History In Ink®  Historical Autographs


Tom C. Clark

Stanley F. Reed

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

Extremely rare internal notes between Justices Tom C. Clark and Stanley F. Reed:

“I surrender You are right. But it doesnʼt make any difference . . . ."

Tom Campbell Clark (18991977), Associate Justice, United States Supreme Court, 19491967, and Stanley Forman Reed, 1884–1980, Associate Justice, United States Supreme Court, 1930–1957.  Extremely rare Autograph Notes between the Justices, with Justice Reedʼs note signed with his initials, SR, one page, 3" x 5", no place [Washington, D.C.], no date [ca. 1950–1951].

Internal correspondence between Supreme Court Justices regarding cases before the Court is extremely rare.  This piece comes from Justice Clarkʼs personal collection of the autographs of Supreme Court Justices.

The note concerns American Fire & Casualty Co. v. Finn, 341 U.S. 6 (1951).  After her house was destroyed by fire, Mrs. Finn sued two insurance companies and an insurance agent to recover on one of two fire insurance policies and to recover from the agent.  The issues before the Court, technical ones, dealt with the application of the 1948 revision to the federal statute governing removal to a federal court of a case filed in a state court.

In this note, Clark writes to Reed:  STANLEY: – Here is the 1st judgment.  It was set aside on p. 170 and the second entered on same page."  In response, Reed writes:  “I surrender[.]  You are right.  But it doesnʼt make any difference as the other Parties were still before the court."

This is an excellent example of the collegial way in which Supreme Court Justices approach issues in cases.  Autograph material like this rarely finds its way to the market.

Clark has written the note on the top portion of this small sheet in black fountain pen.  Reed has replied in pencil.  The name "Mr. Justice Clark" is written at the top on the back in another hand, indicating that the note from Reed was to be delivered to Clark. The notes show some handling, but overall the piece is in fine condition.

Provenance:  Justice Clark served on the Supreme Court from 1949 until 1967.  He 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 Reedʼs 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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