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.

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Latest Items Added August 1, 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 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


Joseph Conrad

The last check that Joseph Conrad ever wrote—and perhaps his last autograph—dated only five days before his death, 7-29-1924, 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



Rare bold ink signature of the Apache Native American leader, signed in person at the 1904 Worldʼs Fair in St. Louis, 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


Robert E.  Lee

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


James Madison

Excellent association military commission in which Madison promotes Henry B. Brevoort, one of earliest American settlers in Detroit, only six days before Madisonʼs message to Congress that spawned the War of 1812, 5-26-1812, 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

Rare letter, one of only two known, regarding Ruth’s second starring film, the romantic baseball comedy The Babe Comes Home, 4-20-1927, 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


Recent Additions

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

Omar N. Bradley - vintage card of Bradleyʼs Twelfth Army Group, the United Statesʼ largest and most powerful Army group ever, signed by Bradley above his name and rank, unframed

Warren E. Burger - signed reprint of the Constitution published by the Commission on the Bicentennial of the United States Constitution, which Burger chaired

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

Charles Chaplin - beautifully bold sentiment and signature of The Tramp on his personal calling card, unframed

Samuel L. Clemens / Mark Twain - extraordinary autograph note signed confirming the accuracy of a newspaper article recounting his early years as a miner and reporter in Virginia City, Nevada, where he first used the pen name “Mark Twain,” with accompanying clipping, 4-23-1897, unframed

George Armstrong Custer - bold, black ink signature of Custer tipped to a card, unframed

Charles Dickens - third-person autograph letter signed sending a check, 6-28-1869, unframed

Walt Disney - large sentiment and signature of the American animation icon on an album page, unframed

Amelia Earhart - jet black ink signature of Earhart, the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean, and whose later disappearance over the Pacific has never been solved, unframed

George Eastman - rare typed letter signed sending thanks to The New York Times for newspaper clippings, apparently related to his long African safari, 10-27-1926, unframed

Douglas Fairbanks, Sr. - vintage black-and-white Sergis Alberts portrait of the Swashbuckler, boldly signed with a huge ink signature, unframed

Eugene Field - autograph letter signed sending verses to a friend for use in a recitation, 12-30-1884, unframed

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

King Friedrich Wilhelm III - nice Prussian military appointment, with beautiful Hohenzollern blind stamp, promoting a soldier to captain and company chief, 10-24-1830, unframed

King Friedrich Wilhelm IV - ornate Prussian military document, with magnificent Hohenzollern blind stamp, promoting a major to colonel, 3-22-1853, 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

Winfield Scott Hancock - nice frameable signature of the Union major general known as “Hancock the Superb,” unframed

J. Edgar Hoover - vintage signed photograph of the powerful FBI director, unframed

Samuel Huntington - partial land deed prepared and signed in text by the Signer of the Declaration of Independence to convey land from a family member to himself, unframed

Thomas Jefferson and James Madison - ornate vellum shipʼs pass with a beautiful Jefferson signature as President, 12-16-1803, unframed

Marquis de LaFayette and Jean-Sylvain Bailly - French National Guard appointment signed by the two undisputed heroes of the early French Revolution, 9-1-1789, framed

Robert E. Lee - signature of the Confederate General tipped to a portrait of Lee in uniform, unframed

Jenny Lind - autographed letter signed with dual signatures by the Swedish Nightingale, fresh off her highly successful American tour, to arrange a meeting, 7-8-1852, unframed

Belva Lockwood - autograph note signed, offering advice for success, by the first woman to run a full presidential campaign and to practice before the United States Supreme Court, 2-5-1885, unframed

Douglas MacArthur - typed letter from Tokyo as Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers responding to a correspondent, undoubtedly about MacArthurʼs 1948 presidential bid, 5-1-1948, 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

Robert Morris - the Signer of the Declaration of Independence and his son-in-law, John Marshallʼs brother James Marshall, sign a stock certificate to Benjamin Franklinʼs grandson on the 20th anniversary of Paul Revereʼs famous ride, 4-18-1795, unframed

John J. Pershing - concluding portion of a typed letter signed in which the American general thanks a correspondent for a newspaper editorial, unframed

Sergei Rachmaninoff - uncommon dated full signature of the Russian pianist and composer, perfect for framing

Eddie Rickenbacker - magnificent bold fountain pen signature of the American ace fighter pilot, winner of the Medal of Honor, on a card, unframed

Norman Rockwell - typed letter signed sending his autograph and expressing his view that autograph collecting is a “most interesting” hobby, 2-20-1946, unframed

Eleanor Roosevelt - scarce free franked envelope with her full signature, “Anna Eleanor Roosevelt,” 10-3-1947, unframed

Paul W. Tibbets - signed photograph of the pilot of the Enola Gay standing before the plane that dropped the worldʼs first atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan, 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 8-1-15    Site Last Updated 8-1-15