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George Washington
George Washington

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Leaves From George Washington’s Own Draft of His First Inaugural Address

GEORGE WASHINGTON, Autograph Manuscript, Pages 27-28, 35-36, and 47-48 of Washington’s own draft of his undelivered inaugural address. [written ca. January 1789]. 6 pp. on 3 leaves, 7 x 9 in.


“This Constitution, is really in its formation a government of the people”

George Washington understood that the new government’s success, as had the Constitutional Convention’s, rested squarely on his shoulders. He also knew that everything he did as the first president would set precedents for future generations. He wrote privately about the promise, ambiguity, and tension of high office, and these same themes are woven throughout his original, undelivered inaugural address. Would the government work as intended, or suffer death from a thousand cuts? Still, the former Commander in Chief recognized the nation’s potential, as well as the honorable men who had come together to build the Constitution.

The three unique leaves—six pages—offered here are written entirely in Washington’s hand. They include assertions that government power is derived from the people, and a highly significant section of the Address explicitly arguing that the Constitution is subject to amendment and, by implication, advocating the adoption of the Bill of Rights. They also include the oratorical climax of the address—arguably the most visionary and impassioned passage of the address.

Item #23845-47, $1,200,000

The Birth of Washington, the District of Columbia

[GEORGE WASHINGTON], Newspaper. Gazette of the United States. New York, N.Y., July 17, 1790. Including complete early printing of The Residence Act passed on July 16, 1790. 4 pp., 10¼ x 16¼ in.


“a district of territory, not exceeding ten miles square, to be located as hereafter directed on the river Potomac, at some place between the mouths of the Eastern Branch and Connogochegue, be, and the same is hereby accepted for the permanent seat of the government of the United States…”

Item #30022.31, $1,250

George Washington on the Impending Execution of Charles Asgill: “The Enemy ought to have learnt before this, that my Resolutions are not to be trifled with.”

GEORGE WASHINGTON, Letter Signed, as Commander-in-Chief, Continental Army, to Elias Dayton, Headquarters, [Newburgh, N.Y.], June 11, 1782. 3 pp., with free frank signed on address panel on verso of 3rd page. 9 x 14 in.


In the summer of 1782, following America’s victory at Yorktown the previous September, peace negotiations were just getting underway in Paris between the United States and Britain. With their outcome uncertain, desperate Loyalists here sought to strengthen the British hold on New York, undermine America’s vulnerable financial system, and exact revenge for their own losses. Spies were everywhere.

In this powerful letter about two major cases, Washington supports civilian authority, shows frustration over his troops’ handling of captured spies – especially a delay in following a habeas corpus ruling – and expresses steely anger over the British response to the pending execution of young Charles Asgill in retaliation for the murder of American captain Joshua Huddy.

Item #23811, $52,500

A Foundational Act of the America’s Financial System:
Incorporating the Bank of the United States

[GEORGE WASHINGTON], Newspaper. Gazette of the United States, Philadelphia, Pa., March 2, 1791. 4 pp. (765-768), 10½ x 17 in.


“Whereas it is conceived that the establishment of a bank for the United States, upon a foundation sufficiently extensive ...  and at the same time upon the principals which afford adequate security for an upright and prudent administration…”

Item #23392, $2,500

George Washington as a Mason

CURRIER & IVES. [GEORGE WASHINGTON], George Washington as a Mason. Small folio lithograph, 1868. Black & white.


Item #23708, $850

George Washington’s Rare Anti-Catholic Test Oath, Taken before being Appointed Colonel and Commander in Chief of all Virginia Forces

GEORGE WASHINGTON, Document Signed. A list of subscribers to the declaration denying Catholic doctrines. Washington’s signature is the 9th in the second column below the declaration. May 22, 1754 – July 17, 1755.


“there is no Transubstantiation in the sacrament of the Lords supper or in the elements of Bread and wine...”


An Address to the Inhabitants of Great Britain – July 1775 Print of Message that went with the Olive Branch Petition

[REVOLUTIONARY WAR], Newspaper. Rivington’s New York Gazetteer...and Weekly Advertiser, New York, N.Y., July 21, 1775. 4 pp., 11½ x 18 in.


While 1776 will remain the most memorable year in American history, 1775 actually marks the moment when the colonists became Americans. Hostilities had already begun, yet the delegates of the Continental Congress still sought to avoid war. On July 8, the Continental Congress approved and sent the Olive Branch Petition to King George III. At the same time, they sent an appeal stating the case directly to the British people. Both attempts failed, and we have found no evidence that the address was even published in England. Here, in Rivington’s New York paper, it is published in the first two columns of page one, and the first column of page two.

Item #23544, $12,500

George Washington’s First Thanksgiving Proclamation as President

[GEORGE WASHINGTON], Newspaper. Massachusetts Centinel. Boston, Mass. Benjamin Russell, October 14, 1789. 4 pp. (33-36), 9½ x 14¾ in. Disbound, trimmed a little close at top.


On September 28, 1789, just before the closing of the First Federal Congress, the Senate added its assent to a House resolution requesting that George Washington be asked to call for a day of public thanksgiving and prayer. Later that day, Congress ratified the Bill of Rights to be sent to the states for their ratification, and on the next day the first session of the first Federal Congress was adjourned. On October 3, George Washington issued America’s first presidential Thanksgiving Proclamation and the Centinal reported the news 11 days later, only four days after the New York newspaper Gazette of the United States, essentially an arm of Washington’s Federalist Party, printed the proclamation.

Item #23459, $11,500

Lady Washington’s Reception Engraving

[MARTHA WASHINGTON], “Lady Washington’s Reception./ From the original Picture in the possession of A. T. Stewart, Esq.” Engraving by Alexander Hay Ritchie, after a painting by Daniel Huntington. New York, Emil Seitz, 1865. 37 x 25 in.


Item #23068, $4,500

A Front Page Printing of Washington’s
Second State-of-the-Union Address

[GEORGE WASHINGTON], Newspaper. Columbian Centinel, Boston, Mass., December 22, 1790. 4 pp., disbound.


Item #30001.22, $1,450

Quartermaster’s Accounts, 1781

[NICHOLAS QUACKENBUSH], Manuscript Document consisting of four string-bound double folio (36 x 26 in.) sheets folded to folio size, 6 pp. filled in, Albany, March to May 1781 document in great detail “Articles delivered.”


A fascinating set of ledger sheets retained by Nicholas Quackenbush. They note the date, the voucher number, “To Whom Delivered” and “By whose order” and then provide a long set of columns to account for almost every conceivable article, ranging from horses to pikes, a wide variety of tools, all types of lumber, as well as foodstuffs.

Item #21007.09, $3,500

Banned in Boston: Barring the Return of Tories
“Declared Traitors to Their Country”

[SAMUEL ADAMS], Manuscript Document. Resolve by the Town of Boston, bearing a clerical copy of the signature of William Cooper, Town Clerk. Boston, Mass., April 10, 1783. Followed by: NATHANIEL BARBER. Letter Signed, to “the Committee of Correspondence &c or the Selectmen of the Town or plantation of [blank] to be Communicated to the Town or Plantation.” Boston, Mass., April 17, 1783. 3 pp., 8¼ x 12¾ in.


“after So wicked a Conspiracy…by certain Ingrates…declared Traitors to their Country it is the Opinion of this Town that they ought never to be Suffered to return.”

This document links two Boston patriots, Samuel Adams and Nathaniel Barber, over a contentious issue at war’s end – what to do with the Loyalists? The two-part manuscript comprises a 1783 Town of Boston resolve and a corresponding cover letter from the Boston Committee of Correspondence. The letter is signed by chairman Nathaniel Barber, a participant in the Boston Tea Party.

The Boston town resolve was created by a committee of three: Samuel Adams, James Otis, and Joseph Greenleaf. Though their names do not appear in the text, Adams biographers specifically credit him as the author. With the Revolutionary War over, and the definitive Treaty of Peace under final negotiation, Adams was lobbying hard against the return of unrepentant Tories. They were a threat to national security: “The British King cannot have more Subservient Tools and Emissaries amongst us for the purpose of Sowing the Seeds of Dissention in this infant Nation….” Barber’s accompanying letter echoes that sentiment.

The texts of both documents were subsequently printed as a two-leaved broadside and sent to towns throughout the state. It was also printed in newspapers in other states, who saw it as a model for their own consideration of Tory property issues.

This draft version was preserved in the papers of Luke Drury of Grafton. Ironically, Drury, a former captain of Minutemen would be imprisoned four years later during a home-grown Massachusetts conspiracy – Shays’ Rebellion.

Item #20638, $10,000

Jefferys’s 1776 American Atlas: The Best of the Century

THOMAS JEFFERYS, Atlas. The American Atlas; or, a Geographical Description of the Whole Continent of America; Wherein are Delineated at Large its Several Regions, Countries, States, and Islands; and Chiefly the British Colonies.... London: Robert Sayer and John Bennett, 1776. 22 engraved maps, on 29 sheets, all with original outline color, expertly bound to style in 18th-century diced Russian gilt leather. A very fine and complete copy. The book with maps folded, 15¾ x 22¼ in.


Item #20862.99, $146,000

1776 “Holster Atlas” -
Used by British Officers in the Revolution

[REVOLUTIONARY WAR] [ROBERT SAYER AND JOHN BENNETT], The American Military Pocket Atlas; Being an Approved Collection of Correct Maps, Both General and Particular, of the British Colonies; Especially Those Which Now Are, or Probably May Be the Theatre of War…. London, [1776].


This atlas, designed for British officers to use in the field, includes the “maps that the British high command regarded as providing essential topographical information in the most convenient form” (Schwartz & Ehrenberg).  The publishers claimed that their work would fit into an officer’s pocket, but it was more often carried in a holster. The present copy was bound in a more easily managed size with the maps cut, mounted on linen, and folded into a quarto-sized binding.

Item #20869.99, $25,000

John Marshall’s “Life of George Washington”
and Companion Atlas with Hand-colored Maps

JOHN MARSHALL. [GEORGE WASHINGTON], Books, The Life of George Washington Commander in Chief of the American Forces, During the War which Established the Independence of his Country and First President of the United States, Compiled Under the Inspection of the Honourable Bushrod Washington, From Original Papers Bequeathed to him by his Deceased Relative, 2nd edition, in two volumes. Philadelphia: James Crissy and Thomas Cowperthwait, 1840. 982 pp. plus index, 5½ x 9 in. Both have pencil inscription on blank fly leaf “A. Seeley 1851 Presented by T.C. Gladding.” Rebound; very good, some foxing toward the front. OCLC 183328030. With: Atlas to Marshall’s Life of Washington, Philadelphia: J. Crissy, [1832], 10 hand-colored maps. Ex-Grand Lodge A.F. & A.M. of Massachusetts bookplate on front paste-down. Black cloth spine and corners, original green boards with label. Internally fine. OCLC 191237946.


Chief Justice John Marshall’s magisterial biography of George Washington was originally a five-volume set. This 1840 publication, revised and issued in two volumes, also includes the 1832 companion atlas of maps relating to the Revolutionary War.

Item #22477, $1,250

George Washington’s Inaugural Journey,
Essays on Religious Toleration and Taxes

[GEORGE WASHINGTON], Gazette of the United States. April 25-29, 1789. New York: John Fenno. Issue # V. 4 pp.


Several columns describing the processions through Philadelphia & Trenton and laudatory addresses in his honor, such as: “How different is power when derived from its only just source, viz. The People, from that which is derived from conquest, or hereditary succession !  – The first magistrate of the nations of Europe assume the titles of Gods, and treat their subjects like an inferior race of animals.  Our beloved magistrate delights to show, upon all occasions, that he is a man – and instead of assuming the pomp of master, acts as if he considered himself the Father – the Friend – and the Servant of the People.”  [Washington arrived in NY on April 23 and was inaugurated on April 30].  Also, an essay, ‘On Religious Toleration,’ by the Earl of Chatham.

Item #21555.09, $1,800

George Washington Confirms
“treaty between the United States of America and the Oneida, Tuscorora and Stockbridge Indians…in the country of the Oneidas.”

[GEORGE WASHINGTON], Newspaper. Childs’ Daily Advertiser Extraordinary. February 28, 1795. 2 pp.


Prints the full text of the treaty between the United States and three Indiantribes, including the names of the sachems and war chiefs, from December 1794, confirmed by George Washington on January 21.

Item #21555.25, $700

Account of Tools Delivered to Defend New York, 1776

[REVOLUTIONARY WAR], Autograph Manuscript entitled “Intrenching Tools deliver’d March 26, 1776 to the following Captains this day on duty,” New York, March 26 to April 2, 1776. 4 pp., 6 x 12 ¾ in.


Item #21007.35, $4,000

White Plains Revolutionary War Muster Roll
with Reference to Valley Forge

[REVOLUTIONARY WAR], Autograph Document Signed (“Luther Bailey, Adjt.”), Camp White Plains [NY], July 24, 1778. 8 1/8” x 12 5/8”. 2 p. “Return of the 1st Massachusetts Regiment of Foot Commanded by Col.o John Bailey”


Item #20632.38, $2,950

Washington’s Instructions Regarding Deserters
and Hospital Cases at Valley Forge

JOSEPH WARD, Autograph Letter Signed to Richard Varick, [Valley Forge, Pennsylvania], March 13, 1778, 7⅝ x 11¾ in., 3 pp.


Written from Valley Forge at the close of the terrible winter of 1777-1778. Commissary General of Musters Joseph Ward relays Washington’s directions for determining the status of missing men. Officers are to be given more leeway than the rank and file before labeling them as deserters (a delicacy which Officers ought to deserve”), and hospital surgeons are to be consulted as to whether a patient is “dead or alive” or “likely ever to join the Corps.” Ward also discusses an aborted “Secret Expedition” and a recent naval victory by Commodore John Barry.

Letters written from Valley Forge are rare, particularly if they relate to the condition of the troops.

Item #22299, $10,000
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