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Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

The 86-year-old Justice sends his autograph to a teenager

who would later graduate from Harvard Law School

Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., 1841–1935.  Associate Justice, Supreme Court of the United States, 1902–1932.  Autograph letter signed, Oliver Wendell Holmes, one page, with integral leaf attached, 5” x 8”, on stationery of the Supreme Court of the United States, Washington, D.C., March 17, 1927. 

Holmes sends a courteous reply to an autograph request from Leonard Zalkin, who would later graduate from Harvard Law School.  He writes, in full:  “My dear boy  /  It gives me pleasure to comply with your slight request.  /  Very truly yours . . . ” 

Zalkin (1912–2012) was a teenager when he wrote to request Holmes’s autograph.  He obtained his undergraduate degree from the University of Virginia and his law degree from Harvard Law School, where Holmes had both studied and served briefly as a law professor.  Zalkin was admitted to practice law in New York in 1936.  Apart from a two-year stint in the Army during World War II, Zalkin practiced in New York City for more than 70 years and died at age 99.

Holmes has penned this letter in black.  There is slight brushing, likely from Holmes’s own hand, to the “27” in the date and to the “H” in Holmes’s signature.  The letter has two horizontal mailing folds, one of which affects three words of the text, but neither of which affects Holmes’s beautiful 3” signature.  There are mounting traces on the back of the integral leaf.  The letter is in fine condition. 

Unframed.    Please ask us about custom framing this piece.

This item has been sold.

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