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Sandra Day OConnor


Sandra Day O’Connor, 1930.  Associate Justice, United States Supreme Court, 1981–2006.  Superb Typed Letter Signed, Sandra D. O’Connor, two pages, 8½” x 11”, on engraved stationery of the Supreme Court of the United States, Washington, D.C., February 5, 1986.

This is perhaps the finest O’Connor letter extant.  Responding to a junior high school teacher who had written for his civics class, O’Connor discusses her position as the first woman to serve on the Supreme Court and how she got there, and she advises the students on how to prepare for success.  She writes, in part:

When I appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee at my confirmation hearing I said:  ‘As the first woman to be nominated as a Supreme Court Justice, I am particularly honored, and I happily share the honor with millions of American women of yesterday and of today whose ability and whose conduct have given me this opportunity for service.’  I feel the same way today as I did when I first made that statement.

I did not have goals to hold high offices when I was the age of the students at Northside Junior High School.  Rather, I tried to develop the habit of doing everything, in school and out of school, as well as I could.  I discovered two things from this.

First, I enjoyed the pleasure and sense of accomplishment that comes from doing something and doing it well.  I also found that capable performance in any task added to my confidence.

Secondly, I discovered that when I did something well people took notice of it and sometimes gave me greater responsibilities and new opportunities.  This was the road that led me to where I am.

In short, I urge the students to develop a habit of excellence.  I believe they’ll not only go further, but I think they’ll be happier people.

This letter is superb.  It has only two normal mailing folds, neither of which affects O’Connor’s bold, black signature.

The letter is double matted in judicial black suede, with an inlaid gold fillet, and framed in a black and gilt frame along with a color portrait of Justice OConnor and an engraved brass identification plate.


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