History In Ink®  Historical Autographs


Mahlon Pitney

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

Scarce Court-date signature of Justice Pitney

Mahlon Pitney, 1858–1924.  Associate Justice, United States Supreme Court, 1912–1922.  Large signature, Mahlon Pitney., clipped from the conclusion of a letter.

This is an excellent example of a signature of one of the most difficult Supreme Court Justices to acquire autographically.  It is clipped from the conclusion of a letter.  Pitney has signed with a huge 4¼" signature beneath the typed closing "Yours very truly."  A 1917 watermark in the paper shows that Pitney signed this signature as an Associate Justice.

Pitney served 10 years on the Supreme Court.  In 1912, President William Howard Taft appointed Pitney as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States.  He was the last of Taft's appointments to the Court.  Taft later became critical of Pitney when Taft himself became Chief Justice, leading the Court on which Pitney still sat.  Pitney retired from the Supreme Court on December 31, 1922.

This signature is on an irregularly trimmed sheet measuring 8½" x 6".  Pitney has signed in grayish brown fountain pen.  The paper has a horizontal fold well removed from signature.  The piece is in fine condition and could easily be framed.

Provenance:  This item 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.  This one comes with the backing page, which bears the federal eagle watermark and Justice Pitneyʼs typed name, that Justice Clark inserted behind the item in the page protector used to house this letter his collection.  This piece is not laid down to the backing sheet.


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