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Elmer W. Henderson – Who Defeated Railroad Dining Car Segregation – Congratulates African American Inventor for American Institute of Chemists Award

ELMER W. HENDERSON, Autograph Letter Signed, to Lloyd Augustus Hall, January 15, 1958, Washington, DC. On “Congress of the United States / Committee on Government Operations / House of Representatives” letterhead. 1 p., 6 x 9 in.

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Congressional attorney Elmer W. Henderson, a hero of the early civil rights movement, congratulates African American chemist Lloyd A. Hall for a recent professional honor. In 1955, Hall also became the first African American elected to the National Board of Directors of the American Institute of Chemists (AIC). The following year, the AIC awarded Hall the Honor Scroll Award. On special occasions, the AIC invites a prominent chemist or chemical engineer to lecture to the Members and Fellows of the AIC on a topic of professional interest. In September 1957, Hall delivered a lecture on “The Chemist and the AIC,” likely the occasion for this congratulatory letter from Henderson a few months later.

Item #26468, $450

1790 Massachusetts Newspaper Discussing Nantucket Whalers

[NANTUCKET], Newspaper, The Columbian Centinel. Boston: Benjamin Russell, December 15, 1790. 4 pp.

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Item #30051.015, $450

Anthony C. McAuliffe Writes Amidst Tests of Atomic Bombs at Bikini Atoll in 1946

ANTHONY C. McAULIFFE, Typed Letter Signed, to Ashley T. Cole, July 11, 1946, USS Mt. McKinley, Fleet Postoffice, San Francisco, California; on “Joint Task Force One” stationery. 1 p., 8 x 10½ in.

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In this brief letter, General A. C. McAuliffe agrees to inscribe a copy of a unit history of the 103rd Infantry Division for the New York attorney and autograph collector Ashley T. Cole after he returns to Washington from atomic tests in the Pacific Ocean. This letter was written between the test denotations of the fourth and fifth atomic bombs ever exploded.

Unit historians Ralph Mueller and Jerry Turk wrote Report after Action: The Story of the 103rd Infantry Division with illustrations by artist Bill Barker, and it was published in 1945. Because McAuliffe led the 103rd through the end of the war in Europe, Cole wanted to get his autograph on the brief volume.

Item #26778, $750

Mercury Astronaut Gordon Cooper’s Signed “Bioscience Data Plan” for Conducting Vital Biomedical Research on the Impact of Space Flight on the Human Body

GORDON COOPER JR., Typed Document Signed, “NASA PROJECT MERCURY WORKING PAPER NO. 164 / PROJECT MERCURY / BIOSCIENCE DATA PLAN,” December 1, 1960, inscribed “My personal copy / Gordon Cooper.” 7 leaves + covers, 8 x 10 ½ in. Three-hole punched on left side; some toning; very good.

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Medical researchers wanted to gather “aeromedical” data and test effects on the Project Mercury astronaut’s body of “significant and unusual stresses of manned capsule flight.” The stresses they were looking into included weightlessness, acceleration tolerance, radiation, noise vibration, thermal stresses, and hypobaric and environmental control system effects. At the time, some scientists believed that weightlessness could lead to circulatory failure, disorientation, gastrointestinal and urinary disturbances, and lack of muscular coordination. The key conclusion of Project Mercury’s biomedical program was that human beings could function in the space environment for incrementally increasing flight durations of more than one day.

Item #24308.01, $750

John Ericsson, inventor of the USS Monitor, discusses sales of his Caloric Engines

JOHN ERICSSON, Autograph Letter Signed, to Unknown Recipient, September 29, 1860. 2 pp.

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I had hoped you were snugly & permanently located on the lung healing slopes of the Hudson at West Point. You will now be much nearer to the metropolis…

Item #21303.01, $900

Walter Chrysler Advises His Son and Namesake to Complete What He Starts

WALTER P. CHRYSLER, Typed Letter Signed “Dad,” to Walter P. Chrysler Jr., January 31, 1925, New York, NY. On personal letterhead; includes original mailing envelope. 4 pp., 8 x 10 in.

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there is one thing you want to think about and that is to have pride enough to accomplish the things you start out to do.”

In this warm letter to his teenaged son, attending the Hotchkiss School in Connecticut, Walter Chrysler provides fatherly advice about determination, commitment, friendships, and partnerships.

Item #26775, $1,200

A General Account of … Using Atomic Energy
for Military Purposes

H.D. SMYTH, A General Account of … Using Atomic Energy for Military Purposes Under the Auspices of the United States Government 1940-1945. Written at the Request of Major General L. R. Groves, United States Army... Washington, DC: Superintendent of Documents. (1945). Book, 1945. 182 pp, illus. with 2 graphs. With ownership signature of “Erwin Hiebert” twice.

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Owned by Manhattan Project Scientist, Assistant to Chief of Scientific Branch of the War Department (1946-7) and notable scientist and historian of science Erwin Hiebert.

Item #20807, $2,250

Inventor Thomas A. Edison Responds to His Son’s Note About a Speaking Request

THOMAS A. EDISON, Autograph Endorsement Initialed, on Charles Edison, Autograph Letter, to Thomas A. Edison, March 3, 1923. 1 p., 5 x 8 in.

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Complete Transcript

                                                                        Mar 3/23

Father –

        Oh lookit!!

I suppose they want me on the theory that “a man can always talk best when he aint bothered by facts and information” as Kin Hubbard says.

However “my attainments in the field of electrical engineering” are such as should be the envy of any college president.

[Thomas A. Edison endorsement at top:]

Charlie / you might put you foot in it. / E

Item #26773, $2,500

Prospectus of Society for Establishing Useful Manufactures

[ALEXANDER HAMILTON], Newspaper. Gazette of the United States, September 10, 1791. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: John Fenno. 4 pp., 10 x 16 in. The prospectus is printed on the front page in three columns.

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Contrasting with the agrarian view of many Virginia founding fathers, New Yorker Alexander Hamilton saw an industrial future for the United States. After nearly two years of study and with the aid of Assistant Secretary Tench Coxe, Secretary of the Treasury Hamilton compiled his famed Report on Manufactures at the request of Congress. With the Society for Establishing Useful Manufactures, Coxe and Hamilton advocate creating the nation’s first public-private partnership to develop the area around the Great Falls of the Passaic River, using the cataract for power.

Item #30014.06, $2,500

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, $2,800

Early Electricity and the Spread of the Telephone from the Documents of George C. Maynard

GEORGE C. MAYNARD, Archive. Journals, notebooks, notes, and related papers regarding the spread of telephone communications in the late 19th century. Nineteen items.

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George C. Maynard (1839-1918) was a telegraph operator who worked for the U.S. Army Telegraph Service during the Civil War. He later worked for the U.S. Signal Service and the fledgling telephone industry. He documented the growing telecommunications industry as curator at the National Museum (now the Arts and Industries Building at the Smithsonian Institution) in Washington, D.C. He was also Superintendent of the first telephone company in the District. This collection documents the growth of the telephone and related businesses in the cities and towns of the United States, along with some observations on the Civil War, home and family life, donations to the Smithsonian.

Item #23012, $4,500

Aviation Pioneer Amelia Earhart Returns from European Tour with Publisher Husband

AMELIA EARHART, Signed Photograph of Amelia Earhart and George P. Putnam, signed by both, June 24, 1932, French steamship Ile de France, Atlantic Ocean. 1 p., 9 x 6.75 in.

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This original black-and-white photograph pictures aviation pioneer Amelia Earhart and her husband, publisher George P. Putnam, on the deck of a transatlantic steamship. On May 20, 1932, Earhart, who four years earlier had been the first female passenger to cross the Atlantic Ocean by airplane, set an aviation record by becoming the first female pilot to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean. She flew 2,026 miles from Newfoundland to northern Ireland, where she was greeted by a farm laborer. When asked by a British reporter what her husband thought of her flying solo across the Atlantic, she replied, “I had to sell my husband the idea because he was not over-keen, but he did not put any obstacles in my way.

Joined by her husband, she departed on a triumphant tour of Europe. She was received by the Pope, entertained by royalty, and visited governments throughout Europe. After her tour, she and her husband boarded the Ile de France on June 14, 1932, and began their journey back to the United States. This photograph was taken on the deck of that ship and is inscribed “To M. William” by Earhart and also signed by her husband. They arrived to a ticker-tape parade in New York City on June 20. She then flew to Washington, D.C., where President Herbert Hoover presented her with a special gold medal from the National Geographic Society, and Congress awarded her the Distinguished Flying Cross.

Item #27329, $10,000

Amelia Earhart and Richard E. Byrd—Aviation Pioneers in Signed Group Photo

AMELIA EARHART; RICHARD BYRD, Signed Photograph of Clarence Chamberlain, Richard E. Byrd, Amelia Earhart, and Bernt Balchen, signed by latter three, July 7, 1930, New York, New York. 1 p., 8 x 10 in.

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This original black-and-white photograph pictures four aviation pioneers shortly before Byrd presented an Explorer’s Club flag that he carried to the South Pole to George P. Putnam (1887-1950), the Vice President of the Explorers’ Club and Amelia Earhart’s future husband. The Club was a men’s-only organization, which prompted Earhart to join the Society of Women Geographers.

From 1928 to 1930, Richard E. Byrd led his first expedition to the Antarctic, involving two ships and three airplanes. The participants constructed a base camp called “Little America” on the Ross Ice Shelf and began scientific expeditions. Among the participants was a 19-year-old Boy Scout, Paul A. Siple, who had been chosen to accompany the expedition. Among the achievements of the two-year expedition was the first flight to the South Pole in November 1929, piloted by Bernt Balchen. As a result, Congress promoted Byrd to the rank of rear admiral, making him the youngest admiral in the history of the U.S. Navy at age 41. Byrd would go on to lead four more Antarctic expeditions between 1934 and 1956.

In July 1930, publisher George P. Putnam gave a luncheon for Byrd at the Barbizon-Plaza hotel in New York City. Putnam used it as the occasion to announce several forthcoming books by members of the expedition, including Byrd’s book Little America, Paul Siple’s volume A Boy Scout with Byrd, New York Times reporter Russell Owen’s book entitled South of the Sun, and a four-volume set describing the scientific findings of the expedition. At the luncheon, Byrd presented Putnam with a flag of the Explorers’ Club, which he had carried to the Antarctic. Putnam stated that the flag would have a place in the clubhouse with trophies of Peary, Amundsen, and other explorers. In addition to the aviation pioneers Amelia Earhart and Clarence D. Chamberlin, other guests included Kermit Roosevelt (1889-1943), the son of President Theodore Roosevelt; New York Herald Tribune publisher Ogden Mills Reid (1882-1947); Cosmopolitan magazine editor Ray Long (1878-1935); and aviation pioneer Ruth Rowland Nichols (1901-1960).

Item #27328, $10,000

Jefferson’s Autograph Notes Explaining Napier’s Rule on Spherical Triangles, a Branch of Geometry Crucial to Astronomy, Geodesy, Navigation, & Architecture

THOMAS JEFFERSON, Autograph Manuscript. Notes on Napier’s Theorem. [Monticello, Va.], [ca. March 18, 1814].

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John Napier, who is also credited with inventing logarithms and pioneering the use of the decimal point, first published his rule in 1614. While spherical trigonometry was the foundation for many scientific pursuits including astronomy, celestial navigation, geodesy (the measurement and mathematical representation of the Earth), architecture, and other disciplines, Napier’s Theorum remained largely unknown in America because of its complexity. Since it was so important to his own scholarly pursuits, Jefferson, the Sage of Monticello, was the perfect person to school a professor friend on this important, but complicated mathematical formula.

For instance, a navigator’s distance and position can be determined by “solving” spherical triangles with latitude and longitude lines—essentially very large triangles laid out on a curved surface. Astronomers apply similar principles; stargazers imagine the sky to be a vast dome of stars, with triangles laid out on curved (in this case concave) surface. The distance of stars can be calculated by the viewer, who is considered to be standing at the center (the Earth) and looking up at stars and planets as if they were hung on the inside surface of the sphere. In architecture, spherical triangles fill the corner spaces between a dome that sits on foursquare arches—called a dome on pendentives.

Item #23358, $35,000

The Building Blocks of Albert Einstein’s Creative Mind

[ALBERT EINSTEIN], Ephemera. Set of Anker-Steinbaukasten children’s building blocks by F. Ad. Richter & Cie., Rudolstadt, [Germany], c.1880s. Approximately 160 composite quartz sand, chalk, and linseed oil blocks in red, limestone and slate gray, in various sizes and shapes, together with three or more sets of building plans, all contained in two wooden boxes with printed Anker-Steinbaukasten labels.

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A unique and important artifact of his childhood.

Item #24284, $180,000