History In Ink®  Historical Autographs




Chester A. Arthur

Exceedingly rare signed photograph of President Arthur

Chester Alan Arthur, 1829–1886.  21st President of the United States, 1881–1885.  Exceedingly rare cabinet photograph, signed Chester A. Arthur.

For Presidents whose signed photographs are available, Arthur is the most difficult to obtain.  The records of American Book Prices Current show that only six portrait photographs of him, including this one, have been sold at auction since 1975.  Hence the rarity of this one. 

This 4¼” x 6½” photograph is by W. Kurtz of Madison Square in New York.  Madison Square is the intersection of Fifth Avenue and Broadway at 23rd Street in Manhattan.  Kurtz had studios in New York, Philadelphia, Paris, and Vienna. He photographed many celebrities of his time, and his work is in the archives of many university libraries, including those of Harvard University.

Arthur has signed this photograph in black.  The photograph is mounted to a card imprinted with Kurtz’s logo on the reverse.  It shows some cracking on the surface, affecting the signature in two places, and general light crazing.  The edges of the card show wear, particularly at the bottom corners, and there are mounting remnants on the back.  Overall the piece is in good condition, not  fine.  Even with the defects, the rarity of the photograph makes it a highly desirable piece for any presidential collection.




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