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Presidents and Elections

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Andrew Jackson Signed Patent for Improvement in the Washing Machine

ANDREW JACKSON, Partially Printed Document Signed as President, co-signed by Edward Livingston as Secretary of State, and Roger B. Taney as Attorney General. Patent for “new and useful improvement in the washing machine,” to South Carolina inventor Silvanus Minton, April 14, 1832. With Seal of the United States affixed. 2 pp., 11 x 14⅝ in.

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Item #26760, SOLD — please inquire about other items

John Quincy Adams Scathing Anti-Masonic Letter After the Murder of a Prominent Anti-Mason Who Threatened to Reveal their Secrets

JOHN QUINCY ADAMS, Autograph Letter Signed as Congressman, to Stephen Bates. Washington, D.C., April 1, 1833. 3 pp. 8 x 9¾ in.

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“To all members of the Masonic fraternity, who entered it before the murder of Morgan I would extend the most liberal Toleration. Most of them took the Oaths without reflecting upon what they imported….Now the case is otherwise. How they can now take or administer the cutthroat Oath to keep Secret, what all the world knows, I cannot comprehend.”

In the wake of the murder of William Morgan, a prominent anti-Mason who had threatened to reveal the society’s secrets, John Quincy Adams requested the return of an old letter. Considering the political climate, Adams thought the letter would reflect poorly on its now-deceased recipient, as well as expose Adams, a prominent opponent of Freemasonry, to public criticism for having supported a man he knew to be of good character who also happened to be a Mason. The former president, now in Congress, goes on to explain his political support for anti-Masonry, one of the first third-party political movements in the United States.

Item #23716, $19,000

William Henry Harrison as Presidential Candidate Determined “to Make no Pledges” - While Affirming His Anti-Masonic Position

WILLIAM HENRY HARRISON, Autograph Letter Signed, to William Ayres. Cincinnati, Ohio, November 25, 1835. 4 pp., 7½ x 12 in.

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“I set out with a determination to make no pledges – If the Anti Masons rely upon my openly avowed opinions against Masonry one would suppose that they ought to be satisfied with the certainty of their having a full proportion of my confidences.”

Future U.S. President William Henry Harrison demonstrates exceptional political acumen by revealing his credo not to make pledges, and is keenly aware that his actions to get nominated may be used against him in the actual campaign. Harrison also resents that Anti-Masonic leader Thaddeus Stevens, is “determined to support [Daniel] Webster under any circumstances or any person but any old Jeffersonian Democrat like myself.

Item #22520.99, $24,000

Andrew Jackson Dockets a Report from His Nephew on the Hermitage and Middle Tennessee Roads

ANDREW JACKSON, Autograph Endorsement Signed with Initials, ca January 1837. On ANDREW JACKSON DONELSON, Autograph Letter Signed, to Andrew Jackson, January 22, 1837. 4 pp., 8 x 10 in.

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Item #24588.06, $1,450

Andrew Jackson’s Farewell Address, Reflecting on His Long Public Service, and Martin Van Buren’s First Inaugural Address

[ANDREW JACKSON], Newspaper. New York Observer, New York, N.Y., March 11, 1837. 4 pp., 18 x 25¼ in. Jackson’s address is on pp. 2-3 and Van Buren’s on p. 4.

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Item #30001.09, ON HOLD

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

Whig Presidential Nominee William Henry Harrison to Daniel Webster

WILLIAM HENRY HARRISON, Autograph Letter Signed, to Daniel Webster, February 16, 1840, Cincinnati, OH. 2 pp., 7½ x 9¾ in.

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“My friends are preparing for a convention at Columbus on the 22d whichwill be the largest assemblage of citizens & otherwise the most interesting ever held in the Western Country…”

Harrison asks U.S. Senator Daniel Webster for assistance on the sale of land in Vincennes, Indiana, and mentions an upcoming Whig convention in Columbus, Ohio. After his election, Harrison appointed Webster as his Secretary of State.

Item #26779, $5,400

Unique Printing of William Henry Harrison’s Deadly Inaugural Address on Silk

WILLIAM HENRY HARRISON, Inaugural Address. Printed on silk, ca. March 1841. Baltimore: John Murphy. 1 p., 18 x 24 in.

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On a cold, wet day, March 4, 1841, President Harrison delivered the longest inaugural address in history. Harrison wrote the entire speech himself, though it was edited by his soon-to-be Secretary of State, Daniel Webster. Webster said afterwards that in the process of editing the text, he had “killed seventeen Roman proconsuls.” Contracting pneumonia, Harrison became the first president to die in office 31 days after delivering this address. His vice president John Tyler became the new president and served out Harrison’s term.

In an 8,460-word address, Harrison presents a detailed statement of the Whig agenda and a repudiation of the populism and policies of Democratic Presidents Andrew Jackson and Martin Van Buren. Harrison promises to reestablish the Bank of the United States, to issue paper currency, to use his veto power sparingly, and to appoint qualified officers of government in contrast to the spoils system that Jackson heralded. He favors term limits, limits on the powers of the presidency, and devotion to the nation rather than party. Harrison avoids specifics on the divisive issue of slavery, which in theory he might have opposed, but of which he was in practice a staunch defender.

Item #25607.02, $7,500

Broadside Printing of William Henry Harrison’s Deadly Inaugural Address

WILLIAM HENRY HARRISON, Broadside. ca. March 1841. 1 p., 11⅝ x 19 in.

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If there is one measure better calculated than another to produce that state of things so much deprecated by all true republicans, by which the rich are daily adding to their hoards and the poor sinking deeper into penury, it is an exclusive metallic currency....

Always the friend of my countrymen, never their flatterer, it becomes my duty to say to them… that there exists in the land a spirit hostile to their best interests—hostile to liberty itself.... It is union that we want, not of a party for the sake of that party, but a union of the whole country for the sake of the whole country, for the defense of its interests and its honor against foreign aggression, for the defense of those principles for which our ancestors so gloriously contended....

Item #25607.01, $5,000

Front-Page Printing of William Henry Harrison’s Deadly Inaugural Address

WILLIAM HENRY HARRISON, Newspaper. National Intelligencer, March 6, 1841. Washington, D.C.: Gales & Seaton. 4 pp., 18 x 23¼ in.

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If there is one measure better calculated than another to produce that state of things so much deprecated by all true republicans, by which the rich are daily adding to their hoards and the poor sinking deeper into penury, it is an exclusive metallic currency....

On a cold, wet day, March 4, 1841, President Harrison delivered the longest inaugural address in history. Harrison wrote the entire speech himself, though it was edited by his soon-to-be Secretary of State, Daniel Webster. Webster said afterwards that in the process of editing the text, he had “killed seventeen Roman proconsuls.” Contracting pneumonia, Harrison became the first president to die in office 31 days after delivering this address. His vice president John Tyler became the new president and served out Harrison’s term.

In an 8,460-word address, printed here on the front page of the National Intelligencer, Harrison presents a detailed statement of the Whig agenda and a repudiation of the populism and policies of Democratic Presidents Andrew Jackson and Martin Van Buren. Harrison promises to reestablish the Bank of the United States, to issue paper currency, to use his veto power sparingly, and to appoint qualified officers of government in contrast to the spoils system that Jackson heralded. He favors term limits, limits on the powers of the presidency, and devotion to the nation rather than party. Harrison avoids specifics on the divisive issue of slavery, which in theory he might have opposed, but of which he was in practice a staunch defender.

Item #30001.35, $1,500

Very Rare William Henry Harrison Four-Language Sea Letter Signed as President

WILLIAM HENRY HARRISON, Partially Printed Document Signed as President, counter-signed by Daniel Webster as Secretary of State. [signed in Washington, D.C. between March 4 and April 4, 1841]. Four-language Sea Letter for Hydaspe, accomplished (filled out) in New Bedford, Massachusetts, dated April 20, 1841 and signed by Deputy Collector of Customs William H. Taylor. Includes two blind embossed paper seals. 1 p., 21½ x 16¼ in.

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Partially-printed sea letter in French, Spanish, English, and Dutch authorizing the Hydaspe, under the command of Francis Post, to leave New Bedford, Massachusetts, for a whaling voyage to the Pacific Ocean. Signed by William Henry Harrison during his one-month long presidency. Only approximately a dozen William Henry Harrison presidential signed documents are known in private hands. An incredible rarity.

On March 4, 1841, a cold, wet day, Harrison, without hat or overcoat, rode on horseback to his inauguration, and delivered the longest inaugural speech of any American president. He became ill three weeks later and died of pneumonia on April 4, having been president for 31 days. He was the last United States president born as a British subject and the first to die in office. Our census counts fewer than 40 known Harrison presidential signed items of all types, ranging from letters and free franks to fragments of documents and clipped signatures. Of those, ours is one of only 22 intact presidential signed documents. 

Sea letters were signed in blank, and sent to the ports to be filled out. This one was used in New Bedford on April 20, sixteen days after Harrison’s death. The Hydaspe left New Bedford four days later with a crew of more than twenty. It returned just shy of four years later, on April 14, 1845, with 1,016 barrels of sperm oil, 821 barrels of whale oil, and 8,000 pounds of baleen (whalebone). The ship circumnavigated the earth, sailing throughout the Pacific and along the southern coasts of Australia and Africa, taking on six additional crew members in Tahiti in 1843 and eleven more in Maui, Hawaii (then called the Sandwich Islands), in 1844. A whaleboat crew deserted near Australia; at least three of the deserters were captured.

Item #27118.99, $225,000

John Tyler Addresses Special Session of Congress soon after William Henry Harrison’s Death

JOHN TYLER, Broadside. State of the Union Message. National Intelligencer—Extra, June 1, 1841. Washington, DC: Gales and Seaton. 1 p., 18 x 23 in.

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The States are emphatically the constituents of this Government....

Item #25676, $1,900

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

Former President and Future Confederate Supporter John Tyler Forcefully Defends the Fugitive Slave Act and the “Southern Cause,” Attacks the NY Press, and Plays up His Own Service in the War of 1812

JOHN TYLER, Autograph Letter Signed and Autograph Manuscript Signed several times in the third person. Sent to S. Cunningham, from Sherwood Forest, October 12, 1850, 1 p., 9⅜ x 7¼ in. on blue paper marked “Private,” being the cover letter for the manuscript, written for anonymous publication: “The fugitive slave bill and Commissioner Gardiner,” [ca. October 12, 1850], 2 pp., 9⅜ x 7⅞ in. on blue paper.

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In the first fugitive slave law case, which came before his cousin Commissioner Gardiner: “The fugitive was promptly dealt by and restored to his owner in Baltimore. Mr. Gardiner has proven himself to be a faithful public servant, an honest man, and a Patriot. And yet, by a certain class of Editors in New York he is sneered at…

Tyler criticizes two NY editors in particular: “Now what jackasses are Mssrs Herricks and Ropes… These would-be somethingarians [a colloquialism, usually used as an insult] in the first place, deem it a matter of censure in a judge, to execute the law—and, in the next they show their ignorance … by ascribing to Mr. Tyler under their witty soubriquet of Captain (a title he is well content to wear since he enjoyed it during the war of 1812 with Great Britain)…

Item #24043, $24,000

Buchanan Supporters Attack Presidential Candidate Frémont as a “Black Republican” Abolitionist

[ELECTION OF 1856], Printed Document. The Fearful Issue to Be Decided in November Next! Shall the Constitution and the Union Stand or Fall? Fremont, The Sectional Candidate of the Advocates of Dissolution! Buchanan, The Candidate of Those Who Advocate One Country! One Union! One Constitution! and One Destiny! 1856. 24 pp., 5 x 8½ in.

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What a Combination! Seward, Greeley, Bennet, Watson Webb, H. Ward Beecher, &c. There can be no doubt that this goodly company will speedily be increased by the addition of Fred. Douglass and his black republicans… The only candidate to arrest this tide of demoralization and sectionalism, is James Buchanan.

This pro-Buchanan election of 1856 pamphlet attacks the first Republican presidential candidate, John C. Frémont. Quoting from the speeches and writings of William Lloyd Garrison, Horace Greeley, Wendell Phillips, Salmon P. Chase, Henry Ward Beecher, William H. Seward, Joshua R. Giddings, this pamphlet ignores distinctions between abolitionists, racial egalitarians, more limited opponents just of the expansion of slavery into the territories, or those who fought the kidnapping of free African Americans under the Fugitive Slave Law. It paints all with the same broad brush as “Black Republican” extreme abolitionists who were willing to destroy the Union rather than remain in it with slaveholders.

Item #24482, $750

Claims that First Republican Presidential Candidate is Foreign Born & Ineligible

[STEPHEN H. BRANCH], Broadside. Important! to the Public ... The Republican Candidate for the Presidency, John C. Fremont, of Foreign Birth. Ogdensburgh, N.Y. October 31, 1856. 1 p. 10½ x 7½ in. Foxing, some paper remnants on verso.

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Item #23425, $3,500

Rare Abraham Lincoln 1860 Campaign Sash for Rally at Boston’s Faneuil Hall

[ABRAHAM LINCOLN], Portrait Sash from Faneuil Hall Rally, May-November, 1860, Boston, Massachusetts. 1 p., 29 x 2¼ in. It features a portrait of Lincoln engraved from an 1858 photograph taken in Springfield by Christopher S. German.

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The first owner wore this sash at one or more of the Lincoln Rallies during the 1860 presidential campaign season. The two most prominent were at the beginning and end of the season. 

Item #27653, $12,500

The Lincoln Nomination Chair (SOLD)

[ABRAHAM LINCOLN], Chair, bentwood hickory; painted black. [Springfield, Illinois?, ca. 1860].

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Item #22294, SOLD — please inquire about other items

Very Rare and Possibly Unique Political Print of Abraham Lincoln

[ABRAHAM LINCOLN]. GABRIEL KAEHRLE, Print. “Abraham Lincoln,” with excerpt from First Inaugural Address, ca. 1861-1864. 9¾ x 12 in.

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An unusual and possibly unique Lincoln portrait above patriotic banners and a quotation from his first inaugural address.

Item #25613, SOLD — please inquire about other items

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, SOLD — please inquire about other items
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