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Manuscripts (34)

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Rare Receipt for Passage on the 1867

Document Signed

1 page

SMC 2295

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A Rare List of the Passengers of the

Ephemera

1 page

SMC 2291

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Original Painting of the Steamship

Historical artifacts

1 page

SMC 2303

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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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One of the Last Things Signed by William McKinley: A Souvenir Booklet from the Pan-American Exposition

Signed Book

16 pages

SMC 233

President William McKinley was assassinated on the grounds of the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo; it's very possible this souvenir booklet was the very last thing he signed.
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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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Thomas Edison:

Autograph Letter Signed

1 page

SMC 298

Thomas Edison says he cannot complete the megaphone, as he is in the midst of working on the light bulb; that same day, however, the light bulb would be burning successfully.
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Major Archibald Butt, Military Aide to Roosevelt and Taft, Writes the Day Before Boarding the Titanic

Autograph Letter Signed

2 pages

SMC 305

Archibald Butt enquires about a refund for train travel, instructing the refund be sent care of the White House. Butt, in Europe to restore his health, would board the Titanic home to the United States the next day. He was last seen standing on the sinking deck with John Jacob Astor.
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Herbert Hoover Explains, In Autograph, His Antipathy to Writing Holograph Letters

Autograph Letter Signed

2 pages

SMC 328

Former President Herbert Hoover expresses his preference for typewritten letters for the sake of efficiency, but since "the typewriter is a poor method of conveying emotion," he handwrites this letter in order to "convey more than usual wishes of a happy and prosperous New Year."
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President Taft's Eulogy for his Aide, Archibald Butt, Who Went Down with the Titanic Just Days Before

Typed Manuscript Signed

1 page

SMC 366

President Taft mourns his aide and friend Archibald Butt, who went down on the Titanic. Butt was a gentleman and a soldier, and, Taft is certain, would have gallantly gone down with the ship, after seeing to the rescue of others. Butt was last seen standing on the sinking deck with John Jacob Astor.
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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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Extraordinary Orville Wright Letter Discussing the Birth of Manned Flight at Kitty Hawk

Typed Letter Signed

3 pages

SMC 382

Lawrence L. Driggs, who later went on to write extensively about early aviation, wrote a letter to Orville Wright asking him what was "the most interesting or significant episode in the birth of flying at Kitty Hawk." This long letter is Wright's response, primarily describing unusual soaring experiences during various test-flights.
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An Early and Rare Account by Orville Wright of the First Flight at Kitty Hawk

Typed Letter Signed

2 pages

SMC 431

Three weeks after the first flight at Kitty Hawk, Orville Wright dives into a detailed and technical explanation of what went right in the flight, and what went wrong.
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John F. Kennedy: National Security and Future of the Space Program Depend on Ending Labor Strife Delays

Typed Letter Signed

1 page

SMC 523

John F. Kennedy views the delays with the labor unions as a threat to not only the space program, but to national security. He urges Arthur Goldberg, the Secretary of Labor, to come to a swift arrangement with union leaders in order to resume the space race against the Soviets.
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George Washington Argues for a

Autograph Letter Signed

4 pages

SMC 587

Though passionate about the construction of a canal in the Potomac, George Washington confesses to having little more than a layman's knowledge of the technical aspects of the project, and urges the company to retain a professional canal engineer.
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Orville Wright Sets the Record Straight About the First Flight

Typed Letter Signed

1 page

SMC 728

Twenty seven years after making history at Kitty Hawk, Orville Wright sets the record straight about three questions surrounding the first flight.
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Age Is Not an Impediment to Visiting Israel, David Ben-Gurion Argues

Autograph Letter Signed

1 page

SMC 771

David Ben-Gurion encourages Ida Camelhor Silverman, an eighty-six year old Hadassah officer, to visit Israel, citing the Biblical Sarah and Moses Montefiore as examples of people who travelled to Israel at advanced ages. Two years after receiving this letter, Silverman actually settled in Israel, where she would die two years after making Israel her home.
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Autograph Letter of Astronaut Judy Resnik-Killed in the Challenger Disaster-About Autographs

Autograph Letter Signed

1 page

SMC 819

Judy Resnik, the second American woman, and second Jewish person in space, responds to requests for autographs and photographs.
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Signed Photo of Challenger Astronaut Judy Resnik-Second American Woman, and First American Jew, in Space

Signed Photograph

1 page

SMC 820

Signed photo of doomed Challenger astronaut Judy Resnik-the second American woman, and the first American Jew, in space
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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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President Fillmore Arranges to Attend Opening of the Railroad Line from the Atlantic to the Great Lakes

Autograph Letter Signed

2 pages

SMC 1062

The railroad connecting the Atlantic to the Great Lakes was a cause for national celebration. It would extend the web of the railway network, contributing to the industrial boom in the United States, enlarging the markets while reducing shipping and production costs.
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Very Rare Printed Presidential Check Signed by Franklin Pierce: He Purchases Coal for the White House

Check Signed

1 page

SMC 1074

With this, one of the rarest surviving presidential checks, Franklin Pierce purchased coal for the White House in September of 1854.
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Abraham Lincoln's Appointment of Benjamin F. Isherwood, the Creator of the Steam Navy

Document Signed

1 page

SMC 1081

Benjamin Isherwood designed steamboats that would quickly outrun blockade runners. Isherwood expanded the US Navy's fleet from 28 to 600 steam vessels in the course of the Civil War. Here, President Abraham Lincoln appoints Isherwood Chief of the Bureau of Steam Engineering.
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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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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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Christa McAuliffe, a Teacher, Writes About Her Excitement Going Into Space on the Ill-Fated Challenger

Autograph Letter Signed

1 page

SMC 1508

Christa McAuliffe was the first civilian selected to join astronauts on a space mission. A school teacher, she was planning to give lessons from the spacecraft, to be broadcast live; she would show her students how astronauts ate, slept, and lived on the space shuttle. This letter, written five months before the tragic live broadcast explosion of the Challenger, reflects McAuliffe's enthusiasm for her mission.
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Gregory Jarvis Says That Space Mission Assignment is

Typed Letter Signed

1 page

SMC 1509

Explaining that "being assigned to any mission is relatively tentative and re-assignment is just the luck of the draw," Jarvis tells his correspondent that after being bumped, he has been assigned to the Challenger as a payload specialist.
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Dick Scobee, Commander of the Ill-Fated Challenger, Hopes to Be Selected as a Space Shuttle Astronaut

Autograph Letter Signed

1 page

SMC 1510

Dick Scobee writes that he hopes to be selected as a space shuttle astronaut. He eventually would become the commander of the ill-fated Challenger.
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Rail Ticket for the Historic Jaffa-Jerusalem Railroad

Ephemera

1 page

SMC 1723

Rail Ticket, in French and Arabic, for the Jaffa-Jerusalem Railroad, 2nd Class. Palestine, no date. Punched and cancelled.
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Thomas Edison Inscribed Photo:

Signed Photograph Inscribed

1 page

SMC 1771

Inscribed photo by Thomas Edison, identifying himself as the inventor of the light bulb.
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Benjamin Harrison: The Earliest Known Example of a Typewritten Presidential Letter

Typed Letter Signed

1 page

SMC 1818

This 1889 letter to a book bindery owner in Philadelphia, thanking him for the gift of an olive wood box which he had made especially for the new President, is the earliest known example of a presidential typewritten letter.
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Titanic Postcard: Rare Postcard From the Titanic - Sent at Beginning of Voyage; Ship

Autograph Letter Signed

1 page

SMC 1893

Charlie Shorney writes to his father from the Titanic, telling him that the sea is calm, the ship is a "peach," and that he will be in New York next week. Charlie went down with the ship, and his body was never recovered.
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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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Rare, Seemingly Singular Evidence, That John F. Kennedy Knew How to Fly: His 1944 Flight Logbook

Signed Book

3 pages

SMC 2074

John F. Kennedy's flight logbook of 1944, in which he took ten solo lessons. No existent documentation exists to explain Kennedy's choice; an odd one, as just that year, he discouraged his brother Bobby from flying, and was growing increasingly anxious about the number of fatalities in his older brother Joe's aviation unit. Joe would be shot down later that year in a secret mission over France.
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