History In Ink®  Historical Autographs


Joseph R. Lamar

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


Scarce signature of Justice Lamar, who served but five years on the Supreme Court

Joseph Rucker Lamar, 1857–1916.  Associate Justice, Supreme Court of the United States, 1911–1916.  Scarce signature, J. R. Lamar, on a 2½" x 6¼" slip of paper.

This is a nice fountain pen signature of Justice Lamar from the personal collection of Justice Tom C. Clark.  Overall, Lamarʼs autograph material is scarce, and scarcer yet as a Justice 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. 

This signature has a paperclip impression at the left, and mounting traces on the back show through, particularly at the upper right.  None of these things affects the signature.  Overall the piece is in fine condition.

Provenance:  As noted, this signature comes from Justice Clarkʼs personal collection.  Clark, who served on the Supreme Court from 1949 until 1967, 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.  This one comes with the backing page, which bears the federal eagle watermark and Justice Lamarʼs typed name, with which it was stored.  It is not laid down to the backing sheet.

Unframed.  Please ask us about custom framing this piece.


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