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Presidents and Elections

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Campaign Document Uses Civil War’s Costs Against President Johnson

[ANDREW JOHNSON], The United States in Account with the Rebellion, Broadside, [October 1866]. 1 pp., 9½ x 11¼ in.

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Stand by Congress!

This broadside, presented in the form of a balance sheet, gives an account of the money and men the northern states spent in suppressing the rebellion and the results it had received, including the “Murder of President Lincoln” and the massacre of black and white Unionists in Memphis (May 1866), New Orleans (July 1866), and Platte City, Missouri (September 1866). It concludes that loyal people, both black and white, must stand by Congress against President Andrew Johnson.

Item #27504, ON HOLD

Pierce Urges His Young Nephew Studying at Princeton:
“Do Not for a Day Relax Your Labor”

FRANKLIN PIERCE, Autograph Letter Signed to Frank H. Pierce, his nephew. Concord, N.H., September 6, 1866. 2 pp.

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Former President Franklin Pierce worries that young Frank Pierce – like most undergraduates – is occupying himself with things other than his studies at Princeton.

Item #21116, $3,750

Edwin Stanton ALS Prelude to Impeachment of Andrew Johnson

EDWIN M. STANTON, Autograph Letter Signed as secretary of war, to Major General Henry W. Halleck on War Department letterhead. Washington, D.C. April 26, 1866. 2 pp., 7¾ x 9¾ in.

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I am still tugging at the oar as hopelessly & almost as painfully as a galley slave”

Item #21929, $3,750

Great Report on the Hunt for Lincoln’s Assassin and Claim for Reward by Irish War Hero

[LINCOLN ASSASSINATION], James Rowan O’Beirne, Autograph Document, Claim for Reward for Capture of John Wilkes Booth, David E. Herold, and George A. Atzerodt, December 27, 1865, Washington, D.C. 6 pp., 8 x 13 in. With Handwritten Clerical Copies of Appendices to the Claim, including items found in Atzerodt’s hotel room and statements by Patrick Brennan and U.S. Marshal Robert Murray regarding the importance of O’Beirne’s telegram to the captures. Each signed by Assistant Adjutant General Robert Williams. 5 pp., 8 x 12½ in.

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Item #26049, $10,000

Lincoln Assassination Extremely Rare Iowa Broadsheet Extra

[LINCOLN ASSASSINATION], The Daily Ottumwa Courier, Broadsheet Extra. Saturday morning, April 15, 1865. Ottumwa, IA: James W. Norris. 2 p., 11 x 16 in. The assassination notice in column 2 of first page. The balance of the paper includes several columns of local advertisements, and the verso is filled with ads and notices that were likely already set in type for the regular daily issue.

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EXTRA / PRESIDENT LINCOLN ASSASSINATED / HE IS DEAD / SEWARD ASSASSINATED.”  This vivid early account of the assassination of President Lincoln includes Booth’s name as the suspected assassin and an account of the attack on Secretary of State William H. Seward, incorrectly reporting his death.

Item #26980, $2,600

A New York Soldier’s Affidavit Allowing
a Proxy to Vote in the 1864 Election

[CIVIL WAR], Partially Printed Document Signed by James M. Smith, countersigned by Jerome B. Parmenter, and Captain Joseph H. Allen. Richmond, Virginia, October 18, 1864. 1 p., 8 x 12½ in. With printed envelope restating affidavit’s claim on the outside.

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Item #21264.05, ON HOLD

Frederick A. Aiken Urging Frémont to Run Against Lincoln

FREDERICK A. AIKEN, Autograph Letter Signed, to John C. Frémont, Washington, D.C., June 12, 1864. 2 pp. 7¾ x 9¾ in.

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With the war going badly, the 1864 election is no shoo-in for the incumbent.

Frederick A. Aiken, former Secretary of the Democratic National Convention, applauds General John C. Frémont’s nomination by the Radical Republicans. He suggests that Frémont will have the blessing of the Democrats if he goes up against Lincoln for the Republican nomination. Aiken went on to serve (unsuccessfully) as defense attorney for Lincoln assassination conspirator Mary Surratt.

Item #20715, $3,200

“The Excursion of the Bought Nominations”
Showing Balloon “Union League”

[CIVIL WAR], Broadside, “The Excursion of the Bought Nominations, The Large Balloon ‘Union League,’ Will Start Immediately. The Balloon is managed by the Old Hunkers in the Ring.” [1864]. 4 ¾ x 8 ½ in.

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Item #21986.04, $750

Abraham Lincoln Introduces Ulysses S. Grant’s Superintendent of Freed Slaves to the American Freedmen’s Inquiry Commission

Abraham Lincoln, Autograph Letter Signed as President, to Robert Dale Owen, July 22, 1863, Washington, D.C. On Executive Mansion stationery. 1 p., 5 x 8 in.

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“Mr John Eaton Jr. … having had charge of the freed-men … comes to me highly recommended by Gen. Grant, as you know, & also by Judge Swayne[1]of the U. S. Supreme Court.

On July 22, 1862, exactly a year before he wrote this letter, Lincoln read a draft of the Emancipation Proclamation to his cabinet, agreeing to Stanton’s advice to hold it back until the Union could claim a military victory. On September 22, after the Battle of Antietam, he issued a Preliminary Proclamation, stating that enslaved people in any areas still in rebellion would be freed, and that freed men would be welcomed into the armed forces of the United States. Once Lincoln issued the final Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863, Secretary of War Edward Stanton worked to create a federal system to support freed slaves, and allow them to most effectively support the Union.

Item #26470, $85,000

Very Early State Department Printing of Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation and William Seward’s Cover Letter, Sent to American Minister in Argentina

ABRAHAM LINCOLN, Printed Circular, “By the President of the United States of America. A Proclamation.” First page: WILLIAM H. SEWARD, Printed Letter Signed by Secretary, to Robert C. Kirk, January 3, 1863. [Washington: Government Printing Office, ca. January 5, 1863], 2 pp. on one folded sheet, 8¼ x 13 in. (pages 2 and 4 blank)

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“By virtue of the power, and for the purpose aforesaid, I do order and declare that all persons held as slaves within said designated States, and parts of States, are, and henceforward shall be free; and that the Executive government of the United States, including the military and naval authorities thereof, will recognize and maintain the freedom of said persons…”

One of the first obtainable printed editions of Abraham Lincoln’s final Emancipation Proclamation, January 1863, issued by the State Department.

Item #27119.99, $115,000

Abraham Lincoln Signed Check to “William Johnson (Colored)”—Who Accompanied the President to Antietam and Gettysburg

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

Rare Abraham Lincoln 1860 Campaign Sash for Rally at Boston’s Faneuil Hall

[ABRAHAM LINCOLN], Portrait Sash from Faneuil Hall Rally, May-November, 1860, Boston, Massachusetts. 1 p., 29 x 2¼ in. It features a portrait of Lincoln engraved from an 1858 photograph taken in Springfield by Christopher S. German.

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The first owner wore this sash at one or more of the Lincoln Rallies during the 1860 presidential campaign season. The two most prominent were at the beginning and end of the season. 

Item #27653, $12,500

Claims that First Republican Presidential Candidate is Foreign Born & Ineligible

[STEPHEN H. BRANCH], Broadside. Important! to the Public ... The Republican Candidate for the Presidency, John C. Fremont, of Foreign Birth. Ogdensburgh, N.Y. October 31, 1856. 1 p. 10½ x 7½ in. Foxing, some paper remnants on verso.

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Item #23425, $3,500

Buchanan Supporters Attack Presidential Candidate Frémont as a “Black Republican” Abolitionist

[ELECTION OF 1856], Printed Document. The Fearful Issue to Be Decided in November Next! Shall the Constitution and the Union Stand or Fall? Fremont, The Sectional Candidate of the Advocates of Dissolution! Buchanan, The Candidate of Those Who Advocate One Country! One Union! One Constitution! and One Destiny! 1856. 24 pp., 5 x 8½ in.

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What a Combination! Seward, Greeley, Bennet, Watson Webb, H. Ward Beecher, &c. There can be no doubt that this goodly company will speedily be increased by the addition of Fred. Douglass and his black republicans… The only candidate to arrest this tide of demoralization and sectionalism, is James Buchanan.

This pro-Buchanan election of 1856 pamphlet attacks the first Republican presidential candidate, John C. Frémont. Quoting from the speeches and writings of William Lloyd Garrison, Horace Greeley, Wendell Phillips, Salmon P. Chase, Henry Ward Beecher, William H. Seward, Joshua R. Giddings, this pamphlet ignores distinctions between abolitionists, racial egalitarians, more limited opponents just of the expansion of slavery into the territories, or those who fought the kidnapping of free African Americans under the Fugitive Slave Law. It paints all with the same broad brush as “Black Republican” extreme abolitionists who were willing to destroy the Union rather than remain in it with slaveholders.

Item #24482, $750

Former President and Future Confederate Supporter John Tyler Forcefully Defends the Fugitive Slave Act and the “Southern Cause,” Attacks the NY Press, and Plays up His Own Service in the War of 1812

JOHN TYLER, Autograph Letter Signed and Autograph Manuscript Signed several times in the third person. Sent to S. Cunningham, from Sherwood Forest, October 12, 1850, 1 p., 9⅜ x 7¼ in. on blue paper marked “Private,” being the cover letter for the manuscript, written for anonymous publication: “The fugitive slave bill and Commissioner Gardiner,” [ca. October 12, 1850], 2 pp., 9⅜ x 7⅞ in. on blue paper.

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In the first fugitive slave law case, which came before his cousin Commissioner Gardiner: “The fugitive was promptly dealt by and restored to his owner in Baltimore. Mr. Gardiner has proven himself to be a faithful public servant, an honest man, and a Patriot. And yet, by a certain class of Editors in New York he is sneered at…

Tyler criticizes two NY editors in particular: “Now what jackasses are Mssrs Herricks and Ropes… These would-be somethingarians [a colloquialism, usually used as an insult] in the first place, deem it a matter of censure in a judge, to execute the law—and, in the next they show their ignorance … by ascribing to Mr. Tyler under their witty soubriquet of Captain (a title he is well content to wear since he enjoyed it during the war of 1812 with Great Britain)…

Item #24043, $24,000

Free Soil Rally Broadside, Dorchester Massachusetts, 1848. 23 x 29 Inches

[ELECTION OF 1848], Printed Document. Broadside, July 21, 1848, Dorchester, Massachusetts. 1 p. 23 x 29 in.

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“FREE SOIL! FREE LABOR! FREE SPEECH! RALLY OF THE PEOPLE!
All persons opposed to the Election of Taylor or Cass to the Presidency, and to the Extension of Slavery and the Slave Power, are invited to meet at the Lyceum Hall,” July 24, 1848. …”

Inviting “All persons opposed to the Election of TAYLOR or CASS to the Presidency, and to the Extension of Slavery and the Slave Power.” The meeting would choose delegates for a state convention on July 28. Speakers included Stephen C. Phillips (1801-1857), an 1819 graduate of Harvard University and a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from 1834 to 1838. The bottom of the broadside contains the names of 178 local voters. It is curious that the Free Soil nominee, former Democrat Martin Van Buren, is not named here. Ultimately, with the support of the convention arranged after this broadside, he received 28.6% of the state’s votes. 

Item #27251, $11,000

John Tyler Addresses Special Session of Congress soon after William Henry Harrison’s Death

JOHN TYLER, Broadside. State of the Union Message. National Intelligencer—Extra, June 1, 1841. Washington, DC: Gales and Seaton. 1 p., 18 x 23 in.

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The States are emphatically the constituents of this Government....

Item #25676, $1,900

Very Rare William Henry Harrison Four-Language Sea Letter Signed as President

WILLIAM HENRY HARRISON, Partially Printed Document Signed as President, counter-signed by Daniel Webster as Secretary of State. [signed in Washington, D.C. between March 4 and April 4, 1841]. Four-language Sea Letter for Hydaspe, accomplished (filled out) in New Bedford, Massachusetts, dated April 20, 1841 and signed by Deputy Collector of Customs William H. Taylor. Includes two blind embossed paper seals. 1 p., 21½ x 16¼ in.

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Partially-printed sea letter in French, Spanish, English, and Dutch authorizing the Hydaspe, under the command of Francis Post, to leave New Bedford, Massachusetts, for a whaling voyage to the Pacific Ocean. Signed by William Henry Harrison during his one-month long presidency. Only approximately a dozen William Henry Harrison presidential signed documents are known in private hands. An incredible rarity.

On March 4, 1841, a cold, wet day, Harrison, without hat or overcoat, rode on horseback to his inauguration, and delivered the longest inaugural speech of any American president. He became ill three weeks later and died of pneumonia on April 4, having been president for 31 days. He was the last United States president born as a British subject and the first to die in office. Our census counts fewer than 40 known Harrison presidential signed items of all types, ranging from letters and free franks to fragments of documents and clipped signatures. Of those, ours is one of only 22 intact presidential signed documents. 

Sea letters were signed in blank, and sent to the ports to be filled out. This one was used in New Bedford on April 20, sixteen days after Harrison’s death. The Hydaspe left New Bedford four days later with a crew of more than twenty. It returned just shy of four years later, on April 14, 1845, with 1,016 barrels of sperm oil, 821 barrels of whale oil, and 8,000 pounds of baleen (whalebone). The ship circumnavigated the earth, sailing throughout the Pacific and along the southern coasts of Australia and Africa, taking on six additional crew members in Tahiti in 1843 and eleven more in Maui, Hawaii (then called the Sandwich Islands), in 1844. A whaleboat crew deserted near Australia; at least three of the deserters were captured.

Item #27118.99, $225,000

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, $1,500

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
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