2011 in Retrospect

Thank you to our customers for making 2011 such a fun and exciting year of historical discovery. We have bought and sold hundreds of documents since last January, but as a new year begins, we enjoy taking time to look back at pieces that have found new homes.  Below is a very small selection of historical documents sold in the past year, giving experienced collectors a retrospective and new clients an idea of the opportunities available.

Chief Justice John Marshall, an original Supreme Court judgment, the only known to be in private hands.  This piece was for a long time part of the permanent exhibit at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia

The original instructions for conveying ratification of the alliance between the US and France, sent by Signer of the Declaration of Independence Richard Henry Lee

Einstein gives a virtual dissertation on the subject of his first published work – Thermodynamics – with mathematical and scientific equations in his own hand

Abraham Lincoln's last letter to Gen. McClellan: The pivot point of his leadership in the Civil War

And its coverage in the Washington Post

We helped many clients this year create beautiful presentation binders for their historical documents, and a few are below

John Hancock provides a delegate's credentials to Congress to join debate on the Treaty of Paris

An early Washington letter seeking justice for his veterans of the French and Indian War.  Formerly in the collection of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

1782: The first ever Thanksgiving Proclamation issued by a man holding the title President of the United States.  This document was sold by the descendants.

Another example of a beautiful clam shell binder, this one housing a great letter of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Washington Irving’s original manuscript for the two greatest sections of his famous biography on George Washington, ex-George P. Putnam

The original announcement of the capture of Jefferson Davis, signed by the captor himself

The day he proclaims the Continental Army discharged, George Washington implements that order by writing the surgeon general to determine what medical personnel need to be retained to care for the sick soldiers

Ronald Reagan pens a powerful and emotional letter to his daughter Patti, reflecting on his life and hoping for family reconciliation. Ex-Patti Davis.

Abraham Lincoln writes to General Meade, suspending the execution of a soldier

Churchill defines his task: "Prosecuting the War to a Victorious End."  "Against totalitarian thoroughness we have to oppose the total effort of a free and united nation"

FDR abandons the pretense of neutrality in favor of outright support of Great Britain, discussing American efforts to bolster the British

Grant reflects on the years and battles, and on the end of the  “Great Rebellion.”  The only letter of General US Grant referencing the surrender of Robert E. Lee, written contemporaneous with the Civil War, that we have seen

A great letter of Ernest Hemingway mentioning For Whom the Bell Tolls and Farewell to Arms

Neville Chamberlain demonstrates his policy of appeasement, just months before German invasion of Poland, in a letter insisting that Germany does not want war

Lafayette writes a friend, calling George Washington "like a father to me"

Governor Samuel Adams of MA repays war debts per Alexander Hamilton's programs.  This document, now in a private collection, is on display at the National Constitution Center

TR defends one of his administration’s principle accomplishments – the Panama Canal.  To promote national security, he says “We would not permit it to be built by a foreign government.”  The only such major manuscript defense by an American president that we recall seeing

The personal effects of a Rough Rider, with his appointment signed by Theodore Roosevelt

Alexander Hamilton promotes the establishment of West Point and decries the state of the military after the war.

Many of our clients ask for our help and experience in safely and attractively framing their pieces. This is one such example.

John Adams: “The passion of the English is for war.” A great letter of Adams with political and philosophical content.

William Herndon, in a famous letter discussing his law partner's religion, gives his account of Abraham Lincoln's spiritual beliefs. This was, as many of our documents are, covered by national and international press.  Below is the article from CNN.

Washington anxiously awaits the arrival of the French.  This letter, which we framed for the purchaser, shows Washington as commander in chief and highlights the importance of French intervention in the conflict.

Thomas Jefferson praises the goals of the patriots during the Revolutionary War and comments on the proper role of a historian.

President Lincoln wishes “God-speed” to those seeking to help emancipated slaves.  This document is also signed by US Grant and Secretary of War Stanton

Grant signs his “Report of Lieutenant General U. S. Grant, of the Armies of the United States, 1864-5," and inscribes it to his trusted wartime courier.  The book describes the last year of the war, and includes his correspondence with General Robert E. Lee at Appomattox

Washington urgently seeks intelligence on British movements from his spy chief

Thomas Jefferson and George Washington expand the reach of the judicial branch to the final state to ratify the Constitution.  This is an original Act of Congress signed by Jefferson.

Andrew Jackson writes his family after his re-election, pledging to be faithful to the intent of the Founders and promising to push forward with his political agenda in his second term.  Acquired from the descendants of the recipient.

A founding document in the history of American manufacturing, signed by hundreds of early dignitaries, including a signer of the Declaration of Independence

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