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African American History

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Blanche Bruce, The First Full-term African American U.S. Senator Signs a Deed

BLANCHE BRUCE, Document Signed. Land deed. Washington, D.C. September 30, 1890. Signature panel 8¼ x 3½ in., overall dimensions 8¼ x 14 in.

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Blanche Bruce was the first full-term African American to serve in the U.S. Senate, 1875-1881. He was then appointed by President James Garfield as Register of the U.S. Treasury in 1881. He later served as the Washington, D.C. Recorder of Deeds (a position earlier held by Frederick Douglass), 1890-1893 and again as Register of the Treasury from 1897 until his death in 1898.

Item #22945.16, $95

Illustrations of African Americans Freeing Themselves
by Moving Toward Union Lines

[EMANCIPATION PROCLAMATION], Newspaper. Harper’s Weekly, February 21, 1863. 16 pp., complete, disbound.

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General Tom Thumb and his bride grace the front page, but “The Effects of the Proclamation—Freed Negroes Coming Into Our Lines at Newbern, North Carolina” is the most significant illustration, occupying all of the fourth page. Also, “Departure of the Great Southern Expedition from Beaufort, North Carolina”; The Rebel Rams Engaging Our Blockading Fleet Off Charleston, South Carolina”; “Hearts and Hands, St. Valentine’s Day, 1863” is the romantic centerfold; “Ft.  Hindman, Arkansas”; “Iron Clad ‘Montauk’ Engaging the Rebel Fort M’Allister in the Ogeechee River.”

Item #H 2-21-1863, $150

‘Rally round the Flag, Boys!’ President Lincoln Centerfold

[ABRAHAM LINCOLN], Newspaper. Harper’s Weekly, October 1, 1864. 16 pp., complete, disbound.

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This October, 1864 issue of Harper’s Weekly has a magnificent centerfold engraving of President Lincoln—perfect for framing—with a patriotic poem below.

Item #H 10-1-1864, $225

The Emancipation Proclamation

[EMANCIPATION PROCLAMATION], Newspaper. Harper’s Weekly, January 17, 1863. 16 pp., complete, disbound.

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Two black teamsters duel on the front page; the text of the Emancipation Proclamation is printed on page 2; the execution of 38 Indian murderers at Mankato, Minnesota on page 4, Thomas Nast centerfold: “The War in the West, the War in the Border States.”

Also, illustrations: Winslow Homer, “A Shell in the Rebel Trenches”; a map of Mississippi; the “Reception of the Authorities of New Orleans by General Butler”; “General Bank’s Forces Landing at Baton Rouge, Louisiana”; “Brigadier General James Blunt”; “Brigadier General John M’Neil”; and a cartoon of a black man celebrating his emancipation by declaring himself no longer part of a farm’s livestock, but instead a man.

Item #H 1-17-1863, $250

Democratic Broadside Shows
the Limitations of Reconstruction

[RECONSTRUCTION; RACISM], Broadside. “Democratic National Union - No Negro Suffrage” [Ohio, 1866], 3” x 11”, 1 p.

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Typical of the populist racism characterizing Democratic Party politics immediately after the Civil War, this party ticket contains the names of local candidates for office, including Brevet Brigadier General Benjamin Lefevre. A native Ohioan, Lefevre served throughout the war, entering politics when peace was declared, but only after breaking an engagement with a Southern belle. He served as a congressman from Ohio throughout reconstruction.

Item #20537, $360

Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper with United States Colored Troop (USCT) Images

[AFRICAN-AMERICAN SOLDIERS], Newspapers. Frank Leslie’s Illustrated, December 13, and December 20, 1862, 16 pp. each. (Two issues)

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Two war-dated newspapers showing African Americans in the Civil War:

Frank Leslie’s Illustrated, December 20, 1862: “The South Carolina Loyal Colored Regiment in Action,” including “Picking off Rebel Sharpshooters.”  And, “The Negro Drivers of the Baggage Train.”

Frank Leslie’s Illustrated, December 13, 1862: Contrabands looking on at “Camp at Stafford’s Store Virginia.”

Item #22483.01-.02, $375

Peter Cooper’s Letter to Lincoln Regarding Emancipation

PETER COOPER. [SLAVERY], Pamphlet. Letter of Peter Cooper, on Slave Emancipation, Loyal Publication Society, New York, 1862, 8pp., disbound.

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“It is a fact that the enslavement of human beings has so far infused its insidious poison into the very hearts of the Southern people, that they have come to believe and declare the evil of slavery to be a good, and to require the power of Government to be exerted to maintain, extend, and perpetuate an institution that enables thousands to sell their own children, to be enslaved, with all their posterity, into hopeless bondage....”

The founder of New York City’s Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art echoes the language and logic of the Emancipation Proclamation (as well as citing some Southern pro-slavery arguments to demonstrate their ridiculousness) in this open letter to President Lincoln. Cooper and the Cooper Union had long been advocates of abolition and both Lincoln and Frederick Douglass had famously lectured at the institution.

Item #23579, $400

“Free Pass... Constitutional Purifying Association”

[COPPERHEADS], Broadside, “A FREE PASS. Entitling the holder to the tender mercies of the CONSTITUTIONAL PURIFYING ASSOCIATION, Who will guarantee to cleanse every particle of Copperheadism from our nature - so you will be able to VOTE for an honest man without prejudice...” with several illustrations depicting “THE PURIFYING PROCESS.” [1864]. 6 x 9 in.

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Item #21986.03, $400

Blistering Border State Speech
against Wartime Confiscation of Slaves

[SLAVERY]. U.S. CONGRESS, Pamphlet. Speech of Hon. John S. Carlile, of Virginia, on the Bill to Confiscate the Property and Free the Slaves of Rebels; Delivered in the Senate …, March 11, 1862. Washington: Congressional Globe Office, 1862. 13 pp.

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Item #21856.02, $450

“The death of Patience, a Negro woman”

[AFRICAN-AMERICAN], Legal Document, 1839, Lawrence County, Alabama.

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Item #20766, $450

Frederick Douglass Signed Deed

FREDERICK DOUGLASS, Document Signed as Recorder of Deeds, Washington, D.C., 1881-1886. Approx. 3½ x 8½” folded.
Image shown is a sample. To request an image of the deed currently available please email us at info@sethkaller.com

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While Douglass’s letters are scarce, documents signed during his tenure as recorder of deeds for the District of Columbia can be had very reasonably.

Item #20409u, $495

Lincoln’s Compensated Emancipation Proposal

[ABRAHAM LINCOLN], Newspaper. Philadelphia Inquirer. Philadelphia, Pa., March 7, 1862. 8 pp., 15½ x 20½ in. With “Message from the President...Resolved, That the United States ought to co-operate with any State which may adopt gradual abolition of slavery.” [Printing Lincoln’s March 5 message to Congress on page 1.]

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The United States is the only nation in history to end slavery through Civil War. Nations as diverse as Russia, the British Empire, France, Brazil, and others around the world ended their reliance on slave labor through legislative means that included some form of compensation to slave owners for their lost “assets.” Here, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports on the front page that Lincoln presented a special message to Congress with a plan to end slavery through compensation. There would be no takers among the slaveholding border states.

Item #30001.28, $500

Fisk University Co-Founder John Ogden Asks Merriam Publishers if the Gift of a Pictorial Dictionary Was Meant for Him or the University

JOHN OGDEN, Autograph Letter Signed, to George and Charles Merriam. Nashville, Tenn., Oct. 18, 1869. 1 p., 8½ x 5¼ in. On Fisk University letterhead.

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In this brief note, Ogden thanks the famous Springfield, Massachusetts dictionary publishers the Merriams for a gift of a copy of their Pictorial Dictionary. Ogden references one “Mr. Gamble” as having stated that the volume was intended as a personal gift, but notes that the dictionary has “the name of our institution inscribed upon, or rather in it, from which I infer you intended it for the institution.” He then asks the Merriams to “decide the quarrel.”

Item #24172.01-.02, $550

Charles Sumner Calls for a Zone of Freedom to Contain and Transform the Slave States

CHARLES SUMNER, Autograph Quotation Signed, from a speech given at the Cooper Institute in New York City on July 11, 1860, “The Republican Party; Its Origin, Necessity and Permanence.” Boston, July 25, 1860. 1 p., 5 x 8 in.

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Item #24704, $750

The Success of Black Troops At Petersburg, Virginia, Under Butler

[CIVIL WAR], Broadside. New England Loyal Publication Society No. 200. Boston, Mass., June 27, 1864. 1 p., 9 x 10¾ in.

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“They grinned and pushed on, and with a yell that told the southern chivalry their doom, [they] rolled irresistibly over and into the work.”

Item #23626, $750

Charles Sumner Writes to
a Quaker Peace Advocate and Abolitionist

CHARLES SUMNER (1811-74), Autograph Letter Signed. Boston, October 27, 1861. To Joshua P. Blanchard, 1 p.

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“My dear Sir, I always read you writings with interest & sympathy. We are both arriving at the same results; for we both hate Slavery & love Peace...”

Senator Sumner of Massachusetts was a leading abolitionist, intimate of Lincoln, and radical republican. Before the Civil War, he joined the ranks of abolitionism’s martyrs when he was savagely attacked on the floor of the Senate by Congressman Preston Brooks in consequence of remarks that Sumner made about Brooks’ relative, Senator Andrew Butler of South Carolina. Sumner never fully recovered.

Item #20532, $850

Frederick Douglass Signed Deed

FREDERICK DOUGLASS, Document Signed as recorder of deeds, Washington, D.C., 1881-1886. Approx. 3½ x 8½” folded. Sample Frame pictured.

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While Douglass’s letters are scarce, documents signed during his tenure as recorder of deeds for the District of Columbia can be had very reasonably.

Item #20409, $895

Discontent with Gilded Age Presidential Politics
and the Influence of “the negro vote”

WILLIAM BEACH LAWRENCE, Autograph Letter Signed, to Henry Anthony. Newport [R.I.], November 25, 1872. 4 pp.

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A detailed, despairing letter on campaign politics after the reelection of Ulysses S. Grant. Lawrence observes the humiliating defeat of Democrats and “Liberal Republicans” – who united behind Horace Greeley because of corruption in the Grant administration – in the Election of 1872. Lawrence laments the elevation of personality over merit and virtue in elections, an observation which resonates today. He also expresses concern about how newly enfranchised African Americans tended to vote.  “The negroes are naturally disposed to support those who are in power & whom they invest with superior dignity, on account of the possession of power. …the extraordinary denouement of the Cincinnati Convention has placed in bold relief the mode most unsatisfactory to an intelligent people, by which party conventions are constituted & which are readily made, the instruments of the vilest partisan combinations, carried on by men without character & without principle.

Item #20020, $950

Boston Congregational Society Sermons

THEODORE PARKER, Signed Book. Two sermons preached before the Twenty-Eighth Congregational Society in Boston...On leaving old and entering new place of worship. Boston: 1853. 1st ed. 8vo. 56pp. Inscribed by Parker.

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Item #21288, $950

New Hampshire Ridicules South Carolina’s Attempts
to Game the System After Rejecting the 14th Amendment

[AFRICAN AMERICAN], Broadside. “Part of a Speech of the N. H. “Champion of Democracy” on the Negro Question,” no place, [New Hampshire], c. 1867. 1 p., 9½ x 13½ in.

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Item #22840, $1,000
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