Magnificent collection of presidential autographs representing a complete set from George Washington through Franklin D. Roosevelt, uniformly affixed by their left edges to large off-white sheets custom-bound into a beautiful red leather volume with slipcase, gilt-stamped titles, and a calligraphically embellished title page, each page preceded by a large engraving depicting the president. It should be noted that most of the larger documents have at least one extra fold to accommodate the size constraints of the album.
The volume opens to an original notarized letter of authenticity from the pioneering autograph dealer and author (Word Shadows of the Great), Thomas F. Madigan, dated December 14, 1933, which proclaims this collection, obviously assembled in the early 1930s, “A magnificent collection of autographs and portraits of all the president of the United States from Washington to Franklin D. Roosevelt inclusive.” Taken as a whole, this is an exceptionally appealing set of presidential autographs that is beautifully presented in a single, impressive leatherbound volume.
The outstanding assortment of signed items includes:
1. George Washington
Revolutionary War-dated partly-printed DS signed “Go: Washington,” one page, 8 x 10.5, June 9, 1783. Washington, as “General and Commander in Chief of the Forces of the United States of America,” issues a discharge for “John DeGrout—Drummer—in the 2nd New York Artillery.” Signed at the conclusion by Washington, and countersigned by Adjutant James Bradford and Secretary Jonathan Trumbull. In fine condition, with trimmed edges, a few small stains, and old repairs on the reverse to partial fold separations.
2. John Adams
Partly-printed vellum DS as president, one page, 14 x 11, March 25, 1800. President Adams grants John G. Macan “a certain tract of land estimated to contain Four Thousand acres…appropriated for satisfying Warranty for Military services.” Prominently signed at the conclusion by Adams, and countersigned by Secretary of State Timothy Pickering. Remnants of the missing original red seal are present in the lower left portion. In very good to fine condition, with somewhat irregular overall toning.
3. Thomas Jefferson
Partly-printed DS, signed “Th: Jefferson” as president and “James Madison” as secretary of state, one page, 21 x 17, May 27, 1806. Four language ship’s pass issued to “Henry L. DeKoven—master or commander of the Schooner called Sophronia…lying at present in the port of New York bound for Havana and laden with Beef, earthenware, Tallow Candles, & Shooks & hoops.” Neatly signed in the fourth panel by President Jefferson and Secretary Madison, and countersigned by David Gelston as collector. The white wafer seals remain affixed along the left side. In fine condition, areas of light toning, and old repairs on the reverse to small areas of paper loss.
4. James Madison
Partly-printed vellum DS as president, one page, 11.5 x 13.5, June 26, 1809. President Madison issues a patent to Robert Gedney for “a new and useful improvement being a mode of making Combs with the Hoofs of Cattle.” Signed at the conclusion by Madison, and countersigned by Secretary of State Robert Smith. The original green ribbon is present along the left edge, with only sparse remnants of the missing paper seal still present. In very good to fine condition, with light overall wrinkling and foxing.
5. James Monroe
Partly-printed DS signed “Jas. Monroe,” one page, 8.5 x 8.5, January 23, 1802. As governor of Virginia, Monroe appoints Michael Atkinson as sheriff in the county of Fluvanna. Crisply signed at the conclusion by Monroe. The original white wafer seal is affixed to the left side. In fine condition, with soiling to the upper right blank area, and an old repair on the reverse to one tiny area of paper loss.
6. John Quincy Adams
Partly-printed vellum DS as president, signed “J. Q. Adams,” one page, 16 x 10, April 1, 1828. President Adams grants John F. Dill a tract of land in Huntsville, Alabama, which contains “eighty acres and fourteen hundredths of an acre.” Signed at the conclusion by President Adams, and countersigned by George Graham as Commissioner of the General Land Office. The white wafer seal remains affixed to lower left corner. In very good to fine condition, with light staining to the top third.
7. Andrew Jackson
Partly-printed vellum DS as president, one page, 15.5 x 9.75, June 1, 1831. President Jackson grants Absalom Yates a tract of land in Cahaba, Alabama, which contains “seventy-nine acres, and eighty-two hundredths of an acre.” Signed at the conclusion by Jackson, and countersigned by Elijah Hayward as Commissioner of the General Land Office. Remnants of the missing wafer seal are present to the lower left corner. In very good to fine condition, with scattered light creasing and soiling, and Jackson’s signature a couple of shades light.
8. Martin Van Buren
ALS signed “M. V. Buren,” one page, 7.75 x 9.75, April 15, 1828. Addressed to S. L. Southard, a letter of recommendation, in part: “Judge Edgerton is a man of great private worth & considerable…He resides in the extreme north of our state, a portion of his county which may possibly not have been much noticed in this respect. I think his affiliations and his circumstances quite as astounding as any that will probably be made for the state.” In fine condition, with a few small old tape reinforcements to folds on the reverse, and seal-related paper loss repaired on the integral address leaf.
9. William Henry Harrison
Manuscript DS signed “Will’m Henry Harrison,” one page, 9.75 x 8, December 5, 1811. In part: “Be it further enacted that the auditor failing to comply with the requisitions of this act shall forfeit for every offence one hundred dollars for the use of the informer to be recovered by action of debt. This act shall be in force from and after the passage thereof.” Signed and approved below by Harrison, and countersigned by General Washington Johnston as Speaker of the House of Representatives and James Beggs as President of the Legislative Council. In fine condition, with faint toning along the two vertical folds.
10. John Tyler
Partly-printed vellum DS as president, one page, 16.75 x 13.25, September 2, 1842. President Tyler appoints Edward Gamage of South Carolina as “Consul of the United States of America for the City of Florence.” Prominently signed at the conclusion by Tyler, and countersigned by Acting Secretary of State Fletcher Webster, son of Daniel Webster. The large white wafer seal remains affixed to the left side. In fine condition, with the handwritten portions of the document light but legible; Tyler’s signature is noticeably strong.
11. James K. Polk
Partly-printed DS, one page, 12 x 15.5, December 24, 1839. As governor of Tennessee, Polk grants Horatio Wood “a certain Tract or Parcel of Land, containing five thousand acres…lying in [Hickman] County, on the waters of Lick Creek.” Neatly signed at the conclusion by Polk. In very good to fine condition, with light staining to the top, and old repairs on the reverse to splitting along intersecting folds.
12. Zachary Taylor
LS signed “Z. Taylor B. B. Gen’l, U. S. Army,” one page, 7.75 x 5, November 3, 1845. Letter written by Captain T. J. Crane and addressed to Captain J. M. Hill, in full: “I have to request you to send me a good wall tent with poles and pins & fly for my own private use—the one I have being entirely unfit for service—it having been taken because there were no better to be issued at the time.” Signed and approved at the conclusion by Taylor. In fine condition.
13. Millard Fillmore
ALS, one page, both sides, 5 x 7.75, January 29, 1857. Written from Buffalo, New York, a letter to Dr. Cyrus Powers, in part: “I have been suffering from a terrible cold and a severe form of ear ache which has left my right ear quite deaf; but I hope only temporarily…I will submit the Equinoctial question to one Club where we meet again, and give you the result.” In fine condition.
14. Franklin Pierce
Partly-printed DS as president, one page, 17.5 x 12.75, May 24, 1853. President Pierce appoints John Hubbard of Maine as “Consul of the United States of America, for the Port of Trinidad de Cuba, and for such other parts as shall be nearer thereto than to the residence of any other Consul or Vice-Consul of the United States within the same allegiance.” Impressively signed at the conclusion by Pierce, and countersigned by William L. Marcy as Secretary of State. The white wafer seal affixed to the lower portion remains fully intact. In fine condition, with light toning to the corners and most of the left side of the document.
15. James Buchanan
Partly-printed vellum DS as president, one page, 14 x 17, July 8, 1859. President Buchanan appoints Joseph W. Harris as “a Passed Midshipman in the Navy of the United States.” Signed at the conclusion by Buchanan, and countersigned by Isaac Toucey as Secretary of the Navy. The distinctively bright orange Navy Department seal remains affixed to the center of the lower vignette. In very good to fine condition, with light overall wrinkling and toning.
16. Abraham Lincoln
Civil War-dated partly-printed DS as president, one page, 17.25 x 11.25, July 16, 1861. President Lincoln appoints Jason Weeks as “Deputy Postmaster at Bangor, in the State of Maine.” Crisply signed at the conclusion by Lincoln, and countersigned by William H. Seward as Secretary of State. The white wafer seal remains affixed to the lower left. In very good to fine condition, with a light circular seal offset passing through Lincoln’s last name, and some old repairs on the reverse along several intersecting folds.
17. Andrew Johnson
Partly-printed DS as president, one page, 8.5 x 11, September 10, 1868. President Johnson authorizes and directs the Secretary of State to affix the Seal of the United States to “a Warrant for the pardon of Edward Duffy.” Signed at the conclusion by Johnson. In fine condition.
18. U. S. Grant
Partly-printed vellum DS as president, one page, 15.75 x 19.5, April 13, 1874. President Grant appoints Benjamin H. Rogers as a “Captain in the Thirteenth Regiment of Infantry in the service of the United States.” Signed at the conclusion by Grant, and countersigned by William W. Belknap as Secretary of State. The bold blue War Office seal remains affixed to the upper left. In very good to fine condition, with light overall toning and several intersecting folds.
19. Rutherford B. Hayes
Partly-printed DS as president, signed “R. B. Hayes,” one page, 7.75 x 10, June 25, 1878. President Hayes authorizes and directs the Secretary of State to affix the Seal of the United States to “a warrant for the unconditional pardon of Gorham B. Knowles.” Signed at the conclusion by Hayes. In fine condition.
20. James A. Garfield
ALS signed “J. A. Garfield,” one page, 4.75 x 7.75, November 10 [no year], Mentor, Ohio letterhead. Brief letter to W. A. Work, in full: “I have read with pleasure your letter of the 2nd inst., and thank you for it.” In fine condition.
21. Chester A. Arthur
Partly-printed DS as president, one page, 20 x 14.25, December 9, 1884. President Arthur appoints A. B. Dent as “Notary Public for the District of Columbia.” Nicely signed at the conclusion by Arthur, and countersigned by Frederick T. Frelinghuysen as Secretary of State. The large embossed off-white seal remains affixed to the lower left. In very good to fine condition, with light soiling, several intersecting folds, and old repairs on the reverse to fold splits.
22. Grover Cleveland
ALS, one page, 8 x 10.25, May 20, 1889, personal Bangs Stetson Tracy & MacVeagh letterhead. Letter to C. W. Darling, in part: “Your letter inviting me to propose a paper o the Early Germans of New York to be published in…The…Historical Society, is at hand. In reply I am obliged to say that I shall not be able to accept the invitation.” In very good to fine condition, with light soiling, and old repairs on the reverse to several intersecting folds.
23. Benjamin Harrison
ALS signed “Benj. Harrison,” one page, 7.5 x 9.75, May 25, 1886, United States Senate letterhead. Letter to Mrs. E. C. Jameson, in full: “Yours of the 20th inst. has been received. I send you today a copy of the law in relation to the French spoliation claims and a list of the vessels from which the claims arise. You should file your petition in the Court of Claims stating through whom and on what vessel you predicate your claim.” In fine condition.
24. William McKinley
TLS signed “W. McKinley,” one page, 8 x 10.75, April 30, 1894, Executive Department, Office of the Governor letterhead. Letter to A. E. Swartout, in full: “I have given careful consideration to your very courteous communication of the 14th inst., and I regret to say that after going over the engagements already made, and taking into consideration my official duties, I find that it is impossible for me to accept your invitation to come to Rochester in May or June. Believe me, I feel very highly complimented by the invitation.” In fine condition, with some creasing passing through the signature.
25. Theodore Roosevelt
Partly-printed DS as president, one page, 21.5 x 17, July 1, 1907. President Roosevelt appoints Stanton Sickles of New York as “Secretary of the Legation of the United States of America to Greece and Montenegro.” Attractively signed at the conclusion by Roosevelt, and countersigned by Elihu Root as Secretary of State. The large white wafer seal remains affixed to the lower left. In very good to fine condition, with scattered light creasing and soiling.
26. William H. Taft
TLS as president, signed “Wm. H. Taft,” one page, 7 x 9, July 12, 1911, White House letterhead. Letter to Wisconsin Congressman Gustav Kustermann, in full: “I have your letter of June 29th, and thank you warmly for your kind words of felicitation on the occasion of Mrs. Taft’s and my silver wedding anniversary. I note that you and Mrs. Kustermann celebrated your thirty-sixth anniversary during the same week, and I cordially reciprocate your congratulations and good wishes. I am glad to learn that you are regaining your health.” In fine condition, with some light staining along the bottom edge.
27. Woodrow Wilson
World War I-dated TLS as president, one page, 7 x 8.75, September 22, 1915, White House letterhead. Letter to Winthrop M. Daniels of the Interstate Commerce Commission, in full: “Thank you sincerely for your letter of September twenty-first. I shall keep it in mind and try to find a time for an interview which I do very much desire and which I, besides, promised Goltra I would have with you. I hope that you have had some kind of intermission of labor and that you and Mrs. Daniels and Balfour are all right.” In fine condition, with a couple of extra horizontal folds.
28. Warren G. Harding
World War I-dated TLS, signed “W. G. Harding” by his personal secretary George B. Christian, one page, 8 x 10.5, September 9, 1918, United States Senate letterhead. Letter to Gertrude M. Hendrick, in full: “I have your letter of September 5th. Your views concerning the disposal of the Suffrage question is quite in harmony with my own.” In fine condition, with light staining to the center.
29. Calvin Coolidge
TLS, one page, 7.25 x 10, April 24, 1929, personal letterhead. Letter to Ann Williams, in full: “Your letter of April 23rd has been received. I want you to know how much I appreciate your writing me and thank you for the book of poems.” In fine condition, with several intersecting folds.
30. Herbert Hoover
TLS, one page, 8 x 10.5, December 8, 1925, Department of Commerce letterhead. Letter to Grosvenor Clarkson, in full: “Many thanks for your letter of December 5th and the very encouraging remarks you make about myself. I agree with you that we ought to do our industrial mobilizing with the men who have had the experience in doing it, and have already expressed my mind on this subject. I hope when you come to Washington you will come and see me.” In fine condition, with one small repair on the reverse o a short fold split.
31. Franklin D. Roosevelt
TLS, one page, 7.25 x 10.5, March 8, 1928, personal letterhead. Written from Warm Springs, a letter to Whitfield J. Bell, Jr., in full: “I, too, have been a collector of autographed letters and I hope you will have as much fun with your collection as I have had with mine.” In fine condition.
Terms and abbreviations used in our descriptions.