Franklin Pierce Original Historic Letters and Documents

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Topic

Human Aspect

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    Manuscripts (15)

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    On the Eve of Rebellion, Pierce Still Defends the Kansas-Nebraska Act

    Autograph Letter Signed

    4 pages

    SMC 964

    Franklin Pierce, who signed the Kansas-Nebraska Act while president, thus enabling the spread of slavery, and pitting the North against the South, doubles down on his decision six years later, on the eve of the Civil War.
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    Pierce Defends the Democratic Party as Non-Sectional, Wonders About the Outcome of the 1860 Election

    Autograph Letter Signed

    4 pages

    SMC 1809

    Pierce insists that the Democratic party is united over the issue of slavery months before the presidential election of 1860 causes the party to split into Northern and Southern Democrats, respectively.
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    President Franklin Pierce Sets in Motion the Recall of the American Minister Resident in Turkey

    Document Signed

    1 page

    SMC 238

    President Franklin Pierce recalls the American minister resident in Turkey, George Marsh, in order to dispatch him to Greece. Pierce needed Marsh to negotiate with the Greek authorities in order to free an American Consul stationed there who had been arrested and his property seized.
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    Former President Franklin Pierce Defends Himself Against Treason Charges Brought by William H. Seward

    Autograph Letter Signed

    4 pages

    SMC 422

    Franklin Pierce, a public detractor of President Lincoln and of the Union, is charged with being a member of a secret league, intending to overthrow the government. Incensed by the publication of the allegations, Pierce arranges for his old friend, Senator Latham of California, to introduce a resolution demanding that all the correspondence in the matter be submitted to Congress for inquiry.
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    Franklin Pierce Scrawls an Urgent Message on His Calling Card

    Calling Card

    1 page

    SMC 544

    This rare autographed calling card of Franklin Pierce was written in haste and left at the occupant's vacant lodgings. Pierce is sorry to have missed the person but asks that they call on him later that evening at his hotel.
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    Franklin Pierce Describes Nathaniel Hawthorne's Last Night Alive on Their Trip to New England

    Autograph Letter Signed

    4 pages

    SMC 583

    Former President Pierce tells the story of his friend, the author Nathaniel Hawthorne's demise, detailing their last trip and the epic moment of Pierce’s discovery of his death.
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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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    Pierce on His Favorite Portrait of Himself, That of His Dead Son, and Those of the First Five Presidents

    Autograph Letter Signed

    4 pages

    SMC 962

    Franklin Pierce writes to Francis Bicknell Carpenter, a renowned painter who would go on to achieve even greater fame with his paintings of Lincoln, especially of Lincoln reading the Emancipation Proclamation. Here, Pierce expresses the great satisfaction he and Mrs. Pierce take in Carpenter’s portrait of his dead son – painted from a daguerreotype following the boy's tragic death in 1853.
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    President Pierce Invites a Famous Presbyterian Divine to Visit the White House

    Autograph Letter Signed

    2 pages

    SMC 965

    President Franklin Pierce invites the prominent Philadelphia cleric, Henry A. Boardman, to visit at the White House, "that we may make some time under this roof a period of enjoyment." The Pierces, who lost their last surviving child in a train crash two years earlier, were still in mourning, and Pierce hoped Boardman's visit might bring some comfort to them.
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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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    Candidate Franklin Pierce Writes About Nathaniel Hawthorne's Campaign Biography of Him

    Autograph Letter Signed

    2 pages

    SMC 967

    An agitated candidate Pierce writes to the publisher of Nathaniel Hawthorne's campaign biography of him, demanding that the West and Southwest be "liberally supplied" with "Hawthorne's book" as "the sales which are to be made must be made promptly."
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    An Anti-Copperhead Broadside Denouncing Former President Franklin Pierce as a Traitor

    Ephemera

    1 page

    SMC 976

    The Copperheads were northern Democrats who blamed the abolitionists for the Civil War and wished to see Lincoln and the Republicans ousted from power. This broadside is a Republican plea to voters to ponder-and ultimately reject-the traitorous nature of the Copperheads and their ringleader, Franklin Pierce. Shortly after this broadside appeared, Lincoln was victorious in his reelection campaign.
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    Jane Pierce, Recalling Her Deceased Child, is Haunted by Happier Times

    Autograph Letter Signed

    4 pages

    SMC 979

    Just seven months before this letter was penned, her beloved son and only surviving child, Bennie, was struck down before her eyes in a train wreck, in which he was the only fatality. Here she writes to her sister about family matters - but her tragic loss is never far from her thoughts.
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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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    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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