About Collecting James Madison Autographs
James Madison was a fine author and a master at making convincing arguments, but he was not as prolific a letter writer as other presidents. It is probable that he wrote half the number of letters as Jefferson, thus making letters from any time in his life less common. Moreover, the ones he wrote that reach the market are more likely to be brief and to the point, business-like rather than illuminating. It is notable that his earlier letters are often very good, but once he became secretary of state (1801) the picture changed and his good letters thereafter are scarce.
Madison’s handwriting varied little. Official letters could be written out by secretaries, but until late in life when he found writing increasingly difficult, he generally handled personal correspondence himself. Most of his autographs are found on presidential documents or post-presidential letters. Madison’s greatest service was as father of the U.S. Constitution. As president, he led the country into the War of 1812, a risky venture that almost ended up a disaster.