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Presidents and Elections

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President Chester A. Arthur Orders Seal Affixed to His Proclamation Regarding Angell Treaty, Beginning More Than Six Decades of Excluding Chinese Immigration

CHESTER ARTHUR, Partially Printed Document Signed, Order to Affix Seal of the United States to His Proclamation, October 10, 1881, Washington, DC. 1 p., 8 x 10 in.

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With this order, new President Chester A. Arthur authorized Secretary of State James G. Blaine to affix the seal of the United States to the fully ratified Angell Treaty of 1880 that suspended the immigration of Chinese laborers to the United States, leading to further discriminatory steps the first step in a broader prohibition enacted by subsequent legislation that continued until 1943.

Item #27711, $2,000

President Grant Preliminary Order Seeking to End Ku Klux Klan Violence in South Carolina

ULYSSES S. GRANT, Manuscript Document Signed, as President, directing Secretary of State Hamilton Fish to “affix the seal of the United States to the accompanying Proclamation commanding the persons composing certain unlawful combinations in the State of South Carolina to disperse and retire peaceably to their respective abodes.” Washington, D.C. March 24, 1871, 1 p., 7.75 x 9.75 in.

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Accompanied by a modern printing of the text of Grant’s proclamation:

“Whereas it is provided in the Constitution that the United States shall protect every state in the Union… and …Whereas I have received information that combinations of armed men, unauthorized by law, are now disturbing the peace and safety of the citizens of the State of South Carolina and committing acts of violence … which render the power of the State and its officers unequal to the task of protecting live and property and securing public order therein…”ordering members of the Ku Klux Klan to “disperse and retire peaceably to their respective abodes within twenty days…”

Item #27741, $7,500

Governor and Presidential Candidate Franklin D. Roosevelt Begins Effective Use of Radio

FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT, Mimeographed Document Signed, press release of radio speech, July 30, 1932, Albany, NY. Prepared for release to the press. “For Release in the Morning Papers After Delivered” in type at top of first page. Signed at bottom of last page, “Franklin D. Roosevelt.” 6 pp., 8½ x 14 in.

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I hope during this campaign to use the radio frequently to speak to you about important things that concern us all.

On July 30, 1932, New York Governor Roosevelt delivered this speech from Albany, quoting extensively from and explaining many planks of the Democratic National Platform. Four weeks after the Democratic National Convention nominated Roosevelt on the fourth ballot in Chicago, he made this fantastic campaign speech.  He turned to a relatively new medium—the radio—to communicate with the American people. Broadcast radio began in 1920 but became more widespread over the next decade. This broadcast went out over the decade-old AM radio station WGY in Schenectady, New York, to the N.B.C. Network at 9:00 p.m. on Saturday. Roosevelt’s use of the radio brought his comforting voice into the homes and lives of average Americans and reassured them that he cared for them as part of an “imagined community.”

Employing the radio, Roosevelt could make certain that his message reached the widest possible audience, without the mediation of newspaper editors. He also spoke confidently in standard English at a slow rate to make certain that everyone understood him. He used everyday analogies, stories, and anecdotes to explain his thoughts clearly. Over his unprecedented three terms and a partial fourth term in office as President of the United States, Roosevelt delivered some thirty “fireside chats” to reassure the American people and give them hope during the bleak times of the Great Depression and World War II.

Item #27712, $10,500

Abraham Lincoln Signed Check to “William Johnson (Colored)”

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

President John Quincy Adams’ Remarks & Toast Commemorating William Penn’s Landing

JOHN QUINCY ADAMS, Autograph Manuscript, Remarks and Toast to Penn Society, October 25, 1825, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. 1 pp., 8 x 9¼ in.

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The Land of William Penn, and his ‘Great Town,’ the City of brotherly Love.”

In these brief remarks at Masonic Hall in Philadelphia in October 1825, President Adams proposed the above toast at the second annual meeting of the Penn Society and the 143rd anniversary of William Penn’s landing in America.

Item #27469, $6,800

George Washington’s First Presidential Thanksgiving Proclamation

[GEORGE WASHINGTON], Gazette of the United States. New York, N.Y., October 7, 1789. 4 pp., In addition to the Thanksgiving Proclamation on page one, this issue also includes: a printing of the Treaty of Fort Harmar between the United States and the Wyandot, Delaware, Ottawa, Chippewa, Pattawatima, and Sac Indian nations (p. 1, col. 2 to p. 2, col. 2). A report from London about an “African Genius” (p. 2, col. 2). And a report on the proceedings of Congress, including an act to suspend part of the Tonnage Duties Act (p. 4 col. 3). 9½ x 14¾ in. Overall fine. Archivally framed.

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“to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.... for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness... for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed; and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge”

On September 28, 1789, just before the closing of the First Federal Congress, the Senate added its assent to a House resolution requesting that George Washington be asked to call for a day of public thanksgiving and prayer. Later that day, Congress passed the Bill of Rights to be sent to the states for their ratification, and on the next day the first session of the first Federal Congress was adjourned. On Saturday, October 3, Washington issued America’s first presidential Thanksgiving Proclamation. The Gazette printed it in full on the first page of this, their next edition, Wednesday October 7th.

Item #23257.99, $45,000

Abraham Lincoln and Ulysses S. Grant Portraits by William E. Marshall

[ABRAHAM LINCOLN; ULYSSES S. GRANT], William E. Marshall, Engraved Prints: “Abraham Lincoln,” New York, 1866, 20 x 25⅝ in. framed to 28½ x 35 in. And “Gen. U. S. Grant,” New York, 1868, 17⅛ x 22½ in., framed to 26 x 31¼ in. Ex Louise Taper Collection.

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Considered the “finest line-engraving” of Lincoln, Marshall created this in 1866 from his painting of the martyred President. In November 1866, Ticknor and Fields of Boston announced that they would publish Marshall’s engraving on a subscription basis.

Item #26757, SOLD — please inquire about other items

John Quincy Adams Campaign Song Handbill, to the Tune of Yankee Doodle

JOHN QUINCY ADAMS, Printed Document, “John Quincy Adams,” Songsheet. Providence, RI: [Henry Trumbull], ca. 1828. 1 p., 8 x 10 in.

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“John Quincy Adams is the man,/ Round whom the people flock, Sir, / And none the worse for Uncle Sam, / Because of Yankee stock, Sir.”

This songsheet provides the lyrics for “John Quincy Adams” to be sung to the tune Yankee Doodle. It compares incumbent “commander” John Quincy Adams to challenger Andrew Jackson, who “shoots a score or two, When e’er he wants a frolic,” a reference to Jackson’s controversial decision to execute deserters among his militia forces. The lyrics seem to have first appeared in print in the Newburyport Herald on July 11, 1828, under the title “’Tother Yankee Doodle” and with the preface, “The following song, composed for the late celebration at Portsmouth, contains the yankee properties of broad humour and truth.” The song later appeared in several newspapers in New England and as far away as Frankfort, Kentucky, and New Orleans, Louisiana.[1]

Supporters of JQA’s administration held a celebration of the Fourth of July at Portsmouth, New Hampshire. William Plumer Jr. gave the primary oration, and in the afternoon, a large number dined in Jefferson Hall, drinking toasts to the last surviving signer of the Declaration of Independence Charles Carroll of Carrollton, President John Quincy Adams, the memory of George Washington, Henry Clay, and many others.[2]

Item #27393.02, $4,000

Campaign Document Uses Civil War’s Costs Against President Johnson

[ANDREW JOHNSON], The United States in Account with the Rebellion, Broadside, [October 1866]. 1 pp., 9½ x 11¼ in.

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Stand by Congress!

This broadside, presented in the form of a balance sheet, gives an account of the money and men the northern states spent in suppressing the rebellion and the results it had received, including the “Murder of President Lincoln” and the massacre of black and white Unionists in Memphis (May 1866), New Orleans (July 1866), and Platte City, Missouri (September 1866). It concludes that loyal people, both black and white, must stand by Congress against President Andrew Johnson.

Item #27504, $4,200

President Adams Writes to His Son Thomas While Anxiously Awaiting News from Europe as America Prepares for War with France

JOHN ADAMS, Autograph Letter Signed as President, to son, Thomas Boylston Adams. Philadelphia, [Pa.], March 1, 1798. 2 ½ pp. on a bifolium (watermarked Curteis & Sons), 8 x 9¾ in.

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At the height of the Quasi-War with France, John Adams writes to his son, Thomas, then accompanying Adams’s eldest son, John Quincy, who had just been commissioned Minister to Prussia, a neutral power in the ongoing war between France and Britain. He encourages brevity in his correspondence, given the tense nature of European diplomacy and the seeming imminence of war between France and the United States. “We are all in suspense … without news from Europe. We learn that General Buonaparte has been at Paris and is gone to the Congress. But we know no more …”

Item #27562, $35,000

Lyndon B. Johnson Signing Pen for Voting Rights Act of 1965

LYNDON B. JOHNSON, “One of the pens used by the President, August 6, 1965, in signing S. 1564, An Act to enforce the fifteenth amendment to the Constitution of the United States, and for other purposes,” per original printed slip in original box. Clear barrel pen, “The President-The Whitehouse” printed in white, with “Esterbrook” on the nib, 6⅜ in. long. With additional artifacts.

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This artifact came from Arnold “Pappy” Noel (1922-2009), a longtime news photographer who at that time was in the Public Affairs Office of the Secretary of Defense. Noel earned his nickname in World War II as a B-29 tail gunner. After the war and his retirement, he joined United Press International as a newsreel and still photographer, filming presidential and White House events, marches on Washington and Selma, fires and riots in Washington and Detroit, and early NASA events. At the 1968 Democratic Convention, he became part of the story when he was injured and arrested for refusing to hand over his film of “excessive abuse of law enforcement agents towards demonstrators.” He was president of the White House Press Photographers Association for two years, leaving the press corps to work as a public affairs assistant to President Ford.

Item #27655, $20,000

FDR’s First Inaugural Address in the Midst of the Great Depression

FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT, First Inaugural Address, Typed Manuscript Signed, ca. May 1935, Washington, DC. 5 pp., 7 x 10½ in. Accompanied by Marguerite “Missy” LeHand, Typed Letter Signed, June 5, 1935, on White House stationery, returning the signed typescript to Mr. Barker.

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the only thing we have to fear is fear itself....

President Franklin D. Roosevelt delivered his landmark first Inaugural Address at the U.S. Capitol, on March 4, 1933. Many consider the speech to be one of the greatest in American history. On the day of the inauguration, the country was at the lowest point of the worst depression in American history. The banks had closed in thirty-two of the forty-eight states (plus the District of Columbia), unemployment was above 25 percent, farms were failing, and two million people were homeless. The New York Federal Reserve Bank would not be able to open the very next day, as panicky customers had withdrawn huge sums in the previous days. In this context, Roosevelt set forth a positive message addressing the country’s greatest needs: relief, recovery, and reform. His confidence, optimism, and the massive amount of “New Deal” legislation he sent to Congress in the first one hundred days of his administration did much to reassure the American people that better times were on the way.

Item #27122.99, $135,000

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

George Washington’s “Justice and Public Good” Letter, Written Just Before Becoming the First President of the United States

GEORGE WASHINGTON, Autograph Letter Signed, to Frederick Phile, March 15, 1789, Mount Vernon, Virginia. Washington’s retained copy, written on blank leaf of Phile’s letter to him as evidenced by partial address on verso: “[George] Washington / [Moun]t Vernon.” 1 p., 8 x 6¼ in.

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“I will go into Office totally free from pre-engagements of every nature whatsoever, and in recommendations to appointments will make justice & the public good, my sole objects.”

The still unofficial President-elect George Washington writes in March 1789 about his determination to go into the presidency with no pre-existing commitments, ready to purely judge the“justice & the public good” of every appointment. He would extend that sentiment to every aspect of his presidency.

Washington referred to the standard of “justice & the public good” only a few times, and the present letter is the only example we know of that has ever reached the market.

Item #27734, $550,000

John F. Kennedy Signed Six-Volume Set of Early History of Ireland

JOHN F. KENNEDY, Signed Books. Edward A. D’Alton, History of Ireland, from the Earliest Times to the Present Day. London: Gresham Publishing Co., 1912. Complete in six half-volumes. 6 x 8.75 in. each. With color frontispieces (missing in one volume), black-and-white plates, illustrations, and one fold-out map of Ireland. Five of the six volumes are signed on the front free endpaper, and the sixth is signed on the back free endpaper, “John F. Kennedy” in black ink.

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Brian Boru was of the family of Cormac Cas. His father was Kennedy, son of Lorcan. He was slain in battle with the Danes (951). At his death Brian was but a lad of ten years.

What must John F. Kennedy have thought, when he read his surname in this history of the royalty of Ireland from a millennium ago? Brian Boru went on to become the high king of Ireland from 1002 to 1014. He was less pleased to learn that the name Kennedy (Cennétig) meant “ugly head.”

President John F. Kennedy was America’s first Irish-Catholic president, with his family’s Irish roots stretching back for generations. The Fitzgerald and the Kennedy families both migrated to America in the mid-nineteenth century to escape the devastating potato famine and to find work and a better life. JFK relished his Irish heritage and visited Ireland during his presidency in June 1963.

Rev. Edward Alfred D’Alton was ordained as a Catholic priest in 1887 and served in several parishes before becoming dean and vicar-general of the Archdiocese of Tuam in 1930. As a historian, he was best known for his History of Ireland, published in three multi-volume editions between 1903 and 1925.

Item #27515, $36,000

Theodore Roosevelt, Furious with Cuba's "Pointless" 1906 Revolution

THEODORE ROOSEVELT, Typed Letter Signed, to Henry White, September 13, 1906, Oyster Bay, New York. Autograph Endorsement as Postscript. On “The White House” letterhead. 3 pp., 8 x 10¼ in.

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Just at the moment I am so angry with that infernal little Cuban republic that I would like to wipe its people off the face of the earth. All we have wanted from them was that they would behave themselves and be prosperous and happy … they have started an utterly unjustifiable and pointless revolution and may get things into such a snarl that we have no alternative save to intervene - which will at once convince the suspicious idiots in South America that we do wish to interfere after all, and perhaps have some land-hunger!...”

This “Confidential” letter brims with significant content, as Roosevelt comments on hunting, disarmament, the Cuban Revolution, and the American voter. He expressed particular frustration at the inability of the new Cuban Republic to maintain a legitimate democracy. In September 1905, candidate Tomás Estrada Palma and his party rigged the Cuban presidential election to ensure his victory over liberal candidate José Miguel Gómez. The liberals revolted in August 1906, leading to the collapse of Estrada Palma’s government the following month, and to U.S. military and political intervention.

Item #27311, $12,500

Henry Clay ALS, Responding to St. Nicholas Society Speech, Takes a Jab at Martin Van Buren

HENRY CLAY, Autograph Letter Signed, to Gulian Crommelin Verplanck, December 30, 1837, Washington, DC. 1 p., 8¼ x 10¼ in.

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This letter is addressed to the president of the St. Nicholas Society of the City of New York, Gulian Crommelin Verplanck, and signed twice within the text as “H. Clay” and “H. C.” Clay thanks Verplanck for sending a copy of his recent speech to the Society’s annual meeting, praises it for its substance and cleverness, and wishes Verplanck could change places with President Martin Van Buren.

Item #27308, $950

Same-Day Broadside Extra Printing of Abraham Lincoln’s First Inaugural Address

ABRAHAM LINCOLN, Inaugural Address. Chicago Tribune Extra, March 4, 1861. Chicago: Joseph Medill, Charles H. Ray, Alfred Cowles. 1 p., 8½ x 24 in.

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In your hands, my dissatisfied fellow countrymen, and not in mine, is the momentous issue of civil war. The government will not assail you. You can have no conflict without being yourselves the aggressor. You have no oath registered in heaven to destroy the Government, whileshall have the most solemn one to preserve, protect and defend it.

“The mystic chords of memory stretching from every battle field and patriot’s grave to every living heart and hearthstone all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union when again touched, as surely as they will be, by the better angels of our nature.

Extremely rare same day broadside. Only one other copy of this edition is presently known.

Item #26966, $37,500

Kennedy v. Nixon First Televised Presidential Debate Poster

[JOHN F. KENNEDY], Printed Broadside, Advertising Television Picture Tube to Enjoy Kennedy-Nixon Campaign. 1 p., 22½ x 39 in.

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This poster uses the 1960 presidential campaign between Democrat nominee John F. Kennedy and Republican nominee Richard M. Nixon to sell Sylvania television picture tubes. It features the faces of Kennedy and Nixon on a picture tube with a hand pointed to the bottom of the poster. It encouraged customers to “Enjoy the Presidential Campaigns More on a Silver Screen 85 Picture Tube” and to “Vote Here for Expert Radio-TV Service with Sylvania Tubes, Free Tube Testing Inside, Prompt ‘At-Home’ Service & Be Sure to Vote in November.” Local television dealers could add their business information beneath this poster.

Item #26689, $2,000

Free Soil Rally Broadside, Dorchester Massachusetts, 1848. 23 x 29 Inches

[ELECTION OF 1848], Printed Document. Broadside, July 21, 1848, Dorchester, Massachusetts. 1 p. 23 x 29 in.

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“FREE SOIL! FREE LABOR! FREE SPEECH! RALLY OF THE PEOPLE!
All persons opposed to the Election of Taylor or Cass to the Presidency, and to the Extension of Slavery and the Slave Power, are invited to meet at the Lyceum Hall,” July 24, 1848. …”

Inviting “All persons opposed to the Election of TAYLOR or CASS to the Presidency, and to the Extension of Slavery and the Slave Power.” The meeting would choose delegates for a state convention on July 28. Speakers included Stephen C. Phillips (1801-1857), an 1819 graduate of Harvard University and a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from 1834 to 1838. The bottom of the broadside contains the names of 178 local voters. It is curious that the Free Soil nominee, former Democrat Martin Van Buren, is not named here. Ultimately, with the support of the convention arranged after this broadside, he received 28.6% of the state’s votes. 

Item #27251, $11,000
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