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Inauguration and State of the Union Addresses
Inauguration and State of the Union Addresses

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Unique Printing of William Henry Harrison’s Deadly Inaugural Address on Silk

WILLIAM HENRY HARRISON, Inaugural Address. Printed on silk, ca. March 1841. Baltimore: John Murphy. 1 p., 18 x 24 in.

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On a cold, wet day, March 4, 1841, President Harrison delivered the longest inaugural address in history. Harrison wrote the entire speech himself, though it was edited by his soon-to-be Secretary of State, Daniel Webster. Webster said afterwards that in the process of editing the text, he had “killed seventeen Roman proconsuls.” Contracting pneumonia, Harrison became the first president to die in office 31 days after delivering this address. His vice president John Tyler became the new president and served out Harrison’s term.

In an 8,460-word address, Harrison presents a detailed statement of the Whig agenda and a repudiation of the populism and policies of Democratic Presidents Andrew Jackson and Martin Van Buren. Harrison promises to reestablish the Bank of the United States, to issue paper currency, to use his veto power sparingly, and to appoint qualified officers of government in contrast to the spoils system that Jackson heralded. He favors term limits, limits on the powers of the presidency, and devotion to the nation rather than party. Harrison avoids specifics on the divisive issue of slavery, which in theory he might have opposed, but of which he was in practice a staunch defender.

Item #25607.02, $7,500

Broadside Printing of William Henry Harrison’s Deadly Inaugural Address

WILLIAM HENRY HARRISON, Broadside. ca. March 1841. 1 p., 11⅝ x 19 in.

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If there is one measure better calculated than another to produce that state of things so much deprecated by all true republicans, by which the rich are daily adding to their hoards and the poor sinking deeper into penury, it is an exclusive metallic currency....

Always the friend of my countrymen, never their flatterer, it becomes my duty to say to them… that there exists in the land a spirit hostile to their best interests—hostile to liberty itself.... It is union that we want, not of a party for the sake of that party, but a union of the whole country for the sake of the whole country, for the defense of its interests and its honor against foreign aggression, for the defense of those principles for which our ancestors so gloriously contended....

Item #25607.01, $5,000

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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I am again called upon by the voice of my country to execute the functions of its Chief Magistrate.

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, $1,995

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

Front-Page Printing of William Henry Harrison’s Deadly Inaugural Address

WILLIAM HENRY HARRISON, Newspaper. National Intelligencer, March 6, 1841. Washington, D.C.: Gales & Seaton. 4 pp., 18 x 23¼ in.

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If there is one measure better calculated than another to produce that state of things so much deprecated by all true republicans, by which the rich are daily adding to their hoards and the poor sinking deeper into penury, it is an exclusive metallic currency....

On a cold, wet day, March 4, 1841, President Harrison delivered the longest inaugural address in history. Harrison wrote the entire speech himself, though it was edited by his soon-to-be Secretary of State, Daniel Webster. Webster said afterwards that in the process of editing the text, he had “killed seventeen Roman proconsuls.” Contracting pneumonia, Harrison became the first president to die in office 31 days after delivering this address. His vice president John Tyler became the new president and served out Harrison’s term.

In an 8,460-word address, printed here on the front page of the National Intelligencer, Harrison presents a detailed statement of the Whig agenda and a repudiation of the populism and policies of Democratic Presidents Andrew Jackson and Martin Van Buren. Harrison promises to reestablish the Bank of the United States, to issue paper currency, to use his veto power sparingly, and to appoint qualified officers of government in contrast to the spoils system that Jackson heralded. He favors term limits, limits on the powers of the presidency, and devotion to the nation rather than party. Harrison avoids specifics on the divisive issue of slavery, which in theory he might have opposed, but of which he was in practice a staunch defender.

Item #30001.35, $895

Designs for Eisenhower’s Second Inauguration Festival

[DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER], Second Inaugural Festival designs by Samuel Asch, New York, December 1956. 14 items, including 9 colored pencil and carbon sketches on lined paper, one Inaugural Committee circular letter, 2 photostats of Asch’s designs, and 2 photostats of images of the completed project. Includes a 1953 Inaugural Festival program.

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Acclaimed designer Samuel Asch’s drawings for the Inaugural Festival at Washington, D.C.’s Uline Arena. The Festival featured prominent entertainers from the world of stage, screen, opera, dance, and popular music.

Item #24773, $1,250

William Henry Harrison: Rare Broadside of the Deadly Inaugural Address

[WILLIAM HENRY HARRISON], Broadside, National Intelligencer, Extra. March 4, 1841. “The Inaugural Address of President Harrison.” Washington, D.C.: Gales & Seaton. Five columns, 1 p., 16¼ x 23¾ in.

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If there is one measure better calculated than another to produce that state of things so much deprecated by all true republicans, by which the rich are daily adding to their hoards and the poor sinking deeper into penury, it is an exclusive metallic currency....

Always the friend of my countrymen, never their flatterer, it becomes my duty to say to them … that there exists in the land a spirit hostile to their best interests--hostile to liberty itself.... It is union that we want, not of a party for the sake of that party, but a union of the whole country for the sake of the whole country, for the defense of its interests and its honor against foreign aggression, for the defense of those principles for which our ancestors so gloriously contended....

On a cold, wet day, March 4, 1841, President Harrison delivered the longest inaugural address in history. Contracting pneumonia, 31 days later he was the first president to die in office. This same-day National Intelligencer broadside Extra prints his entire 8,460-word address. Harrison presented a detailed statement of the Whig agenda and a repudiation of the populism and policies of Democratic Presidents Andrew Jackson and Martin Van Buren. Harrison promised to reestablish the Bank of the United States, to issue paper currency, to use his veto power sparingly, and to appoint qualified officers of government in contrast to the spoils system that Jackson heralded. He favors term limits, limits on the powers of the presidency, and devotion to the nation rather than party. Harrison avoids specifics on the divisive issue of slavery, which in theory he might have opposed but in practice was a staunch defender: “Our citizens must be content with the exercise of the powers with which the Constitution clothes them. The attempt of those of one State to control the domestic institutions of another can only result in feelings of distrust and jealousy, the certain harbingers of disunion, violence, and civil war, and the ultimate destruction of our free institutions....

Item #30029.21, $4,000

AN EXTRAORDINARY RARITY!
Leaves From George Washington’s Own Draft of His First Inaugural Address

GEORGE WASHINGTON, Autograph Manuscript, Pages 27-28, 35-36, and 47-48 of Washington’s own draft of his undelivered inaugural address. [written ca. January 1789]. 6 pp. on 3 leaves, 7 x 9 in.

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“This Constitution, is really in its formation a government of the people”

George Washington understood that the new government’s success, as had the Constitutional Convention’s, rested squarely on his shoulders. He also knew that everything he did as the first president would set precedents for future generations. He wrote privately about the promise, ambiguity, and tension of high office, and these same themes are woven throughout his original, undelivered inaugural address. Would the government work as intended, or suffer death from a thousand cuts? Still, the former Commander in Chief recognized the nation’s potential, as well as the honorable men who had come together to build the Constitution.

The three unique leaves—six pages—offered here are written entirely in Washington’s hand. They include assertions that government power is derived from the people, and a highly significant section of the Address explicitly arguing that the Constitution is subject to amendment and, by implication, advocating the adoption of the Bill of Rights. They also include the oratorical climax of the address—arguably the most visionary and impassioned passage of the address.

Item #24818, $1,750,000

Rare same day broadside of John Adams’ Fourth State of the Union Address: Opening Washington D.C. as the Nation’s Capital

[JOHN ADAMS], Broadside, Supplement to the National Intelligencer. [Washington: Samuel Harrison Smith, November 22, 1800].

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Adams’ historic fourth Annual Message to Congress—now known as the State of the Union Address—announces the establishment of the District of Columbia as the nation’s capital. The second President, who had just been defeated for re-election, optimistically discusses unprecedented economic growth, considers the recently consummated treaty of amity and commerce with Prussia, and focuses on the need for expanded naval forces and coastal fortifications, which he believes to be necessary given the Quasi-War with France.

A rare broadside extra edition: no institutional copies are listed in OCLC, although it is possible they exist in uncatalogued runs. The National Intelligencer, then in its second month in print, had moved to Washington at the behest of President-elect Thomas Jefferson.

Item #30028.06, $8,500
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Lincoln’s Final State of the Union Message, 1864

[ABRAHAM LINCOLN], Newspaper. New York Observer, New York, N.Y.: Sidney E. Morse and Richard C. Morse. December 8, 1864. Includes complete printing of Lincoln’s last annual message to Congress. 8 pp. (385-392), 18¼ x 25 in.

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In his fourth and final State of the Union address to Congress, President Lincoln reaffirms his commitment both to restoring the Union through military victory and his determination to see the end of slavery in the United States. After briefly addressing foreign affairs and inviting Congressional attention to the reports of his Cabinet officers, Lincoln notes that “The war continues.” He expresses pleasure at the steady advance of Union forces, allowing many occupied areas to grow crops, and admires the confidence of the Union forces illustrated by General William T. Sherman’s march through Georgia, then underway.

The President draws several lessons from the 1864 national elections recently completed. First, he believes the election demonstrates a unanimous and unshakeable commitment to restoring the Union. Second, he finds hope because the human and natural resources of the Union are both “unexhausted” and “inexhaustible.” Seeing immigration as a “replenishing stream,” Lincoln looks forward to a future when Atlantic and Pacific states are connected by “railways and telegraph lines.” Third, he sees a growing commitment to emancipation.

Therefore, he urges the House of Representatives to pass the proposed Thirteenth Amendment abolishing slavery, even before the next Congress takes office. Lincoln remains committed to emancipation and the destruction of slavery, even while offering lenient pardon to those rebels willing to return to their allegiance to the Union, either individually or collectively.

Item #30001.23, $500

Lincoln’s Third State of the Union Address
and Amnesty Proclamation

[ABRAHAM LINCOLN], Newspaper. New York Times, New York, N.Y., Dec. 10, 1863, with “Supplement to The New York Times” complete with its own masthead. 12 pp. 14¾ x 21 in.

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Contains Lincoln’s entire 1863 Message to Congress, where he reaffirmed his commitment to emancipation, as well as His Proclamation of Amnesty and Reconstruction, which laid out a plan to return the rebellious states to the Union fold. Commonly called the “Ten Percent Plan,” it allowed for a state to hold new elections when 10% of its 1860 voters took a loyalty oath to the Union.

Item #30001.20, $950

James Monroe’s State of the Union Address

[JAMES MONROE], Newspaper. American Mercury, Hartford, Ct., December 9, 1817, 4 pp., 13 x 19½ in. With the State of the Union Address in full on page 2.

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Monroe enters office in a time of peace and prosperity well deserving of its moniker, the Era of Good Feelings. Still, the president outlines a plan for the future in his first message to Congress.

Item #30001.04, $950

Monroe Expands on his Doctrine in Last Annual Message

JAMES MONROE, Broadside. Albany Argus - Extra. Albany, N.Y.: Edward Croswell, December 10, 1824. 1 p., large folio broadside in 6 columns, text extracted from the National Journal, Extra, December 7, 1824. 21¾ x 15½ in.

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Apparently unrecorded, this broadside extra prints President Monroe’s last annual message to Congress, delivered on December 7, 1824. Covers relations with Great Britain, the slave trade, Indian relations, the comprehensive survey of possible road and canal sites in the interior, and an elaboration on the Monroe Doctrine, providing the rationale for exhorting European states not to interfere with the evolution of the newly independent Latin American states. “Separated as we are, from Europe by the great Atlantic Ocean, we can have no concern in the wars of the European governments, nor in the causes which produce them. The balance of power between them, into whichever scale it may turn, in its various vibrations, cannot affect us. It is the interest of the United States to preserve the most friendly relations with every power, and on conditions fair, equal, and applicable to all. But in regard to our neighbours, our situation is different. It is impossible for the European governments to interfere in their concerns, especially in those alluded to, which are vital, without affecting us …

Item #30001.02, $2,750

In His State of the Union Address, Thomas Jefferson Commends Lewis and Clark for Their Successful Explorations

THOMAS JEFFERSON. [LEWIS AND CLARK], Newspaper. Connecticut Courant. Hartford, Conn., December 10, 1806. 4 pp, 12½ x 20½ in.

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Item #22459, $2,000

John Tyler Writes After Delivering his First State of the Union Address: “the Ultras on both sides are dissatisfied and the extremes meet...”

JOHN TYLER, Autograph Letter Signed as President. Washington, D.C., December 9, 1841. 2 pp., 8½ x 11½ in., roughly torn, with lower quarter and at least three lines of text lacking, but signature intact on verso.

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Two days after “His Accidency” delivered his first State of the Union Address, John Tyler affirms that his position had infuriated the “Ultras”: the radicals in both parties: states-rights-leaning Whig such as Clay, and more nationalistic Jacksonian Democrats.

Item #22418, $1,200

John Quincy Adams’ Copy of a Scarce South Carolina Printing of the Monroe Doctrine

[JOHN QUINCY ADAMS]. JAMES MONROE, Newspaper. State of the Union Message. Cheraw Intelligencer and Southern Register, December 12, 1823. Cheraw, S.C.: William Poole & Co. Secretary of State John Quincy Adams’ name penned in top margin of first page, likely addressed by the publisher. 4 pp., 12¾ x 20 in.

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the American continents, by the free and independent condition which they have assumed and maintain, are henceforth not to be considered as subjects for future colonization by any European powers.

The Monroe Doctrine - as it is now known- was largely the creation of Secretary of State John Quincy Adams, and issued not on its own but as part of James Monroe’s Annual Message to Congress (now referred to as the State of the Union Address). By declaring that the western hemisphere was no longer subject to European colonization, it marked a defining moment in Monroe’s presidency and informed American foreign policy for more than a century.

Monroe’s message covered other important topics, among them the international slave trade, the possible construction of a canal to connect the Chesapeake Bay with the Ohio River, and the Greek War of Independence. In addition, this newspaper prints the editor’s brief reaction to the president’s “luminous message” (p2/c4); notice of Henry Clay’s election as Speaker of the House of Representatives (p2/c4); proceedings of the South Carolina state legislature, including proposed laws prohibiting “free negroes” from entering the state, reports on canal building (p3/c1-2), and other local, national and international news. Notices and advertisements include runaway slave ads (p4/c1).

As Secretary of State, Adams needed to receive news from all parts of the United States. His office was responsible not only for foreign affairs but also for relations between the states and the federal government.

Item #21077.99, $19,000