History In Ink®  Historical Autographs


Historically vital letter by Secretary of State William Seward sending the Judge Advocate General certified copies of documents necessary to make the case against the Lincoln assassination conspirators a month into the trial, 6-13-1865.  Click the link in the Featured Items below.



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Scrawls, scribbles, and signatures are more than stains on a page.  Like snapshots, they capture moments, preserving the pieces of thought that form the grand puzzle of human experience.  They reveal the breadth and depth of personality and emotion. They are truly History In Ink.

“Men dont change, President Harry S. Truman observed.  The only thing new in the world is the history you dont know.  The letters, photographs, and documents of the famous and influential people of the past are great teachers.  The words and the handwriting connect us with yesteryear and bring history to life.

Presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt and John F. Kennedy, among others, collected historical letters and documents.  Queen Victoria was an avid autograph collector, and years later her great-grandson, King George VI, requested Trumans signature for his daughter, now Queen Elizabeth II.  Today there are thousands of autograph collectors worldwide.

We want to share with you the thrill of owning a genuine piece of history.  So please browse through our site.

Latest Items Added January 24, 2015

Featured Collections

Autographs From the Estate of Llewellyn E. Thompson, Jr.,

The United States Ambassador to the Soviet Union Under Presidents Eisenhower, Kennedy, and Johnson

This outstanding Cold War collection of letters and documents has never before been offered for sale on the autograph market.  It contains letters from five American Presidents—Harry S. Truman, Dwight D. Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, and Richard M. Nixon—as well as First Ladies Eleanor Roosevelt, Mamie Eisenhower, and Jacqueline Kennedy and others such as Robert F. Kennedy, Hubert H. Humphrey, Dean Rusk, and even Soviet Premier Alexei Kosygin.

Thompson was one of the greatest and most important American diplomats of the 20th Century.  He was the United States Ambassador to the Soviet Union at the height of the Cold War, under Eisenhower, Kennedy, and Johnson.  A man with velvet gloves but a backbone of steel, he played a critical role in dangerous times.  His advice to Kennedy as a member of the ExComm during the Cuban Missile Crisis was largely responsible for avoiding nuclear war with the Soviet Union.  He was also with Johnson at his 1967 summit with Kosygin at Glassboro, New Jersey, and advised Nixon on and represented the United States in the negotiations over the SALT I treaty.

Some of these items have been sold, but click here to see the remaining items from this special collection.


The Justice Tom C. Clark Collection

We are privileged to offer the personal autograph collection of Supreme Court Justice Tom C. Clark. Justice Clark served as Attorney General of the United States from 1945 to 1949, when President Harry S. Truman appointed him as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States.  Shortly after he arrived at the Court, Justice Clark began assembling a collection of autographs of Supreme Court Justices that included those of his colleagues and extended back into the 19th Century. The collection includes personal letters that Justice Clark received from other Justices, including those congratulating him on his appointment to the Court, and internal Supreme Court memoranda among the Justices—material that is extremely rare on the autograph market.  None of this material has ever been offered for sale before. 

click here to see the items that we are currently offering from the collection.  They include congratulatory handwritten letters from Justices Stanley F. Reed and Wiley B. Rutledge, handwritten letters by Justices Harold H. Burton and Sherman Minton, typed letters by Chief Justice William Howard Taft and Justices Owen J. Roberts (with a handwritten note by Justice Clark) and James F. Byrnes, an extremely rare handwritten internal Court memorandum from Justice Harold Burton, internal handwritten notes from Justices Howell E.  Jackson, and Joseph R. Lamar, and pencil and ink notes by Rufus W. Peckham.  Please watch for more items from this collection or contact us to ask about other items.


Featured Items

Fidel Castro

Castro signs, in person, a copy of the centerpiece of his revolutionary reforms:  the Cuban Agrarian Reform Act of 1959, with documents of provenance, unframed


Benjamin Franklin

Superb association document in which Franklin confers membership in the American Philosophical Society on French Admiral Luc Urbain de Bouëxic, the Count de Guichen, who had served gallantly in support of the American cause against Great Britain in the American Revolutionary War, 1-20-1786, unframed


John Hancock

Manuscript document signed by Hancock, as a member of the Boston Board of Selectmen, directing admission of a destitute couple to the alms house, 7-3-1765, unframed


Patrick Henry

Autograph letter signed to Judge St. George Tucker, the the eyewitness who provided the most authoritative account of Henryʼs immortal demand to “give me liberty or give me death!”, 8-13-1790, unframed


Andrew Jackson

Beautiful presidential check drawn by Jackson on the Bank of the United States, and written to a close aide, as Jackson prepares to notify Congress that he has withdrawn federal deposits from the Bank in furtherance of his vow to destroy it, 11-26-1833, unframed


John F. Kennedy

Magnificent Philippe Halsman portrait of Kennedy, inscribed and signed in person in 1958, with affidavit of provenance, unframed


Martin Luther King, Jr.

Excellent association postcard signed in person by King on his flight from Detroit after leaving the funeral of civil rights worker Viola Liuozzo, who was murdered at the march on Montgomery, 3-30-1965


Robert E.  Lee

Nice signed carte-de-visite by famed Civil War photographer Mathew Brady, unframed


Napoleon I

Napoleon sends an urgent letter to his Secretary of War to reassign troops in view of his pending invasion of Portugal


Ronald Reagan

Superb three-page handwritten draft letter lambasting President Jimmy Carter and energizing conservatives to fund opposition to the SALT II arms limitation treaty with the Soviet Union, early- to mid-1979, unframed


Babe Ruth

A virtually pristine signed photo of the legendary Bambino, the Sultan of Swat, with provenance, unframed


William H. Seward

Historically superb letter by which Seward, as Secretary of State, sends vital certified copies of documents for use as exhibits in the trial of the Lincoln assassination conspirators, 6-13-1865, unframed


George Washington

Framed Revolutionary War discharge boldly signed by Washington for a private in the Second New York Regiment, which saw action in several important battles, including the decisive Battle of Yorktown, with Badge of Merit award attached


Recent Additions

33rd Congress - extraordinary autograph album  from the 33rd Congress containing the signatures of Presidents William Henry Harrison and Franklin Pierce and other prominent mid-19th Century personalities, including Jefferson Davis and members of the Confederate government, Texas giants Sam Houston and Thomas Jefferson Rusk, Chief Justice Salmon P. Chase, and Union and Confederate generals

Chester A. Arthur - beautiful Variant 2 Executive Mansion card with Arthurʼs bold, flamboyant signature, unframed

Chester A. Arthur - more scarce Variant 1 Executive Mansion card, boldly signed, unframed

Richard E. Byrd - superb typed letter signed from the famed polar explorer to President Franklin D. Roosevelt, whom he addresses “Dear Franklin,” reporting on his secret important survey of Southeastern Pacific islands for possible use for airfields for military and post-World War II use, 10-27-1943, with accompanying autograph note signed to FDR’s secretary Grace Tully, unframed

Henry Clay - nice sentiment and signature of the 19th Century American political giant, clipped from a letter, unframed

William F. Cody - autograph note signed in which “Buffalo Bill” grants artist Elmer Grey permission to sketch Native Americans at his Wild West Camp, with Greyʼs signed note of provenance, unframed

Benjamin N. Cardozo - exceptional pair of items signed as Justice—a signed copy of Cardozo’s book Law and Literature and Cardozoʼs typed letter signed, on Supreme Court stationery, saying that he is sending it under separate cover, 10-28-1935

Jay Cooke - poignant handwritten letter by the American financier commenting on the impending death of a friend’s mother, 5-14-1897, unframed

Dwight D. Eisenhower - the former President exercises “a bit of discretion” in declining comment on the pending Foreign Assistance Act, 8-4-1961, unframed

Stephen J. Field - bold signature, with biographical data, accompanied by Fieldʼs handwritten quotation from William Cullen Bryantʼs poem The Battle-Field, unframed

Gerald R. Ford - scarce early campaign letter in which Ford, facing reelection, courts votes in a Democratic precinct that he previously lost 3 to 1, unframed

Hermann Göring - large, war-dated document countersigned by Göring with a perfect blue ink signature as Adolf Hitler appoints an assistant schoolmaster during the Battle of France, 6-7-1940, in original embossed presentation folder, unframed

Ulysses S. Grant - large signature of Grant from April 1885, less than three months before his death, unframed

Alexander Hamilton - nice free frank signature of Hamilton, tipped to an article about Hamilton’s role in the adoption of the United States Constitution, unframed

Warren G. Harding - magnificent The White House card with jet black Harding signature, unframed

William Henry Harrison - autograph document signed in which Harrison directs the issuance of provisions for the Delaware Indians, who would soon sign the Treaty of Greenville, opening Ohio and Indiana to white settlement, 7-29-1795, unframed

Herbert Hoover - signed photograph of President Hoover with his Cabinet at the depths of the Great Depression, 1932, unframed

James Madison - signature of Madison, as Secretary of State, countersigned by the man whose appointment spawned Thomas Jefferson’s most important public statement about political patronage, circa 1801–1803, unframed

James Monroe - bold signature of Monroe, the last of the Founding Fathers to serve as President, clipped from a manuscript letter, unframed

Ronald Reagan - handwritten notes for a Reagan speech about voluntary income tax withholding, written as Governor of California, unframed

Frederic Remington - bold signature on a card of the renowned American Old West artist, perfect for framing

John Wayne - boldly signed typed letter thanking a California senator for a framed copy of a resolution in Wayneʼs honor, 5-3-1977, unframed

Levi Woodbury - manuscript letter signed by Woodbury, as Andrew Jacksonʼs Secretary of the Navy, to future Jackson nemesis Nicholas Biddle, 2-21-1833, unframed

Here you will find History In Inkbeautifully framed and unframed letters, documents, and signed photographs as well as signed books and other autograph items.  You will also find much more:  Our listings include biographical information and often explain the historical context of the autograph item itself.  We also offer information on caring for historical autographs and links to several interesting and helpful web sites.

History In Ink® offers a wide variety of historical autograph material, both framed and unframed, for sale in a broad range of prices.  We give you personal service to help you find just the right piece to help build your collection or give the perfect gift to a history buff.  If we do not have it in stock, we are always glad to help you find it. 

We specialize in the autographs of United States presidents and first ladies, Supreme Court justices, European royalty, and World War II military.  We also have items from many other notable persons in American and world history. Those include statesmen and world leaders; presidential cabinet officers; members of Congress; military figures from the Revolutionary War, Civil War, World War I, and other conflicts; artists; authors; inventors; scientists; aviators and astronauts; and personalities from law, business, politics, entertainment, and occasionally sports. 

We take care to make our framed displays some of the best—wonderful conversation pieces for the home or office.  They include one or more photographs or portraits and usually include one or more engraved plates identifying the person and, if appropriate, the event.  Most of our unframed items can also be framed.

We also offer several payment options to make it as easy as possible for you to build your collection or give the perfect gift.  We can ship both framed and unframed items virtually anywhere in the world.

We always enjoy talking about autographs, so please email us with your questions, comments, and suggestions.  Give us your wish list, and sign up for our email list so that we can tell you about new items as we offer them. 

Most of all, enjoy our site, breathe in the history, and come back often. 


We are always interested in buying quality historical autographs.  Click here.

History In Ink® is a registered trademark of History In Ink, L.L.C.  Site design, descriptions, and framed item designs are the copyrighted property of History In Ink, L.L.C.

© 20042015 History In Ink, L.L.C.                                                                                                Newest Online Item(s) Added 1-24-15    Site Last Updated 1-24-15