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Manuscripts (77)

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Kennedy and the Arts: His Unprecedented Invitation of Scholars, Artists, Writers, and Thinkers to His Inauguration

Typed Letter Signed

1 page

SMC 1444

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Abraham Lincoln's Prayer To

Autograph Letter Signed

1 page

SMC 2509

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President-Elect Harding Refers to His Upcoming Term as

Typed Letter Signed

1 page

SMC 1550

President-Elect Harding refers to his upcoming presidential term as "imprisonment in the White House," while expressing envy that his correspondent is going to Honolulu. Harding also informs him that the upcoming inauguration will be a very pared-down affair.
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Young John F. Kennedy Condemns Harry Truman's Reversal to Support the Partition of Palestine

Autograph Manuscript

2 pages

SMC 149

At a dinner of Jewish veterans, John F. Kennedy, then a congressman from Massachusetts, condemns Harry Truman's withdrawal of support for the partition of Palestine as "one of the most unfortunate reversals in American policy. Kennedy also called for the US to lift the arms embargo in order to give Israel a chance to protect herself in the ensuing war.
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Truman on the Recognition of the Jewish State and the

Typed Letter Signed

1 page

SMC 370

Two days into the Israeli War of Independence, Harry Truman thanks a rabbi for his offer to assist the President, and refers to the fledgling state's situation as "very dark."
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Rare Letter to Bereaved: President Nixon's Response to the Kent State Shooting

Autograph Letter Signed

1 page

SMC 1464

Nixon sends a letter of condolence to the parents of William Schroeder, who was killed at the Kent State anti-war demonstration in May of 1970.
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Theodore Roosevelt: “What a Dreadful Creature Wilson is!”

Typed Letter Signed

1 page

SMC 1272

One of Roosevelt's many jabs at Wilson, whom he labelled a coward for failing to declare war on Germany in 1915 after the sinking of the Lusitania.
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An Invitation to hear the Israel Declaration of Independence, May 14 1948

Typed Letter

1 page

SMC 219

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Palestine, Truman Says, is a “Matter of Considerable Disturbance” to be Determined by U.N.

Typed Letter Signed

1 page

SMC 686

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Harry Truman Writes General Hap Arnold About FDR's Death, Two and a Half Weeks Before, as

Typed Letter Signed

1 page

SMC 694

Two weeks after Franklin Delano Roosevelt's death, Harry Truman is still reeling from the shock and his new role with all its responsibilities.
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Two Days After Unleashing a Tempest by Firing MacArthur, President Truman Writes to a Journalist

Autograph Note Signed

1 page

SMC 699

President Truman writes to Merriman Smith, perhaps in response to something Smith had said to the President, a prediction, seemingly, about the great news of the day – Truman’s firing of MacArthur two days before – that inspired this note, with which Truman apparently forwarded “an interesting piece” he had run across in his hometown paper.
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President William McKinley Writes to the Widow of His Vice President and Dear Friend, Mrs. Hobart

Typed Letter Signed

1 page

SMC 915

In this letter, written four months after the death of his vice-president and dear friend, Garret Hobart, President McKinley thanks Mrs. Tuttle-Hobart for the gift of fruit, and for the wonderful time spent together with her and her son.
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President James Madison Tracks Down His Shipment, Seized in the Embargo, of 114 Gallons of Brandy

Autograph Letter Signed

2 pages

SMC 932

Here President Madison writes to the Collector of the Port of New York, David Gelston, that a pipe of brandy (114 gallons) was sent him to him but "carried into England," resulting in the condemnation of the offending vessel. The brandy, being "neutral cargo," was saved. Now Madison asks that the brandy be sent to him in Washington.
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President James Monroe on Purchase of Florida and John Adams's Recommendation of Dr. Benjamin Waterhouse

Autograph Letter Signed

2 pages

SMC 934

President Monroe writes to his Secretary of War, James Calhoun about the Purchase of Florida, and about John Adams's recommendation of Dr. Benjamin Waterhouse as medical superintendent of military facilities in New England.
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Franklin Pierce on the Kansas-Nebraska Bill and the Prelude to Civil War

Autograph Letter Signed

4 pages

SMC 961

President Pierce fears that if the Kansas-Nebraska Bill-which granted the States the right to decide on slavery-would not pass, Civil War would ensue.
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President Franklin Pierce Warmly Endorses the Kansas-Nebraska Act as

Autograph Letter Signed

4 pages

SMC 966

Pierce endorses the Kansas-Nebraska Act, which allowed citizens of those states to decide if they wanted to retain slaves or not. This decision reversed the Missouri compromise of 1820 and sharply divided the nation.
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James Buchanan, Ill With Dysentry Before His Inauguration, Declines Jefferson Davis's Invitation to Dine

Autograph Letter Signed

2 pages

SMC 988

James Buchanan, suffering from dysentery, regrets to decline Jefferson Davis's invitation to dinner.
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The Eyewitness Account of Abraham Lincoln's Assassination by the Physician Who Treated Him at the Scene

Autograph Letter Signed

8 pages

SMC 1004

Charles Leale, a surgeon and first responder to Lincoln's shooting, gives a detailed summary of the night of the assassination to a friend.
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1858 Senate Report Regarding the

Typed Manuscript

30 pages

SMC 1012

The 1858 Senate report, which details the murder and rape of the Dickson family in their agricultural colony. The author, Jonathan Steinbeck was a descendent of members of the colony, and the "Outrages at Jaffa" is alluded to in his East of Eden. Herman Melville, inspired by the tragic events, wrote his epic poem Clarel.
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James K. Polk Gives Orders for a Fireproof Celebration for the Battle of Cerro Gordo in Washington

Autograph Letter Signed

1 page

SMC 1052

Here Polk-mindful of the dangers of unattended candles and oil lamps-gives orders not to illuminate public offices in honor of General Scott’s victory at the Battle of Cerro Gordo.
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Millard Fillmore On the Fugitive Slave and Kansas-Nebraska Acts:

Autograph Letter Signed

1 page

SMC 1069

Though he detested slavery, Millard Fillmore signed the Fugitive Slave Act, which required citizens of Northern free states to return slaves to their Southern owners. He was denounced by politicians who four years later voted for the same rule of law to apply in the Kansas-Nebraska act. Here, he wishes to expose their hypocrisy.
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Having Ascended to the Presidency Just a Week Before, Millard Fillmore Orders a New Black Hat

Autograph Letter Signed

1 page

SMC 1071

Eight days after President Taylor died and Millard Fillmore went from being vice president to president, the latter, taking his new role seriously, orders a new hat.
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Abraham Lincoln's Order That Sparked the New York City Draft Riots of 1863

Document Signed

1 page

SMC 1084

Abraham Lincoln's draft order for the state of New York, which sparked riots and racially-motivated violence and murders. It was the second largest civil insurrection in American history.
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Abraham Lincoln Reacts to Attempted Jail-Break of Confederate POWs on Johnson Island

Autograph Letter Signed

1 page

SMC 1090

This note from Lincoln to the Naval Secretary Gideon Welles instructs him to get a firsthand report about the infamous attempted prison break of Confederate POWs on Johnson's Island.
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Pass to President Abraham Lincoln's Funeral in the East Room of the Executive Mansion

Ephemera

1 page

SMC 1116

Pass to Lincoln's funeral, on Wednesday, April 19, 1865.
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Vice President-Elect Chester A. Arthur Accepts Congratulations on Winning His First and Last Election

Autograph Letter Signed

3 pages

SMC 1155

Chester A. Arthur accepts congratulations on having won his first, and last, election: that of Vice-President of the United States. Arthur would be Vice President for six months before assuming the presidency on the occasion of Garfield's assassination in 1881.
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Grover Cleveland, First President to Marry in the White House, Handwrites an Invitation to His Wedding

Autograph Letter Signed

2 pages

SMC 1165

President Grover Cleveland invites his Postmaster to his wedding the following Wednesday, with a hand-written invitation.
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President Benjamin Harrison: Celebrating the 400th Anniversary of the Discovery of America

Document Signed

1 page

SMC 1173

President Harrison leads the nation in celebrating the Columbus quadricentennial by authorizing the Seal of the United States to be affixed to a document entitled "The administration of the United States Government at the beginning of the four hundredth anniversary of the discovery of America."
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A Contemporary Account of the William McKinley Assassination by a 15 Year-Old Girl

Autograph Letter Signed

3 pages

SMC 1183

Edna M. Hurry, a fifteen-year-old bookkeeper, goes into striking detail in her eyewitness account of President William McKinley's assassination.
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Secretary of Navy Long: President William McKinley,

Typed Letter Signed

2 pages

SMC 1186

In this private note to his daughter, in which he discusses, amongst other things, a birthday present for his daughter, Naval Secretary John Long reveals that President William McKinley will absolutely not be seeking a third term.
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President William McKinley Orders Seal Affixed to His Proclamation on the Death of Vice President Hobart

Document Signed

1 page

SMC 1187

Death warrant of Vice President Garret Hobart, signed by his dear friend, President William McKinley.
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Rutherford B. Hayes Discusses, At Length, the Disputed Election of 1876

Autograph Letter Signed

4 pages

SMC 1204

The election of Rutherford B. Hayes hung, precariously, on disputed returns from four states -- chief among them, Louisiana. Here, long after the fact, Hayes reviews with one of his chief lieutenants, John Sherman, what happened there, and why.
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Theodore Roosevelt Writes From

Typed Letter Signed

2 pages

SMC 1255

Before departing Panama, Theodore Roosevelt writes to Dr. Manuel Amador Guerrero who, as the first President of Panama, received Roosevelt when he visited the Canal Zone in November, 1906. Roosevelt and Amador had worked together on creating the Panama Canal, and here Roosevelt thanks Amador for his thoughtful gifts.
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Days After William McKinley's Death, Theodore Roosevelt Swears to Do His Best

Typed Letter Signed

1 page

SMC 251

Roosevelt, who has just become President due to McKinley's assassination looks forward at what must be done, rather than being "morbid."
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Theodore Roosevelt: Famous

Autograph Quotation Signed

1 page

SMC 252

Autographed quotation of famous "square deal" with accompanying letter to Richard Lee Fern. The square deal was Roosevelt's call for equal opportunities for every man and woman in the United States. Equality politically, socially, and in "matters industrial."
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Secretary of War William H. Taft Reports That San Francisco is Almost Destroyed in the Earthquake

Typed Letter Signed

3 pages

SMC 261

Secretary of War Taft writes this missive primarily about the administration of the Philippines, and expresses concern for Associate Justice to the Supreme Court of the Philippines, James Francis Smith, whom he knew to be in San Francisco during the earthquake. The scale of the damage was as yet unclear, and Taft reports that the city was almost destroyed, and since telegraph wires are down, "we are in the dark."
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Letter From Gettysburg Battlefield, July 4th, 1863: Union Soldier Hopes

Autograph Letter Signed

2 pages

SMC 299

Writing to his mother on the fourth of July, Private Strouss tells his her that he is alive, unharmed, and although unsure who has won, he hopes that "this Battle will end the war" so that he may return home.
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David Ben Gurion Predicts That the Six Day War Will Not Be Israel's Last

Autograph Letter Signed

1 page

SMC 302

Ben-Gurion claims that as long as the USA and the USSR fight the Cold War by proxy in the Middle East - by arming Arab countries - there will be no peace in the region, and Israel will have to continuously fight for its survival.
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President Harry Truman Defends Atomic Bombing of Japan as

Typed Letter Signed

1 page

SMC 367

Harry Truman defends his use of the atomic bomb, reasoning that the only language the Japanese understand is that of extreme force.
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President Andrew Jackson's Big Cheese Tasting

Autograph Letter Signed

3 pages

SMC 399

President Andrew Jackson invites a friend to the most famous cheese tasting in American history. On Washington's birthday, March 3, 1837, the President opened the White House for the American public to consume a cheese wheel, four feet in diameter, and weighing 1400 lbs. It took citizens of all walks of life approximately two hours to consume the block of cheddar.
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Lincoln's Second Inaugural Address Transcript & With Malice Toward None Quote in Autograph

Autograph Quotation Signed

1 page

SMC 401

Lincoln writes and autographs the famous "with malice towards none" paragraph from his second inaugural address.
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Harry Truman Looks at the Potsdam Conference 12 Years Later: An Astonishing Appraisal of What Went Wrong

Autograph Letter Signed

8 pages

SMC 429

Knowing that his papers would be released for reporters to examine his version of the Potsdam Conference twelve years prior, Harry Truman paints a revisionist history of what happened and what went wrong.
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George Washington Dreads Assuming the Presidency: He Feels as if He's Being Led to His Execution

Autograph Letter Signed

1 page

SMC 433

Draft of George Washington's letter to Major General Henry Knox, in which, thirty days before his inauguration, Washington compares assuming the presidency to being lead to his execution. He insists he doesn't have the political skill, ability, or even the inclination to lead. He fears, terribly, that he risks his good name in assuming the presidency.
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Theodore Roosevelt Inscribes Photo of His 1905 Inaugural Address With His Keystone

Signed Photograph

1 page

SMC 466

Theodore Roosevelt famously argued for each man not to be treated in accordance with his wealth but for his value as a person--otherwise known as a "square deal." Roosevelt emphasized this in his 1905 inaugural address, of which this is a photo with his inscription of the square deal.
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Contemporary Copy of Chase's Letter to Abraham Lincoln in Support of General Hunter's Emancipation Order

Letter Signed

2 pages

SMC 501

Salomon P. Chase, President Lincoln's Secretary of the Treasury, was the most ardent abolitionist in Lincoln's cabinet. Here, he praises General Hunter's declaration of emancipation of all slaves in South Carolina, Georgia and Florida.
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Harry Truman Letter Written as Vice-President But Signed as President with

Typed Letter Signed

1 page

SMC 585

A letter from Harry Truman written as Vice President, then amended by hand as President, mentioning the "terrible responsibilities" that are now his. Truman had started this letter in the morning, as vice president, but by the evening, had ascended the presidency, following President Franklin D. Roosevelt's death that day.
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Alfred Dreyfus Reviews Case Against Him, Proclaims His Innocence, and Demands Another Trial

Autograph Letter Signed

2 pages

SMC 617

Alfred Dreyfus respectfully demands a retrial for his trumped-up treason charge from the French prime minister, and vows to prove his innocence till his dying day.
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Harry Truman Tells How He Learned He Became the President: FDR's Death, He Says, Was a Complete Surprise

Typed Letter Signed

2 pages

SMC 684

In this letter to Louis Reed (an administrative assistant to a West Virginia senator), Harry Truman reassures him that at the time they met, Truman had no idea that Roosevelt had died, and that he'd be ascending the presidency. It was as much of a surprise to Truman as to anyone else.
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A Historic Memo: Harry Truman Salutes Dean Acheson's Crucial Role in Going to War With Korea

Autograph Note Signed

2 pages

SMC 685

President Harry Truman commends Dean Acheson as Secretary of State for superbly handling events leading up to the Korean War.
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Theodore Roosevelt on the sinking of the Lusitania

Typed Letter Signed

1 page

SMC 1278

Theodore Roosevelt resented Woodrow Wilson's weak position on German naval aggression. Here, he unequivocally states that had Wilson shown some strong leadership and stood up to Germany, over 1000 civilians would not have lost their lives at sea.
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Woodrow Wilson Lobbies for Ratification of the Treaty of Versailles - A Matter of Gravest Consequence

Typed Letter Signed

1 page

SMC 1313

This letter is an example of Woodrow Wilson's attempt to court Republican senators to ratify the Treaty of Versailles, of which he was one of the chief negotiators; Congress refused to ratify it.
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President Franklin D. Roosevelt Fires His Isolationist Secretary of War During WWII

Autograph Letter Signed

3 pages

SMC 1373

After forgiving his old and dear friend many missteps, Franklin Roosevelt finally fires Harry Woodring as Secretary of War.
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Truman, About to Implement the Truman Doctrine in Greece, Calls Greek-American Politicians

Typed Letter Signed

1 page

SMC 1401

President Truman, who was about to deploy the Truman Doctrine in Greece in order to fight the first proxy Cold War against a communist takeover of that country, expresses reservations about appointing a Greek-American to oversee the distribution of funds to anti-communist factions in Greece.
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The Beginning of the Peace Corps: President Kennedy Welcomes the First Volunteers

Typed Letter Signed

1 page

SMC 1447

President John F. Kennedy founded the Peace Corps in 1961. This letter from him wishes the Peace Corps volunteer good luck on the upcoming entrance exams.
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John F. Kennedy's

Typed Manuscript

20 pages

SMC 1449

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Lyndon B. Johnson Writes to the Parents of Astronaut Gus Grissom, Killed in the Apollo I Fire

Typed Letter Signed

1 page

SMC 1459

President Johnson loved the Space Program; loved the astronauts; loved awarding Gus Grissom NASA's Distinguished Service Medal, for being the first American to fly into space twice. Burying Grissom, and his comrades, was a bitter responsibility – which he followed, still, with personal letters of condolence.
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Six Months After His Resignation, a Rare Richard Nixon Comment on Watergate: He Took One for the Team

Typed Letter Signed

1 page

SMC 1463

Nixon implies that his resignation of the presidency was done in part to ensure the political survival of associates and supporters.
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A Ronald Reagan Photo in Front of the Berlin Wall, Inscribed With

Signed Photograph

1 page

SMC 1471

Autograph quote from Ronald Reagan on a photo of him in front of the Berlin Wall near the Brandenburg gate. The famous "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!"
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Reagan Stirringly Defends His Decision Not to Stop a Cop-Killer's Execution

Autograph Letter Signed

1 page

SMC 1475

Governor Reagan responds to a man who sharply condemns his unwillingness to prevent the execution of a man convicted for killing a policeman. Despite the combative nature of the man's letter (also transcribed here), Reagan willingly engages the man in discussing the function and protocol of the judicial system in the context of capital punishment.
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Newly Sworn-in Theodore Roosevelt Reacts with Foreboding: a Heavy and Painful Task Has Fallen Upon Him

Typed Letter Signed

1 page

SMC 1541

Grief-stricken over the death of President William McKinley just hours before, newly sworn-in Theodore Roosevelt describes the task before him as both "heavy" and "painful."
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Lyndon B. Johnson on the Death of an Astronaut in the Apollo I Fire

Typed Letter Signed

1 page

SMC 131

President Lyndon B. Johnson's letter of condolence to the parents of Roger B. Chaffee, an astronaut who died in the Apollo I fire.
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Both Parties Deprecated War: Lincoln's Second Inaugural Address Quote, In Autograph

Autograph Quotation Signed

1 page

SMC 1551

Lincoln writes and autographs the famous "both sides deprecated war" passage from his second inaugural address.
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Mark Twain Says He Cannot Deliver a

Autograph Letter Signed

4 pages

SMC 1693

Mark Twain explains he cannot deliver a "light & nonsensical speech" while fatally wounded President Garfield is dying. Signed as Samuel Clemens.
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David Rice Atchison Denies Ever “For a Moment” Acting as President of the United States

Autograph Letter Signed

1 page

SMC 1738

This letter, written by David Rice Atchison, debunks the long-held erroneous idea that he acted as President of the United States for the 31 hours between the end of Polk's term and the beginning of Taylor's.
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President Franklin Pierce Appoints the First United States Consul to Serve in Jerusalem

Document Signed

1 page

SMC 1741

President Franklin Pierce appoints Boston physician John Warren Gorham as the first United States Consul at Jerusalem on October 20, 1856.
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First Lady Edith Roosevelt, Two Weeks After McKinley's Death:

Autograph Letter Signed

1 page

SMC 1778

Two weeks after President McKinley's death and Theodore Roosevelt's assumption of the presidency, First Lady Edith Roosevelt thanks a friend in Boston for her warm wishes, and confides in her that "Life does not seem very simple just now."
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Leon Czolgosz's Incredibly Rare Confession to the Assassination of President William McKinley

Document Signed

2 pages

SMC 1813

Czolgosz's twice-signed confession to assassinating President McKinley, stemming from anarchist convictions.
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Camille Pissarro Protests Alfred Dreyfus's Conviction

Autograph Letter Signed

1 page

SMC 1895

Just five days after Zola published “J’accuse!” in the French newspaper L’Aurore, Pissarro writes to say that he wishes his name added to “the protestation against the awful judgment of the court-martial” to be published, apparently, in that crusading paper.
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William Henry Harrison's Secretary Announces Harrison's Impending Death

Autograph Letter Signed

1 page

SMC 1928

President William Henry Harrison's secretary, Henry Harrison, writes to his father, Benjamin Harrison, to inform him of the impending death of the President.
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Vice President Theodore Roosevelt, On Hearing that McKinley Has Been Shot, Wires For News

Autograph Telegram Signed

2 pages

SMC 1939

On the back of a railway timetable, Roosevelt writes the wire instructing the head of the facility in which McKinley was taken after being shot to keep Roosevelt appraised of the president's condition. On the other side of the page, a historian wrote Roosevelt's reaction to the news of McKinley's shooting, as well as his reaction to being told McKinley would survive.
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Grover Cleveland, Recovering From Secret Cancer Surgery, Reports He is

Autograph Letter Signed

6 pages

SMC 1970

Recovering from his secret cancer surgery aboard a yacht a few months prior, Grover Cleveland reports to his physician and dear friend that he is having "a couple of drinks of whiskey a day, with very good results; and I smoke a cigar every day too."
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On His First Day in Office,

Typed Letter Signed

1 page

SMC 2051

Masking his true feelings about his predecessor, Republican Dwight D. Eisenhower, President John F. Kennedy, a Democrat, and twenty-eight years Eisenhower's junior, thanks him for a smooth transition of power.
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Signed Photo of Lyndon Johnson Taking the Oath of Office Inscribed to the Photographer

Signed Photograph

1 page

SMC 2076

The iconic photograph of Lyndon B. Johnson taking the oath of office hours after President John F. Kennedy was assassinated; inscribed to Cecil Stoughton, the photographer.
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A Last Thing Signed: John F. Kennedy Autographs a Dallas Newspaper on the Morning of His Murder There

Ephemera

1 page

SMC 2168

An edition of The Dallas Morning News signed by President John F. Kennedy on the morning of his assassination. Kennedy was shot at 12:30, making it very likely that this was the last thing he ever signed.
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Ephemera

1 page

SMC 2356

Newspaper from the morning after Kennedy's Assassination. Kennedy had signed the same newspaper on the very day of his assassination.
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Abraham Lincoln's Inaugural Ball , 1861: Invitation Printed By, and Naming as a Ball Manager, Adolphus S. Solomons

Ephemera

1 page

SMC 2367

Rare invitation to Abraham Lincoln's inaugural ball, prominently featuring the name of the Jewish manager and printer of the invitation, Adolphus S. Solomons, twice.
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Lincoln Assassination Eyewitness Recalls Running to Fetch Dr. Liebermann Who Attended Lincoln's Deathbed

Autograph Letter Signed

8 pages

SMC 2388

Samuel Koontz ran to fetch the Russian-born Jewish Dr. Charles Henry Liebermann, who lived a scant two blocks from Ford's Theatre. The news that Liebermann was the first "important" doctor to attend Lincoln - discounting the gaggle of doctors (seven in all) from Ford's theatre - is significant. He was the first to treat him, owing to the distance between his house and the theatre.
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