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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].

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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

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

James Madison’s Second Inaugural Address,
in a Rare New York Irish Newspaper

[JAMES MADISON], Newspaper. The Shamrock, or, Hibernian Chronicle, New York, N.Y., March 13, 1813. Madison’s second inaugural address begins on p. 2 and concludes on p. 3. 4 pp., 12 x 19 in.

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On the issue of the war are staked our national sovereignty.”

Item #30001.01, $1,000

Shortly After the Beginning of the War of 1812,
Monroe Expresses his Opposition to Mob Violence

JAMES MONROE, Autograph Letter Signed as James Madison’s Secretary of State to an unidentified friend, Albemarle [his home], Virginia, August 5, 1812. 1 p.

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Item #21059.99, $6,500

Eight Litchfield Connecticut Men Support the War of 1812

[WAR OF 1812], Document Signed. Litchfield County, Conn. Ca. 1813-1815. [docketed “Support of the War 1812”], 1p.

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Item #24163, $1,750

James Monroe & Congress Support the Independence Movements of Spain’s American Colonies

[SOUTH AMERICA] JAMES MONROE, Pamphlet. “Report (in Part) of the Committee on so Much of the President’s Message as Relates to the Spanish American colonies / December 10th, 1811. Read, and referred to the committee of the whole on the state of the Union.” Washington, D.C.: Printed by R. C. Weightman: 1811. 4 pp.

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[We] behold with friendly interest, the establishment of independent sovereignties, by the Spanish provinces in America…”

Item #21298, $950

Lafayette Seeks a Position for a Friend

Marie Joseph Paul Yves Roch Gillbert du Motier, MARQUIS DE LAFAYETTE, Autograph Letter Signed, in French, to Unknown Recipient. June 15, 1811, La Grange. 1 p.

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The French hero of the American Revolution writes from his home to a customs official in Napoleonic France recommending his attorney friend Monsieur Gros for a position in a customs office in southern France.

Item #24153, $1,750

Supreme Court Justice Livingston Recommends
a Danish Son-in-Law of Jacob Astor
to John Quincy Adams, on Duty in Russia

BROCKHOLST LIVINGSTON, Autograph Letter Signed, to John Quincy Adams. New York, January 19, 1811. 1 p.

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Supreme Court Justice Brockholst Livingston recommends “Mr: Bentzon,” a Danish official and son-in-law of John Jacob Astor, to John Quincy Adams, Minister to Russia. Docketed by John Quincy Adams. “He is since married into the family of Mr. Astor, one of our first & most respectable merchants, & is going with his Lady to Denmark … as Mr. Bentzon intends visiting Petersburgh he is desirous of doing himself the honor of calling on you ...”

Item #21466.06, $1,150

James Madison Signed Presidential Patent
for Pendulum Pumps

JAMES MADISON, Document Signed as President, issued to Atkinson Farra, Patent for a double-bored pendulum pump. Washington, December 5, 1809. Co-signed by Robert Smith as Secretary of State. 1 p plus inventor’s 2 pp. description affixed by thin silk ribbon. 11½ x 14½ in.

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President James Madison issued this patent to Atkinson Farra of Pennsylvania. This double-bored wooden pump was operated by a pendulum handle, which caused the “suckers in each cylinder to play alternately; by operation of which the water flows without intermission.” Farra adds, “If it be necessary (as it may be in ships) to increase the force this may be done by adding another handle to be worked on the opposite side; it is also suggested by the inventor that the rods may be worked by mechanisms similar to a Clock.”

Item #24025.03, $2,500

Supreme Court Justice Livingston Recommends
a Young New Yorker to James Madison

BROCKHOLST LIVINGSTON, Autograph Letter Signed, to James Madison. New York, November 30, 1808. 1 p.

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Justice Livingston writes a letter of recommendation to President-elect James Madison for Peter Cruger, son of an influential New York City merchant.

Item #21466.05, $500

King George III Approves Appointments and Promotions for Senior Military Officers

GEORGE III, Document Signed “GR” [George Rex], Assignments of Senior Military Officers, ca. 1808. 1 p.

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Administering and protecting the far-flung British Empire, the British army was posted throughout the world. Having shrunk to a poorly administered force of some 40,000 men by 1793, the army grew rapidly during the period of the Napoleonic Wars with France, numbering more than 250,000 men in 1813. This list, approved by King George III, posts senior officers in Great Britain, the Caribbean Islands, Malta, and Canada. Many of these men had served in the American Revolutionary War as junior officers and gained promotion for their service there and in Egypt, India, the Netherlands, Italy, the Caribbean, and elsewhere.

Item #24659, $2,500

Madison, Monroe, Talleyrand and Jefferson’s “Crimes” and “back door pimps” in Negotiations to Buy Florida From Spain

KILLIAN K. VAN RENSSELAER, Autograph Letter Signed, April 2, 1806. 4 pp.

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Randolphs charges agt. Jefferson are that he recommended one thing in his private message, which he counteracted by his ‘back door pimps’ and obtained 2 Millions of Dollars to give Talleyrand, to open the door with Spain for Negotiation //- Also, for having nominated Gen.l Wilkinson Governor of upper Louisiana - blending the military with the civil.

R[andolph]- remarked in a reply to B[idwell], that he considered the ‘half formed opinion, from the half bred Attorney, as not worthy an answer, unless it was to tell him, that he was like the rest of the political wood cocks, with which he associated, that had run their Bills in the mud, and therefore wished not to see, nor to be seen.’

Item #22274, $2,750

Thomas Paine: Who Suggested that America should have a Monarch?

THOMAS PAINE, Autograph Letter Signed, to Elisha Babcock. New Rochelle, N.Y., July 2, 1805. 1 p., 8 x 10 in., with address leaf.

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Paine asks a newspaper publisher for the source of a report, that Great Britain had circulated a proposal “among the most influential federalists” recommending that the Duke of Clarence be made the King of America. This letter, attacking the Federalists generally and American monarchists specifically, is completely in line with a campaign he waged in his waning years against any in the United States who might yearn for a constriction of democracy and a resumption of monarchic rule in America. Thomas Paine returned to the United States in 1802, after living most of the previous fifteen years abroad. Shortly after his arrival in the United States he was hosted by Jefferson at the White House, and quickly became the target of Federalist attacks. Paine answered those attacks in published articles and in private letters – the present letter is one of those responses. He also asks why his letter (dated June 8) was not printed in the paper.

Item #21490.99, $60,000

A Spectacular George Washington by James Sharples

JAMES SHARPLES, George Washington, pastel on paper, 9.2 by 7.5 in.

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Item #24655, $85,000

Charging Aaron Burr with Hamilton’s Murder

[ALEXANDER HAMILTON], Newspaper. Columbian Centinel, Boston, Mass, November 7, 1804. 4 pp., 13 x 19¾ in. Loss (roughly 2 x ¾ in.) on pp. 3-4 professionally filled, still, some small text lacking.

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“A bill has been found in New-Jersey, against MR. BURR, for the murder of GEN.  HAMILTON.—Nevertheless he will take his seat in Congress.”

Item #30000.55, $500

1804 Harlem, New York, Land Sale

[NEW YORK REAL ESTATE], Manuscript Document Signed. (Deed or Indenture) by Mary Sickles. Co-signed by John Adriance, Mary Bowers, Rudolphus Bogert. August 1, 1804. 3 pp., 10¾ x 16¾ in., with filing memoranda, dated 1814, signed by John G. Bogert, Master in Chancery, proving deed.

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To help pay the debts of John Sickles, recently deceased, Sickles’ wife (executrix of his estate) and executor John Adriance sell two lots of land in Harlem to Aaron Bussing. These lots appear under the name “Bussing” on the famous New York City map published in 1811, A Map of the City of New York by the commissioners appointed by an act of the Legislature passed April 3rd 1807. The site of this location is between present day Lenox (6th) and 7th Avenues, and between 114th and 115th Streets, just north of Central Park.

Item #21480.10, $850

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.

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“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

Kentucky’s Second Governor Answers Fraud Charges

JAMES GARRARD, Manuscript Document Signed as Governor. Court deposition. Bourbon County, [Ky.], March 5, 1804. Countersigned by witness Laban Shipp. 4 pp., 13 ½ x 8 ¼ in.

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Sworn deposition made by James Garrard towards the end of his second term as governor of Kentucky, defending himself against a lawsuit brought by Philemon Thomas with respect to land claims and sales.

Item #22571, $1,000

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.

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“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
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The U.S.S. Chesapeake Prepares for the Mediterranean, and the Senate Debates Judiciary Establishments

[EARLY REPUBLIC], Newspaper. The Providence Gazette. Providence, R.I., January 30, 1802. 4 pp., 12 x 19 in.

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This issue of the Providence Gazette features reports from several debates in the Senate and the House of Representatives, notice from the Boston Franklin Association of printers, reports on a vaccine for smallpox, news of tampered mail, and the printing of an almanac.

Item #30000.004, $400
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