History In Ink®  Historical Autographs


Joseph R. Lamar

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From the personal collection of Supreme Court Justice Tom C. Clark


Justice Lamar asks the marshal to seat a guest in the courtroom

Joseph Rucker Lamar, 1857–1916.  Associate Justice, Supreme Court of the United States, 1911–1916.  Rare Autographed Note Signed, J.R.L., on personal calling card, 1" x 3", no place [Washington, D.C.], no date.

Justice Lamar asks the marshal of the Supreme Court to seat a guest in the courtroom.  On the back of his personal calling card, imprinted “Mr. Justice Lamar,” he writes, in full:  “Major Wright / If possible please give Mr. Corrigan a seat."

Between the overall scarcity of Lamarʼs autograph material and the rarity of internal Supreme Court memoranda such as this on the market, this is a very desirable piece.  Lamarʼs autograph material as a Justice is scarce because of the short time that he served on the Supreme Court.  President William Howard Taft, a Republican, appointed Lamar, a Democrat and the cousin of former Justice Lucius Q. C. Lamar, at the end of 1910.  Lamar assumed his seat on January 3, 1911.  His health deteriorated in 1915, however, and he died on January 2, 1916, after one day short of only five years on the Court.  He was 58 years old. 

When he was appointed, Lamar was only the third Justice appointed by a president of the other political party.  He had served four years and written more than 200 opinions as a judge of the Georgia Supreme Court before he reentered private practice in 1905.  Taft, who apparently had come to know him during his occasional vacations in Lamar's home of Augusta, Georgia, tapped him for the Supreme Court to fill the vacancy created by the retirement of Justice William H. Moody. 

Lamar has written this note in pencil.  The card has a paperclip impression at the right and some soiling.  There are also light paperclip stains on the front of the card near Lamar's printed name.  Overall the piece is in fine condition.

Provenance:  This note comes from the personal collection of Justice Tom C. Clark, who served on the Supreme Court from 1949 until 1967. Justice Clark collected the autographs of other Supreme Court Justices dating back into the 19th Century.  We are privileged to offer a number of items from the collection.

Unframed.  Please ask us about custom framing this piece.


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