Andrew Johnson Writes His "Humble History" in Two Pages

December 11, 1857

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Andrew Johnson Writes His "Humble History" in Two Pages
Autograph Letter Signed
2 pages | SMC 517

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      Background

      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.
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      Washington City
      Dec 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 th [sic] 8th 

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      day of Oct. last I was elected to the Senate of the U'S'- I will add that during this period of time I served as Trustee of the Greenevill [sic] 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 atall [sic]-
       
      I have the honor to be most respectfully 

      Andrew Johnson 

      T.H. Herbert Esqr.