December 13, 1878

An Autograph Innovation: Rutherford B. Hayes Signs an Executive Mansion Card

White House Card
1 page
SMC 514
Popular wisdom gives the nod to President Hayes as the introducer of the White House signed card - although some opine it was Grant who initiated the practice, in response to autograph requests, of issuing cards printed “Executive Mansion” and bearing the president’s signature… Here, however - whether it be alpha or beta - is an excellent example of this autographic innovation.
This card, dated, December 13, 1878, suggests that President Hayes might have filled requests for his autograph in his “down time”; his diary records nothing for that day, but does note that he went to bed with a bad cold on the 9th, felt better by the 11th, and was restored to health by the 14th.
White House Card Signed (“R.B. Hayes”), as President, 1 page, sextodecimo, Executive Mansion, Washington, December 13, 1878.
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