ALS signed “Saml. F. B. Morse,” one page, lightly-lined, 7.75 x 10, January 21, 1845. Letter to William Collins, auditor of the Treasury of the United States. In full: “I have the honor to transmit my account of Expenditures for the Electro Magnetic Telegraph, for the months ending Nov. 10th 1844 Dec. 10th 1844 and Jany. 10 1845 to be adjusted at the Department.” In fine condition.
On March 3, 1843, Congress had passed an act appropriating $30,000 for construction of an experimental 38-mile telegraph line between Washington and Baltimore along the right-of-way of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, specifically naming Morse as the superintendent of the project. Construction of the telegraph finished in May of the following year, and it was officially opened on May 24, 1844, when Morse sent the now-famous words, ‘What hath God wrought,’ from the Supreme Court chamber in the Capitol to Mount Clare Station in Baltimore. This was the first long-distance telegraph system set up to run overland in the United States—the first step of a communications revolution. The expense report Morse mentions here is surely related to continuing construction or maintenance of this telegraph. At the time, Morse was anxiously awaiting a decision from Congress regarding an extension of the line from Baltimore to New York—this project, however, never came to fruition. Pre-certified John Reznikoff/PSA/DNA and RR Auction COA.
Terms and abbreviations used in our descriptions.