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Revolution and Founding Fathers (1765 - 1784)
Revolution and Founding Fathers (1765 - 1784)

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Presidential Secretary Tobias Lear’s Copy of Erasmus of Rotterdam’s English-Latin Humanistic Philosophies

TOBIAS LEAR, Signed Book, Erasmus’s Select Colloquies. London, 1766. In Latin and English. Signed “Tobias Lear ejus Liber ex dono Patris iri anno domini noster 1773” on the rear free fly. A rough copy, rubbed, boards separating but present. Also signed by Tobias Sherburne and Benjamin Lincoln Lear at front.

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Item #22021.04, ON HOLD

Unique Patriotic Toasts from Boston’s Sons of Liberty

[SONS OF LIBERTY]. WILLIAM RUSSELL, Autograph Document, August 14, 1769, Boston, Massachusetts. 1 p., with additional writing on verso.

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These patriotic toasts—written on the fourth anniversary of Boston’s Stamp Act Riot—defiantly salute American liberty. The writer may have numbered among the 350 Sons of Liberty who celebrated the event at a dinner in Dorchester, Massachusetts. He would have been in good company: John Hancock, Paul Revere, Samuel Adams, and John Adams were among the guests.

Item #23891, $19,000

Virginia’s Gunpowder Incident - An Important Steppingstone on the Road to Independence - Including an Address Drafted by Thomas Jefferson (SOLD)

VIRGINIA. THOMAS JEFFERSON, Pamphlet. The proceedings of the House of Burgesses of Virginia, convened in General Assembly, on Thursday the first day of June, 1775, will fully appear in their journals, printed at large; but as it was judged necessary that the most material transactions should be seen in one connected and distinct point of view, the House ordered that these should be published in a pamphlet, and they are contained in the following sheets. Williamsburg: Alexander Purdie, [1775]. 48 pp. Disbound.

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The only copy known in private hands, with only eight known in institutions.

“the British Parliament has no right to intermeddle with the support of civil Government in the Colonies. For us, not for them, has Government been instituted here....

at the very time of requiring from us grants of money, they are making disposition to invade us with large armaments by sea and land, which is a style of asking gifts not reconcilable to our freedom....  - Address to Gov. Dunmore, drafted by Jefferson.

Correspondence between the Virginia House of Burgesses and the Royal Governor John Murray, 4th Earl of Dunmore, who attempted to remove gunpowder from Williamsburg to keep it out of reach of the Revolutionaries. As in Massachusetts (where, coincidentally, only a day earlier the “shot heard round the world” was fired under similar circumstances at Lexington and Concord, though news had not yet spread), the patriot militias mustered and demanded the return of the powder. Patrick Henry claimed that it belonged to the colony, not the Crown, and Thomas Jefferson drafted a response of the House of Burgesses, including the words quoted above that would presage the Declaration of Independence.

Item #23780, SOLD — please inquire about other items

The Declaration of Independence – Rare July 1776 Massachusetts Spy Printing with Paul Revere Masthead (SOLD)

DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE, Newspaper. The Massachusetts Spy, Or, American Oracle of Liberty. Published by Isaiah Thomas, printed by W. Stearns and D. Bigelow, Worcester, Mass., July 17, 1776. Vol. 6, no. 273.

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“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal…”

This issue of Worcester’s Massachusetts Spy is one of the most attractive and displayable contemporary newspaper printings of the Declaration of Independence. In addition to having the complete text on page one, the elaborate masthead—unusual for the period—was engraved by Paul Revere and features an image of Liberty seated with a pole and cap. The motto, “Undaunted by Tyrants we’ll DIE or be FREE” makes clear the newspaper’s fervent support of the patriotic cause. The Spy gave many in “western Massachusetts” their first view of America’s immortal founding document – even before it became ‘unanimous.’[1]

Item #23800, SOLD — please inquire about other items

The Declaration of Independence, Printed in 1776 Journals of Congress - Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson’s Chief Clerk’s Copy (SOLD)

[DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE], Book. Journals of Congress. Containing the Proceedings from January 1, 1776, to January 1, 1777. Volume II. York-Town [Penn.]: John Dunlap, 1778. Second issue (i.e. Dunlap’s imprint but incorporating Aitken’s sheets). 520 pp., 8 x 4 ¾ in. Title page with New York City Bar Association stamp, discreet accession number on verso. Lacking the index (xxvii pp.).

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This rare volume of the Journals of Congress, covering the pivotal year of 1776, has an unusual printing history. The first 424 pages were printed in Philadelphia in 1777 by Robert Aitken. The project was interrupted when the British marched into Philadelphia on September 26, 1777. Congress fled, and after a day in Lancaster established itself in York, Pennsylvania. Aitken escaped with some of his finished sheets but had to abandon his press. On the other hand, John Dunlap, the original printer of the Declaration of Independence, managed to remove his press. In May 1778, Congress hired Dunlap to complete the reprint of their 1776 journals.

This copy bears the signature of Henry Remsen Jr., (1762-1843), the Chief Clerk of the State Department when Jefferson was Secretary of State. At that time, the Patent Office was part of the State Department, so among his accomplishments Remsen recorded the first rules for the examination of patents, a subject dear to Jefferson the inventor. Remsen later became a noteworthy New York financier.

Item #23757, SOLD — please inquire about other items

The First Engraving of the Declaration of Independence - The Only Known of the 3 Ordered on Linen (SOLD)

[DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE]. BENJAMIN OWEN TYLER, Broadside on linen, engraved by Peter Maverick, [Washington, 1818], approximately 24½ x 31 in.

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“To Thomas Jefferson, Patron of the Arts, the firm Supporter of American Independence, and the Rights of Man, this Charter of Freedom is, with the highest esteem, most Respectfully Inscribed by his much Obliged and very Humble Servant Benjamin Owen Tyler.”

Benjamin Owen Tyler’s engraving was the first decorative print of the Declaration. A self-taught calligrapher and instructor of penmanship, Tyler copied and designed the text of the Declaration, and made exact copies (facsimilies) of the signatures from the engrossed manuscript. The exactness of his work is particularly impressive given the limitations of copying them freehand prior to engraving on a copper plate. Richard Rush, son of the signer Benjamin Rush and acting Secretary of State in 1817, gave a strong endorsement which is printed on the bottom left corner.

Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, James Madison, John Quincy Adams, Henry Clay, John Calhoun, and Daniel Tompkins are among the many notables who ordered copies in advance.

Tyler’s subscription book was donated by Albert Small to the University of Virginia, and now can be viewed online. After extensive study, we count approximately 1650 orders for copies on paper at $5 each, and 40 for copies on vellum at $7 each. 3 noted special orders on silk, 2 of which are known to survive. Only 3 were ordered on linen, of which this is the only copy known to survive. Silk and linen copies also apparently cost $7 each. The three purchasers of premium copies on linen were John G.[?] Camp, Buffalo, N.Y., J. C. Spencer, Canandaigua, NY and John Savage, Salem, N.Y. We don’t know which of the original subscribers ours belonged to, but it does have distinguished provenance, selling in 1979 in the Nathaniel E. Stein auction at Sotheby Parke Bernet, January 30, 1979, lot 47. Stein also owned Tyler’s subscription book, lot 46.

Item #23754, SOLD — please inquire about other items

The Declaration of Independence
Rare Broadside Printed and Posted in July, 1776

[DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE], Broadside. [Exeter, New Hampshire: attributed Robert Luist Fowle], [ca. July 16-19, 1776], two-column format, sheet size approx. 15⅛ x 19⅝ in. Pin holes in three corners, with the upper-left corner torn in approx the same position, indicates that this was posted publicly to spread the momentous news.

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Broadsides such as this fanned the flames of independence. Passed from hand to hand, read aloud at town gatherings, or posted in public places, broadsides (single pages with print only one side) were meant to quickly convey news. Including the present copy, there are fewer than a dozen examples of this Exeter, N.H. printing known. Pin holes in three corners and the torn upper-left corner suggest this example was posted publicly.

In a way, this Declaration broadside is even more “original” than the signed manuscript pictured by most Americans. This is not yet “The Unanimous Declaration of the thirteen United States,” but rather “A Declaration, by the Representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress assembled.” On July 4,  New York’s delegation abstained from voting for independence. After replacing their delegates, New York joined the other 12 colonies.

Moreover, as here on the broadside, the July 4 Declaration was signed by only two men: Continental Congress President John Hancock and Secretary Charles Thomson (here with the common variant “Thompson”). After New York came on board, Congress resolved on July 19 to have the Declaration engrossed with a new title: “The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America.” Most of the 56 signers affixed their names on the engrossed document on August 2, 1776, with some added even later.

Thus, broadsides such as this one preserve the text of the Declaration of Independence as it actually was issued in July of 1776.

Item #21991.99, PRICE ON REQUEST

Pennsylvania Magazine, June 1776, Prints July 2, 1776 Resolution Declaring Independence - One of Only Two Contemporary Publications (SOLD)

[DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE], Pennsylvania Magazine: or American Monthly Museum. For June 1776. Philadelphia: R. Aitken, [ca. July 4-6, 1776]. [249]-296 (48 pp.), 5¼ x 8¼ in., lacking fold out map.

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“July 2. this day the Hon. Continental Congress declared the UNITED COLONIES FREE AND INDEPENDENT STATES.”

Among the first printed notices of the Declaration of Independence’s passage, The Pennsylvania Magazine: or American Monthly Museum, edited by Thomas Paine, held the June issue past its July 3 publication date, allowing notice of this important Congressional action to appear.

Item #23750.01, SOLD — please inquire about other items

John Hancock Signed 1776 Privateering Act

JOHN HANCOCK, Printed Document Signed as President of the Continental Congress. Instructions to the commanders of Private Ships of Vessels of War, which shall have Commissions or Letters of Marque and Reprisals, authorizing them to make Captures of British Vessels and Cargoes. [Philadelphia: printed by John Dunlap], dated in text April 3, 1776 [signed between April 3, 1776 and October, 1777]. 1 p., 8¾ x 13½ in. Framed to 24½ x 22½ in.

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The March 23, 1776 resolve of the Continental Congress to empower privateers, was a momentous step in the run-up to the Declaration of Independence. Congress had founded a Navy the previous fall, but had few funds to build it, and thus relied heavily on privateers to harass British shipping. “You may, by Force of Arms, attack, subdue, and take all Ships and other Vessels belonging to the Inhabitants of Great-Britain, on the High Seas.”

Item #23701.99, $30,000

Declaration of Independence: Benjamin Tyler 1818 - First Print with Facsimile Signatures

BENJAMIN OWEN TYLER, Broadside, Drawn by Tyler and engraved by Peter Maverick, [Washington, D.C., 1818]. 1 p., 23⅞ x 31 in., archivally framed to approx. 32 x 40 in.

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“In Congress, July 4th 1776. The Unanimous Declaration of the thirteen United States of America.”

Item #23683, $35,000

The First Published Book by an African-American Woman

PHILLIS WHEATLEY, Book. Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral. First edition, with the advertisement on the final page reading “Lately published in 2 vols. Twelves...” and engraved frontispiece portrait after Scipio Morehead (second state). London: Archibald Bell, 1773, for Cox and Berry, Boston. 128 pp., 4⅜ x 6¾ in. Modern half brown leather, marbled sides.

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“Celestial muse, my arduous flight sustain
And raise my mind to a seraphic strain!”

—from Wheatley’s“Thoughts on the Works of Providence”

Item #23638, PRICE ON REQUEST

Franklin Proclaims,
“Britain has no Right to tax the Colonies…”

[BENJAMIN FRANKLIN], Newspaper, The Pennsylvania Chronicle. Philadelphia: William Goddard, February 6, 1769. 8 pp. (pp. 9-16), 10 x 12.5 in.

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Item #30000.71, $950

John Hancock Addresses Massachusetts Legislature

[JOHN HANCOCK], Newspaper. Massachusetts Centinel, Boston, Mass., June 4, 1788. 4 pp., 9½ x 14½ in. Trimmed close at bottom edge, with minor text loss to pp. 3-4 but not affecting Hancock’s speech. “X”s mark certain columns for reading or copying.

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Item #20650.31, $450

Benjamin Franklin’s Newspaper Reports on the Proposed Union of the Colonies

[BENJAMIN FRANKLIN], Newspaper. Pennsylvania Gazette, Philadelphia, Pa., September 12, 1754. 4 pp., 9¼ x 14½ in.

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New York’s legislative bodies and governor volley for position on a defensive pact that suggested that the colonies join together for the first time. With the usual shipping news, advertisements, and news from other colonial cities, including New York and Williamsburg.

Item #22426.06, $3,800

Benjamin Franklin’s Newspaper Reports Virginia’s Call to Arms at the Outset of the French and Indian War

[BENJAMIN FRANKLIN], Newspaper. Pennsylvania Gazette, Philadelphia, Pa., November 7, 1754. 4 pp., 9¼ x 14½ in.

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From Williamsburg, Virginia, Governor Robert Dinwiddie addresses the House of Burgesses to address the continuing problem of French and Indian incursions into Virginia’s western territories and calling them to action.

Item #22426.08, $3,800

Washington Drives the British from Boston; Congress Authorizes Arming Vessels to Take British Prizes (SOLD)

[REVOLUTIONARY WAR], Newspaper. Pennsylvania Evening Post. Philadelphia, Pa., Benjamin Towne. March 26, 1776. 4 pp., (pp. 151-154) 8½ x 10½ in.

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A report of General Clinton’s landing in North Carolina, extracts of letters regarding troop movements, two letters from George Washington, to Congress and Lord Sterling, reporting his success in taking Dorchester Heights and affecting a British evacuation of Boston, account of defeat of Scots Highlander loyalists at Moore’s Creek Bridge, North Carolina, extracts from congressional votes regarding troop organization and nomination of officers, and a congressional extract authorizing the creation of a navy since “the petition of these United Colonies to the King for the redress of great and manifest grievances have . . . been rejected.”

Item #23207.10, SOLD — please inquire about other items

Opposition to and Support of the Townshend Acts, and an Ad for a Tooth-Ache Cure

[REVOLUTIONARY WAR] [WILLIAM GODDARD], Newspaper. Pennsylvania Chronicle, and Universal Advertiser, May, 29 1769, Philadelphia, Pa., 8 pp., 9⅜ x 11¾ in.

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Item #30000.72, $750

The Declaration of Independence:
The First Newspaper Printing, the Second Publication in Any Form and the First to Closely Follow Thomas Jefferson’s Style (SOLD)

[DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE], Newspaper. The Pennsylvania Evening Post, Saturday, July 6, 1776, Philadelphia: Benjamin Towne, 4 pages (8½ x 10 in.)

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Item #DOI - 7-6-1776, SOLD — please inquire about other items

Declaration of Independence Centennial (SOLD)

[HARPER’S WEEKLY], Newspaper. July 8, 1876.

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The July 8, 1876 issue of Harper’s Weekly, containing a supplement celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, complete with a centerspread facsimile of one of Jefferson’s draft manuscripts and the signatures of the signers, along with related engravings.

Item #30011.003, SOLD — please inquire about other items

Connecticut Pays Frank Freeman,
A Revolutionary War Free Black (SOLD)

[FRANK FREEMAN], Printed Document Signed by Jonathan Lawrence, Number 847. Hartford, Conn. Treasury Office, June 1, 1782. With a large hole-punch cancellation mark. Docketed on verso with record of 7 interest payments, and signed vertically by Freeman with his mark (“X”).

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Frank Freeman of Derby, Connecticut receives pay and interest for his Revolutionary War service. Freeman enlisted in 1775 and served in the Connecticut Line. He served in an expedition to Canada (most likely under Generals Schuyler and Montgomery in 1775) and in the 6th and 2nd Connecticut Regiments.

Item #23416, SOLD — please inquire about other items
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