed David Rittenhouse of Pennsylvania as the first director of the mint on April 13, 1792.

It also includes President George Washington’s first veto message, in which he vetoed “An Act for an Apportionment of Representatives among the Several States, according to the First Enumeration” on April 5, 1792 (p3/c1). The bill introduced a new plan for dividing seats in the House of Representatives that would have increased the number of seats held by northern states. After consulting with his divided cabinet, Washington decided that the plan was unconstitutional because the Constitution provided “that the number of Representatives shall not exceed one for every 30,000; which restriction is, by the context, and by fair and obvious construction, to be applied to the separate and respective numbers of the States; and the bill has allotted to eight of the States more than one for 30,000” (p3/c1). Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson had suggested that apportionment be derived from arithmetical calculations.

When Washington’s veto arrived, Congress considered overriding the veto by a two-thirds vote, but only 28 representatives still favored the bill, while 33 opposed it (p3/c1). Ultimately, they threw out the bill and passed a new one that apportioned representatives at “the ratio of one for every thirty-three thousand persons in the respective States.”

Item #26258.01, $3,250

A Stone/Force Printing of the Declaration of Independence

DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE, Copperplate engraving printed on thin wove paper. Imprint at bottom left, “W. J. STONE SC WASHn” [William J. Stone, Washington, D.C. ca. 1833]. Printed for Peter Force’s American Archives, Series V, Vol I. Approx. 24¾ x 29½ in., framed to 32½ x 37½ in.

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The Stone/Force printings are the best representation of the Declaration as it was when members of the Continental Congress put their lives on the line to sign it in August of 1776. 

Item #27694, ON HOLD

Connecticut Governor’s Proclamation Calling for a Day of Thanksgiving to Commemorate the Defeat of the French in Canada, and the Taking of Quebec

THOMAS FITCH, By the Honourable Thomas Fitch Esq; Governor ... of Connecticut ... A Proclamation for a Public Thanksgiving ... Thursday the sixth day of March next .... New Haven: by James Parker & Company, February 21, 1760. 12 x 14.5 inches.

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Broadside with a woodcut vignette of royal British arms at the top and woodcut initial. Some loss to upper right corner, a few nicks to the left and right margins. Penned inscription on the back.

Reference: Evans 8568; ESTC W34681 (locating only 2 copies)

Item #26605, $6,500

Ben-Gurion to Moshe Sharett on Sharett’s Resignation as Foreign Minister

DAVID BEN-GURION, Autograph Letter Signed, to Moshe Sharett, July 28, 1956, Mount Carmel, Israel. 3 pp., 4½ x 8¼ in.

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I came to recognize that your service as Foreign Minister was not for the good of the country, although I did not cease to value your talents and dedication....

Item #24516, $3,600

Brown University Holds First Commencement in 1769 - as Rhode Island College

[BROWN UNIVERSITY], Rhode Island College, Broadside, Commencement Exercises, September 7, 1769, Warren, Rhode Island. In Latin.

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Chartered in 1764, Rhode Island College - now Brown University - began in Warren, Rhode Island. The college’s first commencement, held on September 7, 1769, was the only one in Warren. In 1770, the college moved to Providence, and in 1804, the name was changed to Brown University.

This broadside, issued under the authority of the first chancellor, Stephen Hopkins, lists the seven members of the college’s first graduating class: Joseph Belton, Joseph Eaton, William Rogers, Richard Stites, Charles Thompson, James Mitchell Varnum, and William Williams.

The commencement was held at the Baptist Church in Warren. The event’s principal feature was a “Disputatio forensica,” or forensic debate, on the thesis “The Americans, in their present Circumstances, cannot, consistent with good Policy, affect to become an independent State.” According to reporting in The Newport MercurySeptember 11, 1769, James Mitchell Varnum (the future Continental Army General) defended the thesis “by cogent arguments,” and William Williams opposed it “subtilely, but delicately.” The president and graduating students made their opinion evident in their apparel; all were dressed in American manufactures. William Rogers also delivered an oration on benevolence, and Richard Stites gave an oration in Latin on the advantages of liberty and learning. Charles Thompson delivered the valedictory oration.

Item #27380.02, $8,500

Two months Before Declaring Israel’s Independence, Ben-Gurion Counters American Backpedaling and Pushes to Start the Temporary Government

DAVID BEN-GURION, Autograph Letter Signed, “D. Ben-Gurion” to Rabbi Yehuda Leib Fishman. March 23, 1948, [Israel]. In Hebrew, 1 P., on The Jewish Agency for Palestine stationary. 8.5 x 11 in.

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“As I was deprived of the possibility of taking part in the meetings of the Executive, I ask to be allowed to appoint a member to be the head of Defence … paragraph ‘C’ should be changed, by way of adding a demand for an immediate agreement that a temporary Government be formulated…”

Item #24454, $10,500

The Only Known Document in Hamilton’s Hand on a Legal Case Involving James Reynolds

ALEXANDER HAMILTON, Autograph Manuscript, c. November 1796, Notes regarding Margaret Currie, administratrix of David Currie v. James Reynolds (scire facias), 2 pp.

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Also see the Alexander Hamilton Collection: The Story of the Revolution & Founding.

There was also a prior Judgment against David Reynolds & his son James … but did not return the Execution nor sell till Wednesday the 2d of November, when James Reynolds about 6 Months ago came forward to claim these lands in virtue of a deed from his father prior to Sands mortgage.

In July 1783, James Reynolds married Maria Lewis. From mid-1791 to mid-1792, Alexander Hamilton and Maria Reynolds had an affair. In November 1792, James Reynolds was imprisoned for forgery in a scheme to purchase the pensions and pay claims of Revolutionary War soldiers. Ironically, in May 1793, Maria (represented by Aaron Burr) filed for divorce from James on the grounds of adultery; the court granted the divorce two years later. Here, after Hamilton’s affair was known to James Monroe and very few others, Hamilton was somehow involved in a legal case having to do with James Reynolds just months before news of the scandal exploded.

Item #24624, $30,000

The Second Naturalization Act - Establishing Laws for Citizenship

EDMUND RANDOLPH, Document Signed as Secretary of State. An act to establish an uniform rule of naturalization; and to repeal the act heretofore passed. January 29, 1795. Philadelphia: Francis Childs. Signed in type by George Washington as President, John Adams as Vice President, and Frederick Augustus Muhlenberg as Speaker of the House of Representatives. 2 pp., 8¼ x 13½ in.

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Also see the Alexander Hamilton Collection: The Story of the Revolution & Founding.

The Constitution gave Congress the right to determine the process by which foreign-born residents could obtain citizenship, and a 1790 Act of the First Congress laid out the process. This 1795 revision required all persons who wished to become naturalized citizens to go to a court to declare their intention at least three years prior to formal application. They would have to take an oath of allegiance, be a person of good moral character, agree to support the Constitution, and renounce any former sovereign and hereditary titles.

any alien, being a free white person, may be admitted to become a citizen of the United States, or any of them, on the following conditions, and not otherwise....

By limiting naturalization to “free white” persons, the early acts effectively prevented any people of color or indentured servants from gaining citizenship. Over the next century and a half, these restrictions were at first reinforced (for instance in the notorious Naturalization Act of 1798, part of the Alien and Sedition Acts, which extended the required residency period to fourteen years), but then eventually eliminated by subsequent revisions.

Item #24428.26, $7,500

For Washington, Hamilton Confirms Receipt of Hessian Troop Movement Intelligence

ALEXANDER HAMILTON, Autograph Letter Signed, on behalf of General George Washington, to Colonel Charles Stewart, Commissary General of Issues, October 24, 1777, Headquarters [Whitpain Township, Pa]. 1p. with integral address leaf note, “Let the Bearer pass. Tim. Pickering Adjt. Genl.,” 13 x 8¼ in. (open).

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Also see the Alexander Hamilton Collection: The Story of the Revolution & Founding.

Following the punishing battles at Paoli and Germantown, which left Philadelphia vulnerable to British control for the winter, the Continental Army under Washington spent two weeks recovering at Whitpain, Pennsylvania.

Alexander Hamilton was then Washington’s chief staff aide, with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel, a position he would hold for four years. He played a crucial role in handling much of the General’s correspondence with Congress, state governors, and other military officers.

Item #24375, $35,000

Thomas Jefferson Signed Act of Congress Authorizing Copper Coinage (the First Legal Tender Produced by U.S. Government)

THOMAS JEFFERSON, Printed Document Signed, as Secretary of State, “An Act to provide for a copper coinage,” May 8, 1792, Philadelphia. 1 p., 9⅝ x 15 in.

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That the director of the mint…purchase a quantity of copper...and…cause the copper...to be coined at the mint into cents and half cents...thence to issue into circulation….

That after the expiration of six calendar months from the time when there shall have been paid into the treasury by the said director, in cents and half cents, a sum not less than fifty thousand dollars … no copper coins or pieces whatsoever, except the said cents and half cents, shall pass current as money, or shall be paid, or offered to be paid or received in payment for any debt … and all copper coins or pieces, except the said cents and half cents, which shall be paid or offered to be paid or received in payment contrary to the prohibition aforesaid, shall be forfeited, and every person by whom any of them shall have been so paid … shall also forfeit the sum of ten dollars…”

Item #27505, $235,000

Lyndon B. Johnson Signing Pen for Voting Rights Act of 1965

LYNDON B. JOHNSON, “One of the pens used by the President, August 6, 1965, in signing S. 1564, An Act to enforce the fifteenth amendment to the Constitution of the United States, and for other purposes,” per original printed slip in original box. Clear barrel pen, “The President-The Whitehouse” printed in white, with “Esterbrook” on the nib, 6⅜ in. long. With additional artifacts.

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This artifact came from Arnold “Pappy” Noel (1922-2009), a longtime news photographer who at that time was in the Public Affairs Office of the Secretary of Defense. Noel earned his nickname in World War II as a B-29 tail gunner. After the war and his retirement, he joined United Press International as a newsreel and still photographer, filming presidential and White House events, marches on Washington and Selma, fires and riots in Washington and Detroit, and early NASA events. At the 1968 Democratic Convention, he became part of the story when he was injured and arrested for refusing to hand over his film of “excessive abuse of law enforcement agents towards demonstrators.” He was president of the White House Press Photographers Association for two years, leaving the press corps to work as a public affairs assistant to President Ford.

Item #27655, $20,000
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