University Archives Announces Its May 15, 2024 Sale

    University Archives is thrilled to present its next sale, Rare Signed Autographs, Manuscripts, Books & Memorabilia, on May 15, 2024. Over 430 lots of unique and outstanding historical items will pass the auction block, including many from U.S. Presidents & First Ladies (James Madison to Joe Biden, Frances Cleveland to Laura Bush.) More than 25 of these presidential lots relate to Ronald Reagan and range from hand-inscribed speech drafts, autograph notes signed, and endorsements, to signed photos, and personally owned books, tableware, silverware, and decorative arts. Other strongly represented collecting categories include Aviation, Space & Exploration, Science, Civil Rights, Early America, Entertainment, Sports, International, Military, and more!

    U.S. Presidents

    Lot 81 is an autograph endorsement signed by Abraham Lincoln dated August 15, 1864, illuminating the rail-splitting president’s attitudes towards hard and honest work: “I am always for the man who wishes to work…” Lincoln’s endorsement is believed to be associated with a now-missing recommendation letter addressed to military authorities at a Washington, D.C. cavalry depot. Since about a quarter of horse-wranglers at Giesboro Point were freedmen, it is quite possible that the unknown jobseeker could have been a recently freed slave.


    Lot 81, Abraham Lincoln AES

    Lot 112 is an assembled 10pp partly typed speech draft extensively annotated by Ronald Reagan, with over 450 words in his hand, as well as numerous edits, cross-outs, and arrows. Many of Reagan’s handwritten additions and emendations went directly into the final draft of his “Address Before a Joint Session of the Congress on the Program for Economic Recovery,” presented on April 28, 1981, about one month after his near assassination. In the speech, Reagan reassured Americans that ours was most certainly not a “sick society,” and commented on how he planned to vigorously implement parts of Reaganomics.

    Lot 58 is a lovely assortment of women’s accessories personally worn by Jackie Kennedy during a 1960 presidential campaign Time magazine photo shoot. The lot consists of a pair of pale pink satin elbow-length gloves, along with a matching evening clutch and coin purse. The items were gifted by Jackie Kennedy to her personal secretary, Mary B. Gallagher, who wore them to the Inaugural Ball.

    Aviation, Space & Exploration

    Lot 180 is a Type 3 Apollo XI insurance cover boldly signed by all three crew members of the first moon-walking NASA mission, Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins, and postmarked July 16, 1969 from the Kennedy Space Center. The Apollo XI mission marked the first time NASA introduced signed insurance covers to protect astronauts’ families against death or injury.


    Lot 397 is a 1p autograph letter in German signed by Albert Einstein, dated September 29, 1937, and addressed to fellow physicist Cornelius Lanczos. The letter features about 200 words in Einstein’s hand as well as around six mathematical formulae including Rik = 0, Einstein’s second-most famous equation after E = MC2. Einstein explores the theory of general relativity using elements of tensor calculus. The formula Rik = 0 relates to vacuums. Einstein famously scrawled Rik = 0 on a chalkboard following an astronomy lecture at the Mt. Wilson Observatory at the California Institute of Technology in January 1931.

    Lot 397, Albert Einstein ALS

    Civil Rights

    Lot 237 is a 2pp typed letter signed by Martin Luther King, Jr. on Dexter Avenue Baptist Church stationery dated November 13, 1958. At that time, MLK, Jr. was recuperating from a recent unsuccessful assassination attempt, while simultaneously trying to plan and budget for a 10-day side trip to the Soviet Union in early 1959. One of the reasons why MLK, Jr. wanted to visit was to observe firsthand Soviet attitudes towards people of color: “As a Negro I have special concern with the influence that Soviet theory and practice have had upon the millions of colored peoples who populate the less industrially developed areas of the world…” His reasons for wanting to go, outlined in this remarkable letter, show how ambitious his plans were.

    Lot 239 is a 1p typed letter signed by Malcolm X, dated August 27, 1958, and addressed to his wife Betty, who was visiting Boston. Malcolm X urges his wife to socialize with “Sister Muhammad” (Clara Muhammad, wife of Elijah Muhammad) and “Minister Louis” (Louis Farrakhan, then head of the Boston Nation of Islam mosque), and relates that he has been such a “nervous wreck” that he inadvertently parked his car on a hill without the brakes engaged in Newark.

    Early America

    Lot 251 is a splendid copperplate engraved broadside of the Declaration of Independence drawn by Benjamin Owen Tyler and printed by Peter Maverick, ca. 1818. Tyler’s version is often considered “the first correct copy” of the Declaration of Independence, because previous printed versions featured a different title and omitted the Signers’ names. The Tyler Declaration of Independence is prized because of its style as well as accuracy; Tyler used his training in penmanship to meticulously reproduce the Signers’ signatures.

    Lot 267 is a display case featuring a coin silver teaspoon hand-crafted by celebrated colonial silversmith Paul Revere, and possibly presented to Alexander Hamilton. The teaspoon is suspended in a floating mount within a mirrored shadowbox that enables the viewer to see Revere’s maker’s mark as well as the monogram “A.H.” on the handle terminal.

    Entertainment & Sports

    Lot 414 is a rare color photogravure after Henry Sandham by Boussod, Valadon & Cie., ca. 1896, depicting the 1894 Temple Cup baseball playoff game. The panoramic print gives viewers an unimpeded view of the baseball diamond peopled with Baltimore Orioles and New York Giants, as well as the elegantly dressed spectators gathered in the stadium at the New York Polo grounds.

    Lot 414, Photogravure after Henry Sandham

    Lot 282 is a hotel restaurant table decoration / promotional card for the Palm Terrace, Beverly Hills Hotel boldly signed by Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMaggio, ca. summer 1952. The autographed piece of ephemera is accompanied by a letter of provenance from the original collector, an 11-year-old boy; as well as LOAs from both JSA and Gray Flannel Auctions. Monroe and DiMaggio would tie the know two years later, in 1954.


    Lot 304 is a sensational collection of 45 antique Japanese tsubas, or decorative sword guards, collected by a lifetime connoisseur. The tsubas vary in age, material, and subject matter, providing a cross-section of outstanding examples. Delightful artistic representations in applied gold and silver include monkeys, cranes, and characters from Japanese myths and legends.

    These are just a few of the unique lots that will be offered in our May 15, 2024 sale. We hope to see you there!