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Harvard’s 1786 Graduating Class and Their Theses, Dedicated to Gov. James Bowdoin

HARVARD COLLEGE, Broadside. List of Graduating Students and Theses for Disputation. Boston, Massachusetts: Edmund Freeman, 1786. 1 p., 16 x 24 in.


Interesting broadside in Latin issued for Harvard University’s 1786 commencement lists Latinized names of 45 graduating students. Among the graduates are Joseph Warren (1768-1790), the son of prominent Boston physician and Harvard graduate Joseph Warren, who was killed at the Battle of Bunker Hill in 1775; Boston attorney Timothy Bigelow (1767-1821); U.S. Senator Christopher G. Champlin (1768-1840); Boston attorney John Lowell Jr. (1769-1840), whose grandson served as president of Harvard in the early twentieth century; U.S. Senator Thomas W. Thompson (1766-1821); and Massachusetts Chief Justice Isaac Parker (1768-1830).

Item #23331, $1,950

The Alexander Hamilton Collection:
A Show-Stopping Gathering of Highly Important
Original Letters, Documents and Imprints

[ALEXANDER HAMILTON], The Alexander Hamilton Collection contains hundreds of documents from leaders, soldiers, citizens and the press, written when the Revolutionary War and Founding were current events. The Collection includes powerful letters and documents of Hamilton, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, and Aaron Burr, among many others.


(or, the Genius, Passions, and Foibles of the Founding Fathers)

We are pleased to offer a unique collection of original documents that made American history. These documents tell the story of the orphan immigrant founding father who fought for independence, founded our financial system, and fostered a government capable of surviving internal factions and foreign foes.

Item #24685, $3,800,000

Alexander Hamilton Writes a Female Friend in Puerto Rico, Sympathizing with the Perilous Condition of Haiti as French Control of the Island Deteriorates

ALEXANDER HAMILTON, Autograph Letter Signed with Initials, to Marie Jeanne Ledoux Caradeux de la Caye, Countess of Caradeux. November 1802. New York City. 1 p., 7¾ x 12⅝ in. Several words obscured by ink stain.


“The events of St Domingo chagrine us… [T]he disappointment to your views in that quarter contributes to render us extremely sensible to the disasters of that Colony. When will this disagreeable business end? But when would our interrogations finish, if we should attempt to unravel the very intricate and extraordinary plots in which the affairs of the whole world are embroiled at the present inexplicable conjuncture? We have nothing for it but patience and resignation, and to make the best of what we have without being over solicitous to ameliorate our conditions. This is now completely my philosophy.”

Item #24647, $20,000

Want of Chief Justice’s Salary Just One Example of Maryland’s Deep State Debt

ROBERT HANSON HARRISON, Autograph Letter Signed, to Walter Stone, March 12, 1788. 2 pp.


Robert Harrison attempts to find a way to get his salary for November 1787 through January 1788 by offering notes on the state treasurer to various merchants.

Item #22053, $450

Declaration Signer Robert Treat Paine Prosecutes Theft in Boston

ROBERT TREAT PAINE, Autograph Document Signed, Boston, September 7, 1789. 1 p., 6 x 7 in.


“since the dismission of the Grand Jury… James Ferrel resident at said Boston Mariner… with force and arms feloniously did break up and enter a certain vessel viz a ship called the Elizabeth in the Possession and under the Care of Francis Wenham Master of the same and one Sattin figured Wastcoat of the value of three pounds…”

Item #24332.02, $1,250

N.J. Congressman Praises Andrew Jackson After His 1824 Presidential Election Loss in the House of Representatives

GEORGE HOLCOMBE, Autograph Letter Signed, to William Imlay, February 10, 1825. 1 p., 7⅞ x 9 ¾ in.


The great struggle is over…. no one, friend nor foe, expected a defeat, so sudden & signal. But we must submit like good citizens; I hope for better & brighter times. The Genl bears his disappointment, as he always bore his victories, like—a hero.

Congressman George Holcombe, a loyal Jacksonian, bemoans the loss of the election. New Jersey had given its one vote in the House of Representatives election to Jackson.

Item #24286.01, $750

Traitor General James Wilkinson re Intercepted Letters, Praises American Reaction to the XYZ Affair

JAMES WILKINSON, Autograph Letter Signed, to Anthony Walton White, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, May 2, 1798. 1 p., 7¾ x 12½ in.


I have had many Letters intercepted, in search for my politics, so much the better, yet I think it might be worthy Enquiry, to know the fate of yours & Mr. Bootes…

The french are at length unmasqued, & stand confessed a band of freebooters, unequaled among civilized nations. The Conduct of our Envoys has been noble, that of our President decisive.

Wilkinson was undoubtedly in the pay of the Spanish, but somehow managed to retain the trust of each president from Washington to Madison. He was acquitted by several public inquiries and courts martial despite his involvement in the Burr conspiracy and other intrigues. A month after this letter, Wilkinson left Pittsburgh. Going downriver, he stayed Fort Massac in July and August. In August 1799, Major General Alexander Hamilton ordered Wilkinson to establish a base to seize the lower Mississippi Valley and New Orleans if the Quasi-War turned into open war with France or its ally Spain; luckily it did not.

Item #24489, $1,750

A Fatal Duel Set Up by N.C. Congressman & Later Republic of Texas’s Secretary of State

SAMUEL PRICE CARSON, Autograph Letter Signed. Daring Former North Carolina Congressmen Dr. Robert B. Vance to challenge him to a duel, September 12, 1827. 2 pp. Browned paper, stain on verso, some losses on the edges and minor tears, but unique.


the malignant shafts of your disappointed ambition fell perfectly harmless at my feet. I am incapable of any revenge towards you & let me assure you that my chivalry would not permit me to avenge any rongs which you could offer… But if you are serious make good your bost—throw the gantlett upon nutrill ground....

Jacksonian Congressman Samuel P. Carson dares his recent opponent Dr. Robert B. Vance to challenge him to a duel. Carson had won Vance’s seat in 1825. In 1827, Vance tried to regain his old seat, in part by accusing Carson’s father of turning Tory during the Revolutionary War. Carson’s lopsided victory (by more than a two-to-one margin) apparently wasn’t enough. On November 5, 1827, the men met near Saluda Gap, perhaps just over the border into South Carolina, where dueling was legal until 1880. Vance withheld his shot. Carson did not. He seriously wounded Vance, who died the next day.

Item #24222, $2,500

Jefferson’s Autograph Notes Explaining Napier’s Rule on Spherical Triangles, a Branch of Geometry Crucial to Astronomy, Geodesy, Navigation, & Architecture

THOMAS JEFFERSON, Autograph Manuscript. Notes on Napier’s Theorem. [Monticello, Va.], [ca. March 18, 1814].


John Napier, who is also credited with inventing logarithms and pioneering the use of the decimal point, first published his rule in 1614. While spherical trigonometry was the foundation for many scientific pursuits including astronomy, celestial navigation, geodesy (the measurement and mathematical representation of the Earth), architecture, and other disciplines, Napier’s Theorum remained largely unknown in America because of its complexity. Since it was so important to his own scholarly pursuits, Jefferson, the Sage of Monticello, was the perfect person to school a professor friend on this important, but complicated mathematical formula.

For instance, a navigator’s distance and position can be determined by “solving” spherical triangles with latitude and longitude lines—essentially very large triangles laid out on a curved surface. Astronomers apply similar principles; stargazers imagine the sky to be a vast dome of stars, with triangles laid out on curved (in this case concave) surface. The distance of stars can be calculated by the viewer, who is considered to be standing at the center (the Earth) and looking up at stars and planets as if they were hung on the inside surface of the sphere. In architecture, spherical triangles fill the corner spaces between a dome that sits on foursquare arches—called a dome on pendentives.

Item #23358, $35,000

All in the Family – Alexander Hamilton Helps Manage his Brother-in-Law’s American Finances, and Coordinates Delivery of a Package that his Sister-in-Law (Angelica) Sent from Paris to his Wife (Eliza) and His Mother-in-law

ALEXANDER HAMILTON, Letter Signed in full “Alexander Hamilton,” to John Chaloner, New York, August 14, 1784. Sent copy (The Hamilton Papers at the Library of Congress has Hamilton’s retained draft). 2 pp., 8x 13 in.


Just months after founding the Bank of New York, Hamilton writes to Philadelphia merchant John Chaloner regarding financial transactions including the purchase by John Church of 25 shares of Bank stock. Hamilton also checks on a package sent to Hamilton’s wife Elizabeth from her sister Angelica Church, then in Paris.

Item #24857, $9,000

Rare same day broadside of John Adams’ Fourth State of the Union Address: Opening Washington D.C. as the Nation’s Capital

[JOHN ADAMS], Broadside, Supplement to the National Intelligencer. [Washington: Samuel Harrison Smith, November 22, 1800].


Adams’ historic fourth Annual Message to Congress—now known as the State of the Union Address—announces the establishment of the District of Columbia as the nation’s capital. The second President, who had just been defeated for re-election, optimistically discusses unprecedented economic growth, considers the recently consummated treaty of amity and commerce with Prussia, and focuses on the need for expanded naval forces and coastal fortifications, which he believes to be necessary given the Quasi-War with France.

A rare broadside extra edition: no institutional copies are listed in OCLC, although it is possible they exist in uncatalogued runs. The National Intelligencer, then in its second month in print, had moved to Washington at the behest of President-elect Thomas Jefferson.

Item #30028.06, ON HOLD

Celebrating LaFayette’s Visit in Music

[MARQUIS DE LAFAYETTE], CHRISTOPHER MEINEKE, Printed Sheet Music. “General Lafayette’s Grand March and Quickstep,” Baltimore: John Cole, ca. 1824. 3 pp.


When General Lafayette made a grand tour of the United States in 1824 and 1825, near the fiftieth anniversary of American independence, he visited Baltimore seven times. On one of those visits, he likely heard this march written by a local composer and church organist.

Item #23905.02, $375

Hamilton Fires Back: The Infamous Reynolds Pamphlet

ALEXANDER HAMILTON, Pamphlet. Observations on Certain Documents Contained in “The History of the United States for the Year 1796,” in Which the Charge of Speculation Against Alexander Hamilton, Late Secretary of the Treasury, is Fully Refuted. Written by Himself. Philadelphia: [William Duane], “Pro Bono Publico,” 1800. 37 pp. plus appendix (58 pp.). Leaves a2-a4 (pages 3-8) duplicated. In late 19th-century three-quarter morocco and marbled paper boards, spine gilt. Binding rubbed at extremities. Title page lightly foxed. 5 x 8¼ in.


“The charge against me is a connection with one James Reynolds for purposes of improper pecuniary speculation. My real crime is an amorous connection with his wife, for a considerable time with his privity and connivance, if not originally brought on by a combination of the husband and wife with the design to extort money from me.”

Item #24260, $13,500

Thomas Paine: “Contentment”

THOMAS PAINE, Autograph Poem Signed “T.P.,” to Mrs. Barlow. [c. 1798-1799]. 2 pp., 7¼ x 9⅜ in.


“This prayer is Common Sense./ Let others choose another plan,/ I mean no fault to find,/ The true Theology of Man/ Is happiness of Mind. T.P.”

The original manuscript of a poem by the great Revolutionary pamphleteer, Thomas Paine, written to Mrs. Joel Barlow, the wife of a famed American poet. In the poem, Paine explains his ideas on happiness and love and makes direct references to America and his most famous work, Common Sense. The poem, entitled “Contentment or, If You Please, Confession,” was written in response to a comment by Mrs. Barlow (the Barlows were living in Paris at the time). Turning away from what he calls “the superstition of scripture Religion,” Paine proposes a new religion—“happiness of mind.”

Item #21491.99, $100,000

Future President Van Buren Recommends a Man he Doesn’t Know to Secretary of War John C. Calhoun

MARTIN VAN BUREN, Autograph Letter Signed, August 1, 1821, 1 p.


Van Buren had served as Attorney General of New York from 1815 to 1819. His successor Samuel A. Talcott (1789-1836) asked the recently elected Senator from New York for a recommendation for an uncle of his wife. In response to Talcott’s request, Van Buren penned this letter to Secretary of War John C. Calhoun.

Item #23995.02, $750

Duel Challenge

CYRENUS FRENCH, Autograph Letter Signed. Grafton, 2 January 1790, to Col. Luke Drury, challenge to a duel for reconciliation of a disagreement between the two. Having been “denyed the Priviledge of Mutual conversation with you,” (and if they can not talk it over at a publick or private house), then “I am ready to meet you upon a Level – & axcept of any Equal Chance for satisfaction that you may propose – for I had rather finish a Quarrel than Live in Continuation…” Small hole in center from wax seal, causing loss of 5 letters.


Item #20639.27, $450

Timothy Pickering on His Successful Negotiation of 1791 Treaty with the Five Nations, Unrealistically Hoping for Peace with other Western Native Americans

TIMOTHY PICKERING, Autograph Letter Signed, likely to Samuel Hodgdon. August 25, 1791. Philadelphia, PA. 2 pp. 8 x 9¼ in.


from them no danger is to be apprehended: they are firmly resolved on peace…. I hope and trust the western campaign will succeed without bloodshed. Scott’s expedition was extremely fortunate; and must when combined with the consideration of the power of the main army, impel the hostile Indians if not to make, yet to accept of offers of peace...

Item #24376, $2,500

The Confederation Congress Requests Copies of State Laws to Distribute to all the States

CHARLES THOMSON, Letter Signed, to Governor Matthew Griswold of Connecticut, [Philadelphia], July 28, 1785. 1 p.


the object is, not merely to procure information to the federal Council, but to establish a mutual confidence and good understanding among the States, and that each may derive assistance in the great work of Legislation from the joint wisdom of the whole

Charles Thomson and Congress President John Hancock were the only two men actually to sign the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, and Thomson played a key role in the new government. Ultimately, the federal government embodied in the Constitution was necessary to forge the states into a nation. In the meantime, though, the Confederation Congress encouraged cooperation any way it could, including through the interchange of state laws. Here, Thomson sends a copy of the resolution to Governor Matthew Griswold of Connecticut and requests copies of all of Connecticut’s state legislation passed since September 1, 1774.

Item #24488, $9,500

A Federalist Congressman Writes to Another on the Impeachment of Judge Pickering, the Race Between Aaron Burr & Lewis Morris, the New Marine Corps, and New Orleans

KILLIAN K. VAN RENSSELAER, Autograph Letter Signed, March 5, 1804, to George Tibbits, 3 pp with integral address leaf free franked by Rensselaer as a Member of Congress. 8 x 12⅝ in.


“The Senate are on Pickerings impeachment…. Burr vs. Lewis is now the cause that is preparing for our State trial. Our Marine Corps is ordered to N. Orleans, where our new Brethren require more Bayonets, then representative government.

Two Federalist Congressmen, in the minority in the U.S. House of Representatives, correspond over the news from Congress and in New York during Aaron Burr’s run for New York governor and the organization of a government for the Louisiana Purchase.

Item #24705, $1,750

Hamilton’s Assumption Plan, Passed as Four Acts of Congress, Plus the Residence Act Quid-pro-quo

ALEXANDER HAMILTON, Each of the four Gazette of the United States, August 7, 14, 21, and 28, 1790, were printed in New York: John Fenno. 4 pp. each. The four parts of Hamilton’s Assumption Plan, as passed by Congress, are included in full only days after each were passed. #30022.37-.40


“Justice and the support of the public credit require, that provision should be made for fulfilling the engagements of the United States, in respect to their foreign debt, and for funding their domestic debt upon equitable and satisfactory terms.”

Alexander Hamilton understood the necessity of placing the new nation on firm financial ground.

On January 9, 1790, Hamilton delivered to Congress his First Report on Public Credit, a strategy for achieving seven key goals for America’s financial system. One of his primary recommendations was the federal assumption of all states’ war debts, amounting to approximately $22 million in addition to foreign powers who were owed nearly $11 million, and American citizens who had sold food, horses, and supplies to the Army, who held $43 million in debt. Hamilton’s ambitious debt plan aimed to draw both creditors and debtors closer to the federal government by honoring all the Revolutionary War debts in full, paying off the resulting national debt over time from excise taxes and land sales.

Many Southerners opposed Hamilton’s plan, believing it would create a dangerous centralization of power, unfairly penalize the southern states who had already paid off more of their debts, and give the North too much financial control. Ultimately, in a deal between Hamilton, James Madison and Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson, southern legislators agreed to support the Plan in return for locating the permanent national capital (then temporarily in NY) on the banks of the Potomac River.

The Gazette of the United States, the semi-official newspaper of the federal government, published the acts that codified Hamilton’s Assumption Plan in four parts: “An Act Making Provision for the Debt of the United States” (passed Aug. 4, in the Aug. 7 issue); “An Act to Provide more Effectually for the Settlement of the Accounts between the United States and the Individual States” (passed Aug. 5, in the Aug. 14 issue); “An Act Making Further Provision for the Payment of the Debts of the United States” (padded Aug. 10, in the Aug 21 issue); “An Act making Provision for the Reduction of the Public Debt” (passed Aug 12, in the Aug. 28 issue).

Item #30022.37-.40 & 30022.41, $8,500
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