Washington’s Personal Secretary
Tobias Lear’s Copy of History of Russia
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Signed book. William Tooke, History of Russia. London, Strahan, 1800. Two volumes, 8vo, full leather, some repair to binding, fine overall. All four plates present. The folding map is foxed, but complete without major tears. Both volumes are signed “Tobias Lear Malta, Oct 13th, 1804” in ornate, formal hand. Provenance: Tobias Lear; to Benjamin Lincoln Lear, with Benjamin’s bookplate.
Tobias Lear V (1762-1816) was born in Portsmouth, N.H., and despite moderate means, attended Harvard University. In 1784, through the recommendation of his uncle, Benjamin Lincoln, he was hired as George Washington’s personal secretary to handle his voluminous correspondence, oversee Mount Vernon’s accounts, and tutor Washington’s adopted children. He and his family were part of the presidential households in New York and Philadelphia.