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Presidents and Elections

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Harding’s Return to Normalcy – and Isolationism – after World War I

WARREN G. HARDING, Typed Letter Signed as President, to Senator Joseph Medill McCormick, Washington, D. C., August 29, 1921. With autograph emendations in two different secretarial hands. 8 pp.

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Key political circular from the first-year Republican President written to influence off-year elections in New Mexico and other places. Harding justifies, and praises, the rapid postwar dismantling of America’s military by Congress, while backhandedly criticizing the inattention of his predecessor – Woodrow Wilson – to the peacetime transition. “Vast expenditure without proper consideration for results, is the inevitable fruit of war.”

Item #21124, $2,600

Herbert Hoover Drafts Note, and Fredtjof Nansen Sends Letter to Vladimir Lenin, Trying to Get Lenin to Accept Food Aid for Starving Russians During the Russian Civil War

HERBERT HOOVER, Autograph Note, undated [April, 1919]. Cover sheet: “Draft note (undated) / Dr. Nansen to Lenin in / Mr. Hoover’s handwriting.” 1 p., 8¼ x 10½ in. #24849 With FRIDTJOF NANSEN, Typed Letter Signed, to VLADIMIR LENIN, Paris, France, April 17, 1919. 4 pp., 8¼ x 10¾ in. This compound letter includes Nansen’s proposal for Russian relief to the Big Four allied leaders, their response, and his proposal to Lenin. It is a remarkable compilation of the prospects for and obstacles to efforts to ease Russian suffering.

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The Government and peoples whom we represent would be glad to cooperate, without thought of political, military or financial advantage, in any proposal which would relieve this situation in Russia.

To combat starvation in Europe during World War I, President Woodrow Wilson created the United States Food Administration by executive order. Under the direction of Herbert Hoover, it became one of the most efficient and successful governmental initiatives in American history. More than 5 million Russians died of starvation before food aid was allowed in 1921.

Item #24850, $8,500

Theodore Roosevelt Downplays His Nomination Prospects in 1916

THEODORE ROOSEVELT, Typed Letter Signed, to Judge Richard Campbell of the Philippines, May 13, 1916, Oyster Bay, Long Island, N.Y. 1 p., 7 x 10 in.

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Seven years removed from office, Roosevelt gives little credence to the belief, in some quarters, that he had a chance to win the Republican nomination to oppose incumbent Democratic President Woodrow Wilson in the election of 1916. “I do not believe that the Republicans have any intention of nominating me. I only hope they will give us some man who will be the antithesis of Wilson.

Item #21139.99, $3,500

Theodore Roosevelt’s Views on America’s Wealth Gap and Death Tax

THEODORE ROOSEVELT, Typed Letter Signed, to Elbert Henry Gary, April 26, 1906, Washington, D.C. On “The White House” letterhead. 2 pp., 7-1/8 x 8-7/8 in.

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Discussing His “Muck-rake” Speech, Roosevelt Goes Toe-to-Toe with the Head of the ‘Steel Trust’ over the Idea of a Death Tax for America’s Wealthiest. He Takes Aim at Powerful Monopolies and the Largest Fortunes, while Condemning the Radical “socialists of the bomb-throwing persuasion.”

I utterly and radically disagree with you in what you say about large fortunes. I wish it were in my power to devise some scheme to make it increasingly difficult to heap them up beyond a certain amount.

Item #26174.02, $8,000

President Theodore Roosevelt Agrees to Write His Famous Speech Attacking Journalistic Muck-Raking as an Enemy of Real Reform

Theodore Roosevelt, Typed Letter Signed as President, to Elbert Henry Gary, the chairman of the board and president of U.S. Steel (the first billion dollar corporation), March 20, 1906, Washington, D.C. On “The White House” letterhead. 2 pp., 6-7/8 x 8-3/4 in.

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I will go to the limit in enforcing the law against the wealthiest man or the wealthiest corporation if I think he or it has done wrong; but my whole soul revolts at a campaign of foul slander waged against men, … because they have succeeded in business....

Item #26174.01, $7,500

Racist, Anti Roosevelt Drawing and Note

RACISM. [THEODORE ROOSEVELT], Drawing. 1p, 5 x 6¼ in.

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Item #22331, $2,500

NYPD Commissioner Teddy Roosevelt Argues the Police Entrance Exam Keeps “Blockheads” Off the Force

THEODORE ROOSEVELT, Typed Letter Signed as New York City Police Commissioner, to W.C. Sanger, defending the police entrance exam, February 5, 1897, New York, N.Y. On “Police Department of the City of New York” stationery. 8 pp., 8 x 10½ x ¼ in.

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Theodore Roosevelt, as New York City Police Commissioner, defends his reforms, including his implementation of an entrance exam for candidates, a year before his victory in the gubernatorial election. “We have appointed sixteen hundred patrolmen under these examinations ... If they were strong, hardy young fellows of good character and fair intelligence they got their appointments. As a whole, they form the finest body of recruits that have ever been added to the New York police force.

Item #21122.99, $20,000

Counting the Vote in 1876 – Florida’s First Election Fiasco

ELECTIONS, Two pamphlets and three documents relating to the disputed presidential election of 1876. 1876-1877.

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The 1876 presidential election between Republican Rutherford B. Hayes and Democrat Samuel Tilden came down to a dispute over Florida’s electoral votes. These pamphlets and documents include official signed copies of key Florida court and executive decisions. From the papers of Edward Louden Parris, an attorney for Tilden, who ended up losing in the “Compromise of 1877.”

Item #21857.04, $1,450

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

Washington Attorney and Inventor Writes to Arms Manufacturer about Andrew Johnson’s Impeachment

[ANDREW JOHNSON]. CLIFFORD ARRICK, Autograph Letter Signed, to James T. Ames, March 2, 1868, Washington, D.C. On U.S. House of Representatives stationery. 5 pp., 5 x 8 in.

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Our Convention having gone off half cocked, after the nomination of the noble Abraham we had nothing else to do, but endorse what they did, and adopt this modern bogus ‘Moses.’

The infliction of Andy upon us was after all a probable God Send. Mr Lincoln would have adapted himself to events probably, and his noble heart would have stopped far short of what is now, as inevitable as death.

Written on March 2, 1868, the day the House of Representatives approved the first nine articles of impeachment against President Andrew Johnson, this letter reflects on the responsibility for his 1864 nomination as vice presidential candidate and the villainy of his rule, and expresses the hope that African American voters would yet save the nation. Congressman Arrick apparently did not count on Johnson’s acquittal.

Item #26036, $850

Alexander Hamilton’s Son Thanks U.S. Senator for Report that Leads to President Johnson’s Impeachment

JOHN C. HAMILTON, Autograph Letter Signed, to Jacob M. Howard, January 11, 1868, New York. 2 pp., 5 x 7⅞ in.

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In this fascinating letter, Alexander Hamilton’s son thanks U.S. Senator Jacob M. Howard for his report on President Andrew Johnson’s attempt to dismiss Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton. That attempt and the refusal of the Senate to endorse it led the U.S. House of Representatives to impeach Johnson just six weeks after Hamilton wrote this letter.

John Hamilton also jokingly refers to Howard’s thinly veiled criticism of Thomas Jefferson, whom Hamilton characterizes as the “Machiavel of the U States.” Italian Renaissance man Niccolo Machiavelli (1469-1527) wrote The Prince (1513, published 1532) in which he commends an amoral expediency in the ruthless exercise of power, exactly the view the younger Hamilton held of Jefferson. Hamilton also commends his father’s plan for funding the nation’s Revolutionary War debt as a model for funding the Civil War debt.

Item #26035, $1,500

Pierce Urges His Young Nephew Studying at Princeton:
“Do Not for a Day Relax Your Labor”

FRANKLIN PIERCE, Autograph Letter Signed to Frank H. Pierce, his nephew. Concord, N.H., September 6, 1866. 2 pp.

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Former President Franklin Pierce worries that young Frank Pierce – like most undergraduates – is occupying himself with things other than his studies at Princeton.

Item #21116, $4,500

Edwin Stanton ALS Prelude to Impeachment of Andrew Johnson

EDWIN M. STANTON, Autograph Letter Signed as secretary of war, to Major General Henry W. Halleck on War Department letterhead. Washington, D.C. April 26, 1866. 2 pp., 7¾ x 9¾ in.

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I am still tugging at the oar as hopelessly & almost as painfully as a galley slave”

Item #21929, $3,750

Great Report on the Hunt for Lincoln’s Assassin and Claim for Reward by Irish War Hero

[LINCOLN ASSASSINATION], James Rowan O’Beirne, Autograph Document, Claim for Reward for Capture of John Wilkes Booth, David E. Herold, and George A. Atzerodt, December 27, 1865, Washington, D.C. 6 pp., 8 x 13 in. With Handwritten Clerical Copies of Appendices to the Claim, including items found in Atzerodt’s hotel room and statements by Patrick Brennan and U.S. Marshal Robert Murray regarding the importance of O’Beirne’s telegram to the captures. Each signed by Assistant Adjutant General Robert Williams. 5 pp., 8 x 12½ in.

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Item #26049, $10,000

1865 General Orders,
Including Many Regarding Lincoln’s Assassination

[CIVIL WAR - WAR DEPARTMENT], Book. Bound collection of separately printed General Orders from the Adjutant General’s office for 1865. Containing 168 of 175 consecutive orders, and a 94-page index at front. Bound for Major General William Scott Ketchum, with his name in gilt on the spine and his markings or wartime notes on numerous pages. 4¾ x 7 in.

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Item #22265, $4,800

Lincoln Endorses Petition from Border State Unionists

ABRAHAM LINCOLN, Autograph Endorsement Signed as President, ca. December 1864, on a manuscript petition, with two endorsements from Brigadier General Solomon Meredith. 2 pp., 7 x 9⅛ in.

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President Lincoln endorses a manuscript petition from border-state Unionists seeking the establishment of a permanent military post at Hickman, Kentucky. “Submitted to the Sec. of War who is requested to see the bearer. A Lincoln.

Item #21191.99, $12,000

A New York Soldier’s Affidavit Allowing
a Proxy to Vote in the 1864 Election

[CIVIL WAR], Partially Printed Document Signed by James M. Smith, countersigned by Jerome B. Parmenter, and Captain Joseph H. Allen. Richmond, Virginia, October 18, 1864. 1 p., 8 x 12½ in. With printed envelope restating affidavit’s claim on the outside.

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Item #21264.05, $375

Frederick A. Aiken Urging Frémont to Run Against Lincoln

FREDERICK A. AIKEN, Autograph Letter Signed, to John C. Frémont, Washington, D.C., June 12, 1864. 2 pp. 7¾ x 9¾ in.

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With the war going badly, the 1864 election is no shoo-in for the incumbent.

Frederick A. Aiken, former Secretary of the Democratic National Convention, applauds General John C. Frémont’s nomination by the Radical Republicans. He suggests that Frémont will have the blessing of the Democrats if he goes up against Lincoln for the Republican nomination. Aiken went on to serve (unsuccessfully) as defense attorney for Lincoln assassination conspirator Mary Surratt.

Item #20715, $3,200

Union League of Philadelphia Supports Re-Election of Lincoln as “the man for the time”

[ABRAHAM LINCOLN]. [HENRY CHARLES LEA], Printed Pamphlet. No. 17: Abraham Lincoln, [March 1864]. 12 pp., 5¾ x 8¾ in.

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As a MAN OF THE PEOPLE, understanding them and trusted by them, he has proved himself the man for the time.

Item #24898, $750

Lincoln Pushes for Arkansas Without Slavery

ABRAHAM LINCOLN, Autograph Letter Signed as President, to Frederick Steele. Washington, D.C., January 27, 1864. 1 p., 7¾ x 9¾ in. On Executive Mansion stationery.

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After announcing his Proclamation of Amnesty and Reconstruction on December 8, 1863, Lincoln paid close attention to two Arkansas groups both aiming for reunion. Here, the president is concerned about potential conflicts with his plan, but in the end, both plans coincided in the key detail of ending slavery.

Item #22722, PRICE ON REQUEST
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