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Rare New York Senate Print of Proposed State Law to Combat the Dred Scott Decision

SLAVERY AND ABOLITION—NEW YORK STATE, New York Senate. “An Act To secure Freedom to all persons within this State,” Edward M. Madden, April 9, 1857, Passed the Assembly on April 17; failed in the Senate. Printed with numbered lines for the use of the Senate. 1 p., 6.5 x 11.5 in.

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Every slave … who shall come or be brought, or be involuntarily in this state shall be free.

Item #23389.07, $2,500

An Overseer is Guilty of Murdering His Slave
by “Stocks, Starvation and Lashes.”

[SLAVERY], Manuscript Document Signed by George Newman, Edward T. Smith, Sheppard Taylor, Elijah Norman, Hezekiah Kibbee, David Collins, and Daniel Greenleaf. Adams County, Mississippi, December 16, 1821, 1p., 8 5/8 x 12 3/8 in.

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A Mississippi inquest holds a slave overseer accountable for killing a slave.

Item #22479, $2,000

Lincoln Reads the Emancipation Proclamation to His Cabinet

[ABRAHAM LINCOLN], Print. The First Reading of the Emancipation Proclamation Before the Cabinet. Engraved by Alexander Hay Ritchie, after 1864 painting of Francis Bicknell Carpenter. New York: Alexander H. Ritchie, 1866. 36 x 24 in.

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An engraving by Alexander Hay Ritchie commemorates the moment Lincoln first presented the Emancipation Proclamation to his Cabinet.

Item #25617.02, $1,950

Dewey Attacks FDR’s Running Mate Harry Truman for Alleged Ku Klux Klan Ties

[THOMAS E. DEWEY], Poster. Anti-Truman “Vote for Dewey: Kill the Klan” Presidential Election Poster, picturing Truman in a Ku Klux Klan robe with a lynching party in the background. 1944. 1 p., 28 x 41 in.

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I should be very happy to run with Harry Truman. He’ll bring real strength to the ticket!

This anti-Klan message would not have helped Dewey in the South; white southerners voted solidly Democratic from 1876 through 1964, while African Americans were prevented from voting. So, this poster was meant to appeal to Catholic and immigrant voters, whom the Klan targeted, as well as to black voters in northern cities.

Item #26053, $1,900

Amistad Slave Revolt Supreme Court Opinion, in Washington, D.C. Newspaper

[AMISTAD], Newspaper. Daily National Intelligencer, March 15, 1841. Washington, DC: Joseph Gales and William W. Seaton. 4 pp.

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The story of La Amistad, its dramatic capture by Africans aboard, and the resulting lawsuits gained international attention from 1839 to 1841. Abolitionists rallied to the cause of freeing the Africans transported illegally across the Atlantic into Spanish slavery, while proslavery advocates saw the case as an assault on property rights. This issue presents the opinion of the U.S. Supreme Court on the case, starting on the front page.

Item #25678, $1,900

William Monroe Trotter - the first African American to earn a Phi Beta Kappa key at Harvard - pushes a petition calling for mercy for still imprisoned soldiers of the 24th US Colored Infantry

WILLIAM MONROE TROTTER, Typed Letter Signed, to Albert P. Wadleigh, Boston, February 1, 1924. With a blank printed petition to President Calvin Coolidge, and an envelope to return the petition to the National Equal Rights League in Boston. 2 pp.

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To free by pardon or on parole the Colored soldiers of the gallant 24th in Fort Leavenworth federal prison already so long for retaliation, poorly proven or not proven at all, against goading insult and provocation and insult to women of their race. We do now ask whether you will grant this special plea for clemency.

The Secretary of the National Equal Rights League writes to a Massachusetts state senator asking for his support for clemency for black soldiers imprisoned at Fort Leavenworth. The drive on behalf of soldiers convicted of participation in the 1917 Houston riot, resulted in 124,000 signatures, and reduction in the sentences of the 54 soldiers still in prison. (19 of the soldiers had already been executed).

Item #24171, $1,750

Prosecuting 1794 Slave Trade Act Violation, Washington’s First U.S. Attorney for New York Seeks Aid from Pennsylvania Counterpart

RICHARD HARISON, Document Signed as U.S. Attorney for the District of New York, December 3, 1796. 1p, 9.5” x 15.75”. To William Rawle, U.S. Attorney for Pennsylvania, requesting aid in securing a witness in cases pending in the District Court to prosecute violations of the Slave Trade Act of 1794.

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“The principal witness is supposed to have been prevailed upon, by undue Methods, to quit this District…”

Item #26786, $1,500

Slavery Divides New York Legislature in 1844

[SLAVERY AND ABOLITION—NEW YORK STATE], New York Assembly. Concurrent Resolutions against U.S. House of Representatives “gag rule,” Samuel Stevens, February 16, 1844, Not passed. 1 p., 6 ¾ x 12 in. Together with: New York Assembly. Concurrent Resolutions against Congressional interference with slavery in the states, Thomas N. Carr, March 12, 1844. Not passed. 1 p., 6¾ x 12 in. Two items.

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Resolved, That the legislature of this state deem the right of petitioning congress for relief against any and all manner of grievances a sacred right, solemnly guaranteed by the constitution of the United States to every human being within the territory thereof….

            vs.

Resolved, That Congress has no power under the constitution, to interfere with or control the domestic institutions of the several states; and that such states are the sole and proper judges of every thing appertaining to their own affairs, not prohibited by the constitution; that all efforts of the abolitionists or others, made to induce Congress to interfere with questions of slavery…are calculated to lead to the most alarming and dangerous consequences….

Item #23389.02-.03, $1,500

Boston Anti-Slavery Broadside “Call for a Convention”—Launching the Republican Party in Massachusetts

MASSACHUSETTS, Broadside, “Call for a Convention”, 1p on a folded pale blue sheet, 5” x 7.75”, Boston, circa 1855. Flattened folds, scattered foxing, repair at verso, remnants of prior mounting, else Very Good.

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“The People of Massachusetts who are opposed to the extension of slavery, are requested to assemble in Public Primary Meetings in their several towns and cities, and elect delegates, in the proportion of three delegates for each representatives…”

Item #26782, $1,450

A Copperhead Newspaper Prints, Then Criticizes,
the Emancipation Proclamation

[ABRAHAM LINCOLN]. EMANCIPATION PROCLAMATION, Newspaper. New York Journal of Commerce. New York, N.Y., January 3, 1863. 4 pp., 24 x 32½ in.

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An early report of the Emancipation Proclamation, where the editors describe Lincoln’s bold move as “a farce coming in after a long tragedy....Most of the people regard it as a very foolish piece of business.”

Item #22448.01, $1,450

Founding Address of National Republican Party to Combat the “Aggressions and Usurpations of the Slave Power…. Declaration of the Principles and Purposes”

[REPUBLICAN PARTY. ELECTION OF 1856], Address of the Republican Convention at Pittsburgh [Pennsylvania], February 22, 1856. The Aggressions and Usurpations of the Slave Power. Declaration of the Principles and Purposes of the Republican Party. Pamphlet. [np: 1856]. 15 pp. Caption title, as issued.

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The Republican Party’s historic Convention Address, preparatory to its first nominating convention in June, argued that “the Government of the United States is not administered in accordance with the Constitution, or for the preservation and prosperity of the American Union; but that its powers are systematically wielded for the promotion and extension of the Interest of Slavery.” Despite the “sentiment of the Founding Fathers,” who sought to contain slavery, the country’s history demonstrates “the progress of slavery towards ascendancy in the federal government.” The Convention urges adherents to send delegates to Philadelphia in June, “to nominate candidates for the Presidency and Vice-Presidency of the United States.”

Item #22810, $1,350

Oval Salt Print of Famed Abolitionist John Brown

[JOHN BROWN], Oval Salt Print, with a printed signature, “Your Friend, John Brown” affixed at bottom, ca. 1858-1859. No studio mark. 1 p., 5¼ x 7¼ in. oval on 7-x-9-in. mount affixed to a 9¾-x-11¾-in. scrapbook page.

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In May 1858, Martin M. Lawrence (1807-1859) took a photograph of John Brown at his studio at 381 Broadway in New York City, where he had worked as a daguerreotypist since 1842. He took it at the request of Dr. Thomas H. Webb (1801-1866) of Boston, Secretary of the New England Emigrant Aid Company. In November 1859, shortly before Brown’s execution, an engraving based on this photograph appeared on the cover of Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper.

Item #26463, $1,250

Stirring Pamphlet Defense of Abner Kneeland in His Massachusetts Trials for Blasphemy

[CIVIL RIGHTS], Pamphlet. A Review of the Prosecution Against Abner Kneeland, for Blasphemy. By a Cosmopolite [likely David Henshaw]. Boston: n.p., 1835. Includes a two-page manuscript laid in, “From the Boston Advocate, Nov. 19, 1834,” describing Kneeland’s trial and his representation of himself. 32 pp., 5¼ x 8⅝ in.

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In this pamphlet, a pseudonymous author defends rights of conscience, speech, and the press, amidst the trials of Abner Kneeland for violating a rarely enforced 1782 Massachusetts statute against blasphemy. Between 1834 and 1838, Kneeland’s words were the subject of four jury trials, two convictions, and a Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court review of his conviction before he served sixty days in prison.

Item #25429, $1,250

Quaker Farmer Writes to Congressman Morgan to Condemn Stephen Douglas’ Nebraska Bill Allowing Slavery in New Territories

JOHN SEARING, Autograph Letter Signed, to Edwin B. Morgan, February 20, 1854, Poplar Ridge, New York. 2 pp. plus integral address leaf, 7¾ x 9¾ in.

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what shall I say of Douglas’s infamous Nebraska bill now I suppose pending in the Senate  I feel indeed at a loss for language to convey my abhorrence of so vile a scheme.... I never knew such united indignation against any thing as pervades the community here respecting the bill…

A Quaker farmer in western New York writes to his representative in Congress, mentioning a petition (not present) and universal opposition. He praises Morgan’s letter to New Yorkers as “plain unvarnished protest against wickedness.” Within three months, the Nebraska bill became the Kansas-Nebraska Act.

Item #25145, $1,250

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, $1,250

Gerald Ford Defends His Early Commitment to Civil Rights

GERALD R. FORD, Typed Letter Signed, to Arthur F. Bukowski, January 28, 1950, Washington, D.C. 2 pp., 8 x 10½ in. On Ford’s Congressional letterhead.

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This fascinating letter by freshman Congressman and future president Gerald R. Ford to a Catholic college president in Michigan defends his early record on civil rights legislation.

Personally, I have lived by and believe in the fundamental principle of equality of opportunity regardless of race, color or creed. I am in favor of such a policy for all citizens and will cooperate to accomplish that objective by the most practical and effective methods.

Item #26024, $1,200

Amistad Slave Revolt Supreme Court Decision Announced

[AMISTAD], Newspaper. Daily National Intelligencer, March 10, 1841. Washington, DC: Joseph Gales and William W. Seaton. 4 pp.

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The story of La Amistad, its dramatic capture by Africans aboard, and the resulting lawsuits gained international attention from 1839 to 1841. Abolitionists rallied to the cause of freeing the Africans transported illegally across the Atlantic into Spanish slavery, while proslavery advocates saw the case as an assault on property rights.

Item #25677, $1,150

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

“The Slave Sale, or Come Who Bids?” Abolitionist Sheet Music

HENRY RUSSELL and ANGUS REACH, Sheet Music. The Slave Sale, or Come, Who Bids? 4 pp., with elaborate half-page vignette on the first page, showing various scenes of the slave trade. London: Musical Boquet Office. [Sheard, 1855]. “Composed by Henry Russell for his New Entertainment ‘Negro Life’ - Words by Angus B. Reach Esq.”

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“Planters! Here’s a chance, Here are limbs to work or dance…”

Scarce English abolitionist music signed in print by composer Henry Russell on the front page.

Item #24738, $750
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