Displaying items by tag: autographs

Wednesday, 10 April 2024 21:35

Surprise! Presidential Autographs

Imagine my surprise when looking for a guest book for our archival display case, I found an autograph book with some very intriguing signatures. In the 19th century, long before smart phones allowed for selfies to be taken with celebrities, there were autograph books. Truthfully they were used for a variety of things such as by university students to remember their classmates (this was also before yearbooks). But for this instance, it looks like the goal was political.

Charles Henry Jones of Reading, Pennsylvania spent a good portion of 1852 collection autographs from various government officials including two United States presidents.

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Inside the cover and first page of Charles H. Jones' autograph book. Featuring autographs of James Buchanan, Winfield Scott, William L. Marcy. (1954.10388.001)

Already intrigued I turned the next page and found another presidential signature: Millard Fillmore.

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Autographs of Millard Fillmore, Daniel Webster, Thomas Corwin, and Charles Magill Conrad. (1954.10388.001)

Following these pages, the rest of the book is divided by state, each with at least one autograph of a representative from the respective state. Important for us in this autograph under Pennsylvania. 

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John McNair, Norristown Montgomery C. Penn. (1954.10388.001)

John McNair served as a congressman from 1851-1855 and as is noted in his autograph above, he would have represented our district in Congress. Before serving in Congress he was a clerk of the courts here in Montgomery County as well. 

According to our records, this book was donated along with another autograph book featuring autographs from Franklin Pierce, his cabinet, and other government representatives. Who knows which other autographs might be found in our collection.



Published in Found in Collection