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Presidents and Elections

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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.


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

William Taft Criticizes Wilson on World War I Preparedness (SOLD)

WILLIAM HOWARD TAFT, Typed Letter Signed, to Gus J. Karger. March 4, 1918. 3 pp., 8 x 10 ½ in. On Taft’s personal letterhead.


“We ought now to be making plans for an army of 5,000,000 men. That would give us 2,000,000 or 2,500,000 fighting men on the front. Somebody said that we haven’t any ships to carry them. Well, that is true. We must build them. We will not get them unless we prepare for this war as if it was a real big job of years instead of one to be ended through the sweet, forward-looking sentences of our stylist President.”

Item #23669, SOLD — please inquire about other items

Roosevelt Aghast that Americans seem
“completely taken in” by Wilson

THEODORE ROOSEVELT, Typed Letter Signed, to James M. Beck. New York City, January 8, 1917. On “Metropolitan / Office of Theodore Roosevelt” letterhead, with holograph corrections.


“I am mighty pleased that you liked the article, and what I said about Wilson’s proposal…”

Roosevelt collaborates with a fellow critic to attack Woodrow Wilson’s failed proposal to mediate peace between Germany and the Allies in December 1916. He reveals an uncharacteristic frustration with the American people here, two months after Wilson’s close reelection victory over Charles Evans Hughes, in which Wilson campaigned on the promise to “keep us out of war.”

Item #21847, SOLD — please inquire about other items

Theodore Roosevelt and Family Sacrifice in World War I (SOLD)

THEODORE ROOSEVELT, Typed Letters Signed, Oyster Bay, Long Island, N.Y. May 21, 1916, with holograph corrections, Pledging his support for France, even though President Wilson has committed the nation to neutrality.


It is very hard for the old to stay when their deaths would make no matter one way or the other, whereas the young die in their glorious golden morning. It is bitter for me to sit at home in ease and comfort and have my four sons and my son-in-law and all the young kinsmen I have at the front facing death and enduring hardship. But it would be far more bitter for me if they were not doing just as they have done… of my four sons, two of them have been wounded in addition to the one who has been killed.

A pair of letters relating to World War I, both sent by Roosevelt to French statesman and historian Gabriel Hanotaux. The first pledges Roosevelt’s support for France despite President Wilson’s policy of neutrality, and the second (excerpted above) a haunting but proud letter shortly after the combat death of his son Quentin Roosevelt.

Item #21753, SOLD — please inquire about other items

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.


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 Advocates American Entry into World War I and Revisits His Foreign Policy Maxim:
“Speak softly and Carry a big stick”

THEODORE ROOSEVELT, Printed proof sheets sent to TR for his approval, of his “Address Delivered to the Illinois State Bar Association,” delivered at the Hotel La Salle in Chicago on April 29, 1916. Returned with more than 42 penciled corrections in his hand and Roosevelt’s Autograph Inscription Signed at top of the first page: “Dear Mr. McCh’ny, [Nathan MacChesney, President of the Illinois Bar Association] Here is the speech, with a few merely verbal corrections, sincerely, Theodore Roosevelt.” 8 pp., 7 x 24 in. The speech, as edited here, was printed in The Proceedings of the Illinois State Bar Association (Chicago Legal News Co., 1916), 761-84.


Roosevelt called for national preparedness considering the world situation, referencing Pancho Villa and Mexico, Germany and the war in Europe, and the sinking of the Lusitania. In this address nearly a year prior to the United States’ entry into World War I, Roosevelt made his opinion clear about the cost of isolationism: “The result of our inaction, of our sloth and timidity, has been that every nation in the world now realizes our weakness and that no nation in the world really believes either in our disinterestedness or our manliness.

Theodore Roosevelt’s first known use of his “big stick” philosophy was in a January 26, 1900 letter as governor of New York. Writing to Assemblyman Henry L. Sprague, Roosevelt credited the West African proverb as pivotal to his success in New York politics. During his presidency, from 1901-1908, it was a central tenet of his policies. We had the honor of selling the original 1900 letter a few years ago. This 1916 speech is only the second time we’ve seen in the market a Roosevelt signed document with the text of this most famous saying.

Item #24383, SOLD — please inquire about other items

Theodore Roosevelt Opposes Wilson and
Uses His Own Ancestry to Make a Case for “true Americanism.” (SOLD)

THEODORE ROOSEVELT, Autograph Letter Signed, “Theodore Roosevelt,” to Theodore C. Blegen, Oyster Bay, N.Y., January 12, 1916, 5 ¾ x 7 ¾ in., 2 pp.


I am a good example of the melting pot—and I am straight United States.

From his summer residence in Oyster Bay, Long Island, Theodore Roosevelt writes to historian Theodore C. Blegen.  While Blegen would go on to a prominent career in higher education, at this time, he was teaching high school in Minnesota.  Here, the former President criticizes Woodrow Wilson’s immigration policies while discussing his own family’s immigration experience.

Item #22297.01-.02, SOLD — please inquire about other items

Teddy Roosevelt Attacks Republican Committee for Robbing Him of Presidential Return

THEODORE ROOSEVELT, Partial Autograph Draft of a Speech, June 17, 1912. Front and back of a single sheet of imprinted Congress Hotel and Annex letterhead. 2 pp., 6 x 9½ in.


the National Committee can not defeat the wishes of the rank and file of the Republican voters by unseating delegates honestly elected & seated…” With note on verso, “I think I could probably be nominated

After former president Theodore Roosevelt won nine of thirteen Republican primaries in 1912, he was convinced that he was the choice of the people to succeed fellow Republican William Howard Taft. After the Republican National Committee refused to seat Roosevelt delegates instead of Taft delegates chosen by state committees, Roosevelt cried foul. Most of his delegates abstained from voting, and Taft just reached the number of delegates needed for the nomination.

In response, Roosevelt formed his own Progressive Party and divided the Republican vote, allowing Democrat Woodrow Wilson to win the general election.

Item #24951, $3,000

Bills on Women’s Suffrage and Direct Primaries
before the N.Y. Legislature (SOLD)

FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT, Typed Letter Signed, to Albert Schack, New York, February 3, 1911


Item #22091, SOLD — please inquire about other items

Teddy Roosevelt Invites Head of the A.M.A. to First “Conference on the Conservation of Natural Resources” (SOLD)

THEODORE ROOSEVELT, Typed Letter Signed as President, to Joseph D. Bryant, president of the American Medical Association, Washington, D.C., March 14, 1908. 2 pp., 7 x 9 in., On White House letterhead. With Bryant’s draft of his acceptance letter, noting the medical community’s agreement that protecting the environment is “essential to human life and prosperity.”


“the conference ought to rank among the more important meetings in the history of the country... practically all of the Governors...will attend the conference...Senators and Representatives... Justices of the Supreme Court, and the members of the Cabinet have also been invited to take part...” 

Item #23753, SOLD — please inquire about other items

President Theodore Roosevelt’s Controversial Views on America’s Wealth Gap and the Idea of a 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.


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.


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

President Theodore Roosevelt Condemns Abortion, Birth Control, and Family Planning

THEODORE ROOSEVELT, Typed Letter Signed as President, to Rev. Franklin C. Smith, January 24, 1906, Washington, D.C. On White House stationery, with five words added in his hand. 4 pp., 8 x 10½ in.


Decades before the landmark Supreme Court decision of Roe v. Wade, a passionate Roosevelt expresses his concern for the morality and “virility” of the American people. “As you are a minister of the Gospel I think I ought to say to you that I am so sure of it that I feel that no man who is both intelligent and decent can differ with me …

Item #21123.99, $25,000

Theodore Roosevelt Advocates
Fair and Square Treatment of the Freed Blacks” (SOLD)

THEODORE ROOSEVELT, Typed Letter Signed to John D. Crimmins, Washington, D. C., March 23, 1903. 1 p. On White House stationery, with four words added in Roosevelt’s hand.


Writing to a New York City philanthropist, President Theodore Roosevelt advocates equal rights for African-Americans and frames his sentiments in historical context. “I have never seen that letter. I am genuinely interested in it and of course heartily admire the way in which the Virginia President saw the kernel of the situation. What he says about emancipation is just as true now in reference to the policy of fair and square treatment of the freed blacks.

Item #21000, SOLD — please inquire about other items

Theodore Roosevelt Large-Format Photograph (SOLD)

THEODORE ROOSEVELT, Photograph. Platinum print, c. 1902. 15¼ x 20¼ in.


Most likely taken early in his presidency, Roosevelt is seated at his desk holding a pen in his right hand. The image has superb tone and detail.

Item #22511, SOLD — please inquire about other items

Theodore Roosevelt Discusses Contentious Supreme Court Decisions Governing American Colonialism (SOLD)

THEODORE ROOSEVELT, Typed Letter Signed with extensive manuscript addition, June 3, 1901, to F. G. Fincke, Oyster Bay, New York. On “The Vice President’s Chamber / Washington, D.C.” letterhead, 1 p., 7¾ x 10¼ in. With envelope with pre-printed free frank.


Seriously, unless we were to go back to the Dred Scott decision, I fail to see how the Supreme Court could do otherwise than it did.

Item #25373, SOLD — please inquire about other items

Theodore Roosevelt,
a “thorough believer in vigorous manly out-door sports,”
Warns of Sports Becoming “a permanent business” (SOLD)

THEODORE ROOSEVELT, Typed Letter Signed, as Vice President-elect, to Earl Marble, editor of The Mecca. Colorado Springs, February 18, 1901. Archivally framed.


Two weeks before taking the oath of office of vice president, Roosevelt enjoys a hunting expedition to Colorado and explains the difference between sport as salubrious exercise and pastime, and sport as big business, to a Denver newsman. In the context of his published writings on the subject, Roosevelt believed that when sports become “a permanent business,” the participants do not contribute anything to society other than their athletic prowess. Worse still, the rise of professional sports – rather than universal participation in amateur activities – was a “sign” of national “decadence,” akin to the gladiatorial contests of ancient Rome.

Item #21846, SOLD — please inquire about other items

Racist, Anti Roosevelt Drawing and Note

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


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.


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, $15,000

Roosevelt Recognizes Attributes of “brave and honorable” Legislator in Battle over the Reorganization of the NYPD (SOLD)

THEODORE ROOSEVELT, Typed Letter Signed, May 16, 1895


Just ten days into his impactful two-year stint as President of the Board of Police Commissioners, Roosevelt attempts to shape the complex debate over competing reform proposals in the state legislature. In part due to Roosevelt’s advocacy, and veteran upstate legislator D.A. Ainsworth’s reversal of positions, the “Supplemental Re-Organization Bill,” granting autocratic powers to longtime Police Chief Thomas Byrnes, was defeated. “Only a brave and honorable man will frankly and openly revise his action, when he receives trustworthy information that the measure is not what it seemed to him to be…

Item #21878, SOLD — please inquire about other items
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