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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

Bold Cartoon on Fugitive Slave Law

[Slavery], E. C. [possibly Edward Williams Clay], “Practical Illustration of the Fugitive Slave Law,” Political Cartoon, 1851. 1 p., 15 x 11½ in.

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This political cartoon vividly illustrates the conflicts over the operation of the strengthened Fugitive Slave Law, passed by Congress as part of the Compromise of 1850. At the left, an African-American woman cries, “Oh Massa Garrison, protect me!!!” Beside her stand abolitionists William Lloyd Garrison and Frederick Douglass, armed with pistols. Garrison reassures her, “Do’nt be alarmed Susanna you’re safe enough.” At center right, a figure representing the slave interests rides atop Daniel Webster, a chief architect of the Compromise, who is down on his hands and knees. The figure says, “Do’nt back out Webster, if you do we’re ruin’d,” and Webster, clutching the Constitution, responds, “This, though Constitutional, is extremely disagreeable.” Another proslavery figure carries large volumes labeled “Law & Gospel” and declares, “We will give these fellows a touch of Old South Carolina,” while another says, “I goes in for Law & Order.” In the background, from the “Temple of Liberty” wave two flags with the inscriptions, “A day, an hour, of virtuous Liberty, is worth an age of Servitude” and “All men are born free & equal.

The artist "E.C." is possibly Edward Williams Clay, but cataloging at the Library of Congress concludes that “the signature, the expressive animation of the figures, and especially the political viewpoint are, however, uncharacteristic of Clay.”

Item #27427, $4,500

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

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

“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

“Black Republican” Salt River Ticket

[RACISM], Bright green card reading “The Steamer !!! Black Republican !!! Will leave This Day, (via Kansas) for Salt River You are respectfully invited to accompany the party Free. Reinforcements will be sent up in November next,” 1856, [Philadelphia, PA].1 p., 3¼ x 2 in.

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Item #26460.01, $500

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, ON HOLD

The Dreadful Dred Scott Decision, First Edition with Added Illustrations

[Slavery], 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, DC: 239 pp. With engraved portraits of Dred and Harriet Scott from Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper, June 27, 1857, inserted on lined blue paper, a portrait of Scott's daughters pasted on page 633, a few early ink annotations. Published simultaneously in New York and Washington, D.C., both are considered the First Edition.

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In Dred Scott v. Sandford (1857), Chief Justice Roger Taney wrote for a 6-2 majority, declaring that all blacks, slaves as well as free, were not and could never become citizens of the United States. The court also declared the 1820 Missouri Compromise, and any law that prohibited slavery in a territory, to be unconstitutional, and that slaves did not become free when taken into free territory.

Item #26591, $6,000

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, SOLD — please inquire about other items

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, $3,500

Saving Free-Born African American from Life of Slavery

[SLAVERY AND ABOLITION—NEW YORK STATE], New York Senate. “An Act To remunerate James Bennett for expenses incurred and services rendered in procuring the release of Anthony Adams, a colored citizen of this State, from imprisonment in the jail of Edenton, North Carolina, to prevent him from being sold into slavery,” Edward M. Madden, February 28, 1857, Passed April 15, 1857. 1 p., 6½ x 11⅞ in. , 4/15/1857.

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Item #23389.06, $2,500

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, SOLD — please inquire about other items

John Brown’s “Fort” as Tourist Attraction

[JOHN BROWN], Photograph of “John Brown’s Fort,” [William C. Russell] ca. 1888-1891. Baltimore: Russell & Co. 9¼ x 7 in.

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Item #27079.99, $1,850

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

Frederick Douglass Calls for Equal Opportunity in New York (SOLD)

[FREDERICK DOUGLASS], Newspaper. New York Tribune, New York, N.Y., February 13, 1862, 8 pp., 15½ x 20½ in. Disbound.

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“A Black Man on the War, An Address By Frederick Douglass at the Cooper Institute” occupies four columns on page 7.

Item #22922, SOLD — please inquire about other items

Reporting the Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation
and the Union Victory That Precipitated It (SOLD)

[EMANCIPATION PROCLAMATION], Newspaper. Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper, New York, N.Y., October 11, 1862. 16 pp., 11 x 16 in.

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Reporting the Battle of Antietam, the bloodiest day in American history, and the occasion for Lincoln to issue his preliminary Emancipation Proclamation warning the South to return to the Union or face losing their slaves.

Item #22501.41, SOLD — please inquire about other items

Abraham Lincoln Signed Check to “William Johnson (Colored)”—Who Accompanied the President to Antietam and Gettysburg

ABRAHAM LINCOLN, Partially Printed Document Signed, Riggs & Co. Bank check, October 27, 1862, Washington, D.C. 1 p., 7½ x 2¾ in. Filled out and signed by Lincoln as president, payable to “William Johnson (Colored)” for $5.

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Johnson accompanied Lincoln from Springfield to Washington, D.C., served as the President’s valet, and traveled with him to Antietam (25 days before this check) and a year later to Gettysburg.

Item #27740, $180,000

“MEN OF COLOR To Arms! To Arms!” (SOLD)

Frederick Douglass, Broadside. “Men of Color / To Arms! To Arms!” Philadelphia: U.S. Steam-Power Book and Job Printing Establishment, Ledger Buildings, Third and Chestnut Streets, [ca. mid-June to mid-July, 1863.] Signed in type by Frederick Douglass and 54 others, including many prominent African American citizens. 1 p., 44 x 87 in.; framed to 48 x 94 in.

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A monumental Frederick Douglass Civil War recruiting broadside.

This most dramatic and important recruiting poster signals a seismic shift in policy. African American men had joined Union forces in limited numbers from the start of the Civil War, but it took Abraham Lincoln’s signing of the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863, to officially allow, encourage, and remove barriers to their enlistment.

Item #22552, SOLD — please inquire about other items

Very Early State Department Printing of Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation and William Seward’s Cover Letter, Sent to American Minister in Argentina

ABRAHAM LINCOLN, Printed Circular, “By the President of the United States of America. A Proclamation.” First page: WILLIAM H. SEWARD, Printed Letter Signed by Secretary, to Robert C. Kirk, January 3, 1863. [Washington: Government Printing Office, ca. January 5, 1863], 2 pp. on one folded sheet, 8¼ x 13 in. (pages 2 and 4 blank)

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“By virtue of the power, and for the purpose aforesaid, I do order and declare that all persons held as slaves within said designated States, and parts of States, are, and henceforward shall be free; and that the Executive government of the United States, including the military and naval authorities thereof, will recognize and maintain the freedom of said persons…”

One of the first obtainable printed editions of Abraham Lincoln’s final Emancipation Proclamation, January 1863, issued by the State Department.

Item #27119.99, $115,000

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
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