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Frederick Douglass Encourages Writing on John Brown

FREDERICK DOUGLASS, Autograph Letter Signed to unknown correspondent. Washington, D.C., November 28, [no year]. 1 p.

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Douglass suggests to the author of a work on John Brown, the abolitionist crusader who attempted to incite a slave rebellion in Virginia in 1859, that she attempt to have her lines published in a popular magazine. “I know of no better way to have the value of your lines on John Brown tested and made available than by offering them for publication …”

Item #21439.03, $10,500

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

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

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

Responding to the U.S. Supreme Court’s Invalidation of Anti-Discrimination Laws, a New Jersey Congressman Unsuccessfully Attempts to Ensure Civil Rights at the Start of the Jim Crow Era

[CIVIL RIGHTS]. JOHN HILL, Broadside. Assembly No 13., State of New Jersey. An Act to Prevent Discrimination against Any Person on Account of his Race, Creed or Color. Large folio sheet, with numbered lines, printed for the use of the legislature. [New Jersey], Introduced January 9, 1883.

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“Be it enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey, That no person shall be denied the full and equal enjoyment of the accommodations, advantages, facilities and privileges of all hotels, inns, taverns, restaurants, public conveyances on land or water, theatres and places of public resort or amusement, because of race, creed or color…”

Item #24742, $1,250

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

BLANCHE BRUCE, Document Signed. Land deed. Washington, D.C. October 2, 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 #22945.18, $125

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

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

Louis Armstrong describes his historic tour behind the Iron Curtain, and talks about lip salve and love

LOUIS ARMSTRONG, Autograph Letter Signed, to Erich Kauffmann, April 17, 1965, Corona, Queens, New York. On “Satchmo” stationery. 6 pp.

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“When two people loved each other like you & Hilde did you must feel contented… Stay happy. I preach those same words to Lucille Lots of times during our life together. I have so much happiness from the life she and I have already live together until I don’t want No Misery from which ever one should leave this EarthLAST’”

During the 1950s, the State Department sent jazz musicians on international goodwill tours. As a uniquely American form of music, jazz could display the best of American culture with artists like Dizzy Gillespie, Dave Brubeck, Duke Ellington, and Louis Armstrong. This letter, written to a German friend between his visits behind the Iron Curtain to East Berlin, East Germany, and Budapest, Hungary, reflects his busy schedule at the height of his popularity in 1965.

Item #25336, $2,500

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
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