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John Brown Accepts Money, and a Pair of Pants, for the Anti-Slavery Cause – A Year to the Day Before His Execution for Leading the Failed Harper’s Ferry Slave Insurrection

JOHN BROWN, Autograph Document Signed Twice. Receipt to Samuel L. Adair, Osawatomie, Kansas, December 2, 1858, 1 p. 3½ x 7½ in.

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Item #23687.01, $12,000

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

While Running for the Democratic Presidential Nomination, Senator Barack Obama on Transparency and Limiting the Power of Special Interests

BARACK OBAMA, Typed Manuscript with autograph corrections. [Chicago, Ill., ca. May 21, 2007]. 2 pp, 8 ½ x 11 in. With 112 handwritten words in Obama’s red ink and pencil and 3 holes punched at left edge of each sheet. Published on the “Commentary” page of the Chicago Tribune, May 21, 2007.

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“When it comes to reforming Washington … Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis had the right idea. Sixty years ago he said, ‘Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants; electric light the most efficient policeman.’ Brandeis was a progressive responding to the excesses of the Gilded Age. Nearly a century later, we find Washington in need of a lot of sunlight and disinfectant….

I’m not perfect. In my current pres. campaign, I shall have to raise money, and still have relationships w/lobbyists. But at least people will know who those relationships are...”

Over a year before he became the Democratic candidate for President, Senator Barack Obama addressed the issue of lobbyists, special interest groups, and campaign financing.  Obama’s message was published in the Chicago Tribune on May 21, 2007.  Obama’s careful edits, with over 100 words and many strike-outs in his hand, likely came too late for the editorial page deadline of this major metropolitan newspaper. Most of the text Obama wished to be struck remained, and several phrases he did not strike through (noted below in parentheses) were removed, possibly by the editorial page editor.

Item #22930, $7,500

The Emancipation Proclamation:
A Miniature Edition of the Document that Saved America

ABRAHAM LINCOLN, Pamphlet. Proclamation of Emancipation, by the President of the United States, January 1st, 1863. [Boston, Mass., John Murray Forbes, ca. Jan. 20, 1863]. 8 pp., plus printed wraps, 2¼ x 3¼ in.

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“All persons held as slaves within said designated States

and parts of States are and henceforward shall be free.”

Item #24310, $22,000

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

Unusual Oyster Bay NY Slave Manumission

[SLAVERY], Manuscript Document Signed. New York, N.Y., May 21, 1813. 1 p., 8 x 9½ in.

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Samuel Young and Zebulon Frost, “Overseers of the Poor of Oysterbay” certify that a slave named Lizzie is freed.

Item #23621, ON HOLD

The Emancipation Proclamation, Gen. Orders No. 1, First Edition of First War Department Printing, Bound with First Editions of Gen. Orders 2-201, Jan. to June 1863

ABRAHAM LINCOLN, Printed Document. Emancipation Proclamation. Signed in type by Lincoln, Secretary of State William H. Seward, and Adjutant General Lorenzo Thomas. General Order No. 1, War Department, Adjutant General’s Office, Washington January 2, 1863, 3pp., intended for all military commanders in the field. Dated in print January 2, but, consistent with the time it normally took for military orders to be published, it likely came out closer to January 7. Earlier separate printings are very seldom available. (Eberstadt: Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation # 12.)

Bound together for Army paymaster Major N.S. Brinton with a 26-page handwritten subject index followed by separately printed and paginated orders from Jan. 1 to June 30, 1863. Brinton or a clerk apparently wrote the index as the orders were received. Since a printed index would have been available soon after the last order, it was likely bound in 1863. This sammelband also contains General Orders Affecting the Volunteer Force, Adjutant General’s Office, 1862. Washington: Government Printing office, [ca. March] 1863, with printed subject index, pp I – LVI, and pages 1-158.

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“All persons held as slaves within said designated States and parts of States are and henceforward shall be free.”

Also Bound with an 1863 Compilation of General Orders Affecting the Volunteer Force… for Jan. to June 1862, including the Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation.

Item #23692, $4,500

A Dredful Decision, First Edition

BENJAMIN C. HOWARD, Book. Report of the Decision of the Supreme Court of the United States and the Opinions of the Judges thereof, in the Case of Dred Scott versus John F.A. Sandford, December Term, 1856., Washington, D.C.: Cornelius Wendell, 1857. With two ownership signatures of “John R. Slack / Sept. 1857.” Slack was a N.J. attorney who had previously helped win a fugitive slave case. First edition. Fine condition. 239 pp. 5½ x 8¾ in.

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In Dred Scott v. Sandford (1857), the Supreme Court declared that blacks could not be United States citizens and that the 1820 Missouri Compromise was unconstitutional. The decision inflamed sectional tensions and helped trigger the Civil War. The decision was published simultaneously in New York and Washington, D.C. Both are considered the First Edition. In his “House Divided” Speech, Lincoln replied that the decision did “obvious violence to the plain unmistakable language” of the Declaration of Independence and our other founding documents.

Item #22178, $3,500

Martin Luther King, Jr. Autograph Manuscript Page for His First Book, Stride Towards Freedom

MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR, Autograph Manuscript, a page from a late draft of Chapter 11 of his book, Stride Toward Freedom. Montgomery, n.d. [circa 1957]. The entire text, including corrections, is King’s hand. 1p., 8½ x 11 in.

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“Virtually every national or international union has clear policies of nondiscrimination ... But in spite of this some unions, governed by the racist ethos, have contributed to the degraded economic status of the Negroes…”

Item #23300.03, $17,500

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

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

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

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

Eleanor Roosevelt on the Meaning of Civil Rights

ELEANOR ROOSEVELT, Typed Letter Signed, to “Harry,” Washington, D.C., February 19, 1944. 2 pp., 6¼ x 9¼ in. On White House stationery.

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“Something has to happen to people’s souls before they are going to give the rights of citizenship to all the people of our country, regardless of color or creed. That does not mean you have to ask them to dinner. It only means giving them the rights that go with citizenship.”

Item #23592, $15,000

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

“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

Anti-Slavery Broadside: “Comparison of Products, Population, and Resources of the Free And Slave States”

[ANTI-SLAVERY], Broadside, “Comparison of Products, Population, and Resources of the Free And Slave States.” 1861. 14.25 x 22 in., multi-colored, by John Batchelder, printed by Welch, Bigelow, and Co., Cambridge, Mass.

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This chart compares free and slave state output in such areas as the number of schools, newspapers and periodicals, population, slave population, literacy rates, manufacturing, and agricultural output.

Item #22049.02, $1,100

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

Cinque, Leader of the Amistad Revolt Autograph at an Abolitionist Fundraiser in Philadelphia

CINQUE, Autograph as Leader of the Amistad Captives. Philadelphia, Pa., May 27, 1841. 1 p. Also signed by F-foole [Fuli]. With two endorsements in unknown hand, the later one possibly written by Charles Evans in pencil.

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Cinque was an almost mythic figure during the controversies and legal cases surrounding the slave ship Amistad in 1839-1841. He freed himself and the other Africans in the hold of the Amistad, initiated the revolt that captured the ship, and led the ships’ voyage from waters near Cuba to the United States. After being captured off the coast of Long Island, while imprisoned in Connecticut as the Africans’ status was debated by the U.S. Supreme Court, Cinque learned to speak and write English. (That they spoke Mende was discovered by a linguistics professor at Yale, who then found translators—two escaped slaves who spoke both languages).

After winning their freedom, Cinque and some others embarked on a lecture tour to New York and Philadelphia in May 1841 to raise funds for their return home. Their enthusiastic reception by the abolitionist movement made for a busy schedule.  Among the stops, Cinque visited the Lombard Street School for black children in Philadelphia. 

This autograph, signed at the Lombard school on May 27, 1841, is one of only two or three known original signatures of Cinque.

Item #21884, PRICE ON REQUEST

Woman’s Rights Leader Anna Howard Shaw
Writes About Frederick Douglass and his white wife Helen Pitts

[ANTI-SUFFRAGE; RACISM], Pamphlet. “Dr. Anna Howard Shaw and Frederick Douglass.” Ca. 1915, following publication of Anna Howard Shaw’s book, The Story of a Pioneer, using her words from the 1903 Suffrage Convention in New Orleans to argue against giving women the right to vote, while attacking the 15th Amendment. 3 pp. 9 x 12 in.

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Item #22491, $475
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