December 11, 1857

Andrew Johnson Writes His “Humble History” in Two Pages

  • 1
  • 2
enlarge

In this short sketch of his public career, Johnson recounts his various elective offices, suggests additional published sources of his “humble history," and apologizes for the “imperfect scrawl” which he writes with great difficulty (this because his arm had been badly broken that very same year).

Johnson, like Lincoln before him, was of  the humblest origin and lacked all formal education. His succession to the presidency meant that, for the only time in American history,  one poor and self-educated president followed another.

Autograph Letter Signed, as Senator, 2 pages, recto and verso, octavo, Washington, December 11, 1857. To T.H. Herbert.

You may also be interested in:

  • It Was His Boyhood Reading, Harry Truman Recalls, That Prepared Him for When His
    It Was His Boyhood Reading, Harry Truman Recalls, That...
  • Abraham Lincoln Reviews His Won-Lost Record in Electoral Politics Up to 1849
    Abraham Lincoln Reviews His Won-Lost Record in Electoral...
  • Abraham Lincoln Suggests Suffrage – “The Jewel of Liberty” - for Some Louisiana Blacks: The “Very Intelligent” and Union Veterans
    Abraham Lincoln Suggests Suffrage – “The Jewel of...
  • Life's Lessons: John F. Kennedy Advises a College Student What Classes to Take
For a Life in Politics
    Life's Lessons: John F. Kennedy Advises a College Student...
  • 1
  • 2
enlarge

Transcript

Washington City
December 11th, 1857

Dear Sir

Your note of the 9th inst was received in due course of mail. In answer to the enquiries, I have to state that between the years 1830 & 1835 I was elected and served as Alderman and Mayor of the Corporation of the town Greeneville. In the years 1835 & 6 and 1834 & 40 I served in the lower branch of the State Legislature. In the years 1841 & 42 I served in the Senate. In 1843 I was elected to the Congress of the United States and served until 1853, ten Consecutive years. In 1853 & 1855 I was elected governor and served as such until the 3d day of November 1857. On the 8th day of Oct. last I was elected to the Senate of the US - I will add that during this period of time I served as Trustee of the Greenevill femail [sic] academy for some four or five years.

If it is information you desire in regard to my humble history I would call your attention to the Western democratic review which was first published at Indianapolis. See Vol 1 No 4 April No 1854. Also the York Gazette published in Penn [?] about 1851.

Pardon this imperfect scrawl for it is with great difficulty that I write at all.
 
I have the honor to be most respectfully

ANDREW JOHNSON

T.H. Herbert, Esqr.