ALS as Whig candidate for president, signed “W. H. Harrison,” one page, 7.75 x 10, July 23, 1840. Letter to Rufus Reed, Thomas Sile, and "others of the Committee of Erie County Pennsylvania," written from his farm in North Bend, Ohio, in part: "Your letter of the 7th Inst. was received…It would have afforded me great pleasure to be able to inform you that I could comply with the kind invitation which it contains. But I have not yet brought my mind to the determination to relinquish the rule which I had prescribed to myself to not leave the State pending the canvas for the Presidency & should I ever determine to do so the receipt of several previous invitations (which in point of time would conflict with yours) will prevent me from being with you the day named in your letter." Addressed on the reverse of the second integral sheet in Harrison's hand. In fine condition, with seal-related paper loss to the integral address leaf.
At the time of his nomination, Harrison was the oldest candidate to ever run for president. Democratic newspapers famously cast him as an old ‘granny’ who would rather ‘sit in his log cabin drinking hard cider’ than attend to the administration of the country. Rather than shy away from the criticism, the Harrison-Tyler ticket adopted the log cabin and hard cider as campaign motifs, along with the catchy slogan emphasizing his military credentials—‘Tippecanoe and Tyler, Too.’ The public latched onto these symbols of the common man, and Harrison’s campaign events drew massive crowds. Although this letter declining to leave his home state may suggest a leisurely pace, Harrison was in fact the first presidential candidate to actively campaign. Between June and October he gave twenty-four addresses—however, in keeping with his ‘prescribed rule,’ every single one of them was in Ohio. Harrison went on to handily defeat the incumbent Martin Van Buren in the November election, carrying 19 of 26 states.
Terms and abbreviations used in our descriptions.