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Sherman Minton

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“You surely didn’t expect me to ‘wait to open until Xmas’ did you?”

Sherman Minton, 18901965.  Senator from Indiana, 19351941; Associate Justice, United States Supreme Court, 19491956.  Autograph Letter Signed, Sherman Minton, one page, 8” x 10½”, New Albany [Indiana], on stationery of the United States Senate, Washington, D.C., December 14, 1939.

Minton sends his appreciation for a Christmas gift.  In full:  “You surely didn’t expect me to ‘wait to open until Xmas’ did you?  I am sorry if you did!  Any way my thanks—especially for your thoughtfulness.  /  I hope you may have a delightful holiday season and a happy prosperous New Year.  /  With best regards—

Minton, a Democrat, was elected to the Senate from Indiana in 1934, the same year another Democrat, Harry S. Truman, was elected from Missouri.  In 1939, he strongly supported President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s plan to pack the Supreme Court with justices favorable to Roosevelt’s New Deal legislation. 

Minton served only one term in the Senate, 1935–1941, and was defeated for reelection.  Roosevelt made him an administrative assistant in the Executive Office of the President for a short time in 1941 before appointing him a judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.  He served as a circuit judge eight years, 1941–1949, before Truman, a close friend, appointed him an Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court.  He took the oath of office as a Justice on October 12, 1949, and served until ill health forced him to resign on October 15, 1956.

As a Justice, Minton disappointed most liberals by consistently preferring order to freedom. He generally voted to uphold statutes intended to protect the national security and rejected challenges asserting violations of individual liberties.  He did, however, join the Supreme Court’s unanimous decision in Brown v. Board of Education to outlaw public school segregation in 1954.  Upon his retirement, Minton observed: “There will be more interest in who will succeed me than in my passing. I’m an echo.”

Minton’s handwritten letters are uncommon.  This one is a beautiful example with a full signature.  It  has normal mailing folds, neither of which affects the signature, and file holes at the top and a pencil notation “15” below the date. It is in fine condition.

Unframed.    Please ask us about custom framing this piece.

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