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Revolution and Founding Fathers (1765 - 1784)
Revolution and Founding Fathers (1765 - 1784)

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The Declaration of Independence, Printed in 1776 Journals of Congress - Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson’s Chief Clerk’s Copy

[DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE], Book. Journals of Congress. Containing the Proceedings from January 1, 1776, to January 1, 1777. Volume II. York-Town [Penn.]: John Dunlap, 1778. Second issue (i.e. Dunlap’s imprint but incorporating Aitken’s sheets). 520 pp., 8 x 4 ¾ in. Title page with New York City Bar Association stamp, discreet accession number on verso. Lacking the index (xxvii pp.).

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Available as part of The Alexander Hamilton Collection

This rare volume of the Journals of Congress, covering the pivotal year of 1776, has an unusual printing history. The first 424 pages were printed in Philadelphia in 1777 by Robert Aitken. The project was interrupted when the British marched into Philadelphia on September 26, 1777. Congress fled, and after a day in Lancaster established itself in York, Pennsylvania. Aitken escaped with some of his finished sheets but had to abandon his press. On the other hand, John Dunlap, the original printer of the Declaration of Independence, managed to remove his press. In May 1778, Congress hired Dunlap to complete the reprint of their 1776 journals.

This copy bears the signature of Henry Remsen Jr., (1762-1843), the Chief Clerk of the State Department when Jefferson was Secretary of State. At that time, the Patent Office was part of the State Department, so among his accomplishments Remsen recorded the first rules for the examination of patents, a subject dear to Jefferson the inventor. Remsen later became a noteworthy New York financier.

Item #23757, ON HOLD

Very Rare Pennsylvania Signer George Taylor Receives Payment for Land

GEORGE TAYLOR, Autograph Document Signed. Receipt. Trimmed close, n.p., Dec. 6, 1774. 1 p. 4¾ x 3 in.

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Taylor’s signature is among the rarest of the Signers in part due to his limited role in public life and his death prior to an American victory that would have opened more opportunities to serve.

Item #22992.99, $27,500

Declaration Signer James Wilson’s Signed Copy of, 1774 Maryland Guide, the First Original American Legal Work, Earliest on Law of Wills

[JAMES WILSON], Signed Book. Vallette, Elie. The Deputy Commissary’s Guide within the Province of Maryland. Annapolis: Ann Catherine Green and Son, 1774. Octavo. Engraved title & table by Thomas Sparrow. Signed twice by Wilson at head of title & on front free endpaper recto. Both signatures ruled through in ink by subsequent owners, other owner’s signatures on endpaper. A little blue & red crayon underlining & scrawl at head of title.

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An important association copy of a rare book with many first claims: this is the only edition of the first original American legal work, and the earliest book published in America on the law of wills. It also contains the only engraving from a colonial Maryland press, by Thomas Sparrow, the only engraver south of the Mason-Dixon Line before 1775.

Item #23609, $10,000

With the British Headed His Way, John Hancock Implores the States to Send Supplies and Troops to the Flagging War Effort

JOHN HANCOCK, Manuscript Document Signed (“John Hancock”) as President of the Continental Congress, 2 pages, 8 x 12½ in., “In Congress” [Philadelphia], November 19 & 21, 1776.

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“Congress deem it necessary upon every principle of propriety to remind the several States how indispensible it is to the Common Safety that they pursue the most immediate & vigorous measures to furnish their respective quotas of troops for the new Army…”

Washington’s defeat at the Battle of Long Island at the end of August 1776 resulted in the British occupying New York City less than three weeks later. The news for the Americans only got worse, as they had to retreat from White Plains on October 28, and Hessian mercenaries captured Fort Washington, in northern Manhattan on November 16.

With the Redcoats in hot pursuit, the Continental Army retreated across New Jersey throughout December, eventually crossing the Delaware River into Pennsylvania for safety. Washington had split his troops (the other group commanded by General Charles Lee) in hopes of taking a stand before Philadelphia. With Washington’s command in jeopardy and the British headed towards the seat of Congress, Hancock stresses the urgent need for troops and supplies.

Item #23790, $35,000

George Washington’s Rare Anti-Catholic Test Oath, Taken before being Appointed Colonel and Commander in Chief of all Virginia Forces

GEORGE WASHINGTON, Document Signed. A list of subscribers to the declaration denying Catholic doctrines. Washington’s signature is the 9th in the second column below the declaration. May 22, 1754 – July 17, 1755.

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“there is no Transubstantiation in the sacrament of the Lords supper or in the elements of Bread and wine...”

Item #23200, PRICE ON REQUEST

The Declaration of Independence
Rare Broadside Printed and Posted in July, 1776

[DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE], Broadside. [Exeter, New Hampshire: attributed Robert Luist Fowle], [ca. July 16-19, 1776], two-column format, sheet size approx. 15⅛ x 19⅝ in. Pin holes in three corners, with the upper-left corner torn in approx the same position, indicates that this was posted publicly to spread the momentous news.

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Broadsides such as this fanned the flames of independence. Passed from hand to hand, read aloud at town gatherings, or posted in public places, broadsides (single pages with print only one side) were meant to quickly convey news. Including the present copy, there are fewer than a dozen examples of this Exeter, N.H. printing known. Pin holes in three corners and the torn upper-left corner suggest this example was posted publicly.

In a way, this Declaration broadside is even more “original” than the signed manuscript pictured by most Americans. This is not yet “The Unanimous Declaration of the thirteen United States,” but rather “A Declaration, by the Representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress assembled.” On July 4,  New York’s delegation abstained from voting for  independence. After replacing their delegates, New York joined the other 12 colonies.

Moreover, as here on the broadside, the July 4 Declaration was signed by only two men: Continental Congress President John Hancock and Secretary Charles Thomson (here with the common variant “Thompson”). After New York on board, Congress resolved on July 19 to have the Declaration engrossed with a new title: “The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America.” Most of the 56 signers affixed their names on the engrossed document on August 2, 1776, with some added even later.

Thus, broadsides such as this one preserve the text of the Declaration of Independence as it actually was issued in July of 1776.

Item #21991.99, PRICE ON REQUEST

An Address to the Inhabitants of Great Britain – July 1775 Print of Message that went with the Olive Branch Petition

[REVOLUTIONARY WAR], Newspaper. Rivington’s New York Gazetteer...and Weekly Advertiser, New York, N.Y., July 21, 1775. 4 pp., 11½ x 18 in.

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While 1776 will remain the most memorable year in American history, 1775 actually marks the moment when the colonists became Americans. Hostilities had already begun, yet the delegates of the Continental Congress still sought to avoid war. On July 8, the Continental Congress approved and sent the Olive Branch Petition to King George III. At the same time, they sent an appeal stating the case directly to the British people. Both attempts failed, and we have found no evidence that the address was even published in England. Here, in Rivington’s New York paper, it is published in the first two columns of page one, and the first column of page two.

Item #23544, $12,500

Declaration of Independence: Benjamin Tyler 1818 - First Print with Facsimile Signatures

BENJAMIN OWEN TYLER, Broadside, Drawn by Tyler and engraved by Peter Maverick, [Washington, D.C., 1818]. 1 p., 23⅞ x 31 in., archivally framed to approx. 32 x 40 in.

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“In Congress, July 4th 1776. The Unanimous Declaration of the thirteen United States of America.”

Item #23683, $25,000

The First Published Book by an African-American Woman

PHILLIS WHEATLEY, Book. Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral. First edition, with the advertisement on the final page reading “Lately published in 2 vols. Twelves...” and engraved frontispiece portrait after Scipio Morehead (second state). London: Archibald Bell, 1773, for Cox and Berry, Boston. 128 pp., 4⅜ x 6¾ in. Modern half brown leather, marbled sides.

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“Celestial muse, my arduous flight sustain
And raise my mind to a seraphic strain!”

—from Wheatley’s“Thoughts on the Works of Providence”

Item #23638, PRICE ON REQUEST

Lewis Morris, Jr. Rents Part of Morrisania

LEWIS MORRIS, JR (1698-1762), Manuscript Document Signed. Morrisania, New York, July 30, 1741. 2 pp., 13 x 15½ in.

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Item #20054, $1,950

Aaron Burr Manages his New York City Law Office From Albany

AARON BURR, Autograph Letter Signed, to William Ireson. Albany, N.Y., July 20, 1791. 3 pp., folio, with integral address leaf to Ireson “at A Burr’s.”

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In July 1791, Burr was serving as New York State commissioner of Revolutionary claims and as freshman U.S. Senator, while also practicing law. Here, the future presidential candidate instructs the clerk keeping his New York office on everything from entering pleas, to sending case paperwork, to ordering vials of an eye moisturizer and books analyzing the French Revolution, to correspondence.

Item #21480.04, $1,900

Native American Land Sale, Signed with Totem Marks

[NATIVE AMERICAN], Tateew, Ochangues and Neckarind, Manuscript deed for land in Ulster County, N.Y. to Cornelius Hornbeek and Frederick Shoonmaker, signed by Abraham Gaasbeek Chambers and Gilbert Livingston, countersigned by John Schoonmaker, Anderyes Decker, J. Pruyn, Jr., and Conrad Weiser as witnesses June 15, 1728. Rochester, Ulster Co., N.Y.

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Deed for land in Ulster County, N.Y., signed by three Indians with their totem marks and red wax seals, conveying a mine and 400 acres of land to Cornelius Hornbeek and Frederick Schoonmaker.

Item #21419, $9,000

Broadside Declaring War on Spain

[GEORGE II], Broadside, “His Majesty’s Declaration of War Against the King of Spain,” John Bassett, printer, London, October 19, 1739, 16 x 21 in., with contemporary manuscript notes and docketing, October 23, 1739.

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Parliament goes to war after Robert Jenkins displays his detached ear.

Item #22456, $6,500

Charging Aaron Burr with Hamilton’s Murder

[ALEXANDER HAMILTON], Newspaper. Columbian Centinel, Boston, Mass, November 7, 1804. 4 pp., 13 x 19¾ in. Loss (roughly 2 x ¾ in.) on pp. 3-4 professionally filled, still, some small text lacking.

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“A bill has been found in New-Jersey, against MR. BURR, for the murder of GEN.  HAMILTON.—Nevertheless he will take his seat in Congress.”

Item #30000.55, $500

Franklin Proclaims,
“Britain has no Right to tax the Colonies…”

[BENJAMIN FRANKLIN], Newspaper, The Pennsylvania Chronicle. Philadelphia: William Goddard, February 6, 1769. 8 pp. (pp. 9-16), 10 x 12.5 in.

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Item #30000.71, $950

John Hancock Addresses Massachusetts Legislature

[JOHN HANCOCK], Newspaper. Massachusetts Centinel, Boston, Mass., June 4, 1788. 4 pp., 9½ x 14½ in. Trimmed close at bottom edge, with minor text loss to pp. 3-4 but not affecting Hancock’s speech. “X”s mark certain columns for reading or copying.

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Item #20650.31, $550

Benjamin Franklin’s Newspaper Reports on the Proposed Union of the Colonies

[BENJAMIN FRANKLIN], Newspaper. Pennsylvania Gazette, Philadelphia, Pa., September 12, 1754. 4 pp., 9¼ x 14½ in.

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New York’s legislative bodies and governor volley for position on a defensive pact that suggested that the colonies join together for the first time. With the usual shipping news, advertisements, and news from other colonial cities, including New York and Williamsburg.

Item #22426.06, $3,800

Benjamin Franklin’s Newspaper Reports Virginia’s Call to Arms at the Outset of the French and Indian War

[BENJAMIN FRANKLIN], Newspaper. Pennsylvania Gazette, Philadelphia, Pa., November 7, 1754. 4 pp., 9¼ x 14½ in.

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From Williamsburg, Virginia, Governor Robert Dinwiddie addresses the House of Burgesses to address the continuing problem of French and Indian incursions into Virginia’s western territories and calling them to action.

Item #22426.08, $3,800

Opposition to and Support of the Townshend Acts, and an Ad for a Tooth-Ache Cure

REVOLUTIONARY WAR] [WILLIAM GODDARD], Newspaper. Pennsylvania Chronicle, and Universal Advertiser, May, 29 1769, Philadelphia, Pa., 8 pp., 9⅜ x 11¾ in.

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Item #30000.72, $750

A Lazy Revolutionary War Doctor, Departing From His Life of Leisure, Reports on “Lord” Stirling’s Failed Attempt On Staten Island

SAMUEL VICKERS, Autograph Letter Signed “S. Vickers,” to Andrew Craigie. Cranburry, N.J., January 17, 1780. 2 pp., 8½ x 12¼ in. We believe the docketing to incorrectly identify the sender as John Vicker.

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Available as part of The Alexander Hamilton Collection

Fellow physician John Vickers gives Dr. Craigie a nearly instantaneous account of Lord Stirling’s ill-fated attack on Staten Island of Jan 15-16, 1780. Stirling’s campaign was designed to surprise the British troops in their winter camp; the British were alerted, however, and were well fortified by the time the Americans arrived. Vickers also decries plundering of the island by Continental troops.

Item #23414, ON HOLD
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