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Benjamin Harrison

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Nice partial appointment document signed by President Harrison

and Secretary of State James G. Blaine early in Harrison’s administration

Benjamin Harrison, VI, 1833–1901.  23rd President of the United States, 1889–1893.  Partial document boldly signed Benjamin Harrison, 16¼” x 7½”, Washington, D.C., June 20, 1889.  Countersigned, James G. Blaine, by Secretary of State James Gillespie Blaine, 1830–1893.

This is an extremely nice piece that Harrison signed just over three months into his administration.  It has been cleanly removed from a larger document, which was undoubtedly a presidential appointment.  The wafer seal bearing the Great Seal of the United States is deeply embossed—one of the best we have seen in a long time. Harrison has signed with a 3¾” signature in black ink, and Blaine has countersigned with his flamboyant signature in black as well.

Harrison was the great-grandson of Virginian Benjamin Harrison, V, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, and the grandson of President William Henry Harrison, the ninth President of the United States.  He was the fourth post-Civil War Republican president who had served as a general in the Union army, following Ulysses S. Grant, Rutherford B. Hayes, and James A. Garfield. 

Harrison represented Indiana in the United States Senate from 1881 to 1887.  As chairman of the Indiana delegation to the 1880 Republican convention, he supported the dark horse Garfield, the eventual nominee.  While in the Senate, Harrison supported pensions for Civil War veterans, statehood for the Dakota Territory, high protective tariffs, limited civil service reform, a modernized Navy, and conservation of wilderness lands.

Harrison was nominated for president on the eighth ballot at the 1888 Republican convention in Chicago after Blaine, the party’s 1884 candidate, could not win the nomination himself and gave his support to Harrison. The Democrats nominated incumbent President Grover Cleveland.  Cleveland got 90,000 more popular votes than Harrison, but Harrison won the electoral college vote 233–168.  He served one term and lost his bid for reelection when Cleveland regained the presidency in the 1892 election.

This piece is clean and bright.  It shows a bit of handling and has a flattened vertical fold that crosses through one letter of Blaine’s signature.  There is a band of light toning on the back, and there are three small stray ink splatter spots with very light ink trails on the back that do not bleed through to the front.  The document is in fine to very fine condition.

Unframed.  Please ask us about custom framing this piece.

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