Swann Galleries’ auction of Autographs on October 29 contains much material related to presidents.
Desirable presidential items include a Letter Signed by George Washington in 1788, enthusiastically praising voluntary associations such as the Humane Society of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, founded by the recipient, John Lathrop. Washington later expressed worry, in his farewell address before Congress, that the power of popular associations could usurp the power of the people (estimate: $15,000 to $22,000) (top).
Also featured is a presidential curiosity, an extraordinary Document Signed, "James," by James A. Garfield in June of 1881. Garfield signed his first name only, having been interrupted by some unknown business. This postmaster appointment lacks a countersignature, but is otherwise accomplished, causing a confused clerk to affix a note reading "Shall this commission go?" ($7,000 to $10,000) (above).
From the 20th century is a page of a speech honoring Harry Truman, delivered to the Democratic National Convention in July 1984 by then-Governor Bill Clinton, who signed and inscribed it to a state trooper who testified against him 10 years later during the Kenneth Starr investigation ($2,000 to $3,000) (above).
Labels: American history, American presidents, autographs, Bill Clinton, George Washington, Harry Truman, James Garfield