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Hugo L. Black

“You knew how gentle & lovely she was and

you can appreciate the magnitude of my loss.”

Hugo Lafayette Black, 18861971. Senator from Alabama, 19271937; Associate Justice, United States Supreme Court, 19371971.  Rare Autograph Letter Signed, Hugo L. Black, one page, 5¾” x 9”, on stationery of the Supreme Court of the United States, Washington, D.C., March 12, 1952.

In this poignant letter written just over three months after the death of his wife, Josephine, Justice Black thanks Charlotte Spivak, the wife of Meet the Press producer and moderator Lawrence E. Spivak, for condolences.  He writes, in full:  It was good to get your message of sympathy about Josephine.  You knew how gentle & lovely she was and you can appreciate the magnitude of my loss. Thank you and Mr. Spivak for your letter.  /  With kind regards, I am,  /  Sincerely . . .

Josephine died December 7, 1951.  She was eulogized as a woman who was gifted with distinctive beauty and unusual grace and charm, one who deepened tolerance, extended breadth of sympathy, made righteousness not only just but radiant.  An original copy of the ministers eulogy delivered at her memorial service at All Souls Church in Washington, D.C., on December 10, 1951, accompanies this letter.

Black was nearly 35 years old when he married the 21-year-old Josephine Foster on February 23, 1921.  They had three children:  Hugo Lafayette, II (19222013), Sterling Foster, (19241996), and Martha Josephine (1933).

Justice Blacks handwritten letters are rare.  This one is in very fine condition.  Justice Black has written and signed it in blue fountain pen.  Only two normal horizontal mailing folds, which do not affect the signature, and an old dealer pencil notation on the back keep the letter from being extra fine.

This is an outstanding example of Justice Blacks holograph and belongs in the finest of Supreme Court collections.




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