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Melville W. Fuller

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Melville Weston Fuller, 1833-1910.  Chief Justice of the United States, 1888-1910.  Third-person Autograph Letter Signed, as Chief Justice, one page, 5½" x 7", on black-bordered mourning stationery, Sorrento, Maine, August 14, 1907.

Fuller politely declines an invitation from Elbridge T. Gerry, grandson of the signer of the Declaration of Independence, to join him on his steam yacht Electra to watch a race.  In full:  “The Chief Justice begs to express his acknowledgement for the invitation of Mr. Gerry to be present on the Electra on August 15 to witness the Astor Cup Race, and his sincere regret that he finds it impossible for him to avail himself of the courtesy shown him."

Elbridge Thomas Gerry (1837-1927), a prominent New York lawyer, was first elected commodore of the New York Yacht Club in 1886.  During his tenure as commodore, he negotiated the third and final deed of gift under which the club was to hold the Hundred Guinea Cup that the yacht America won at Cowes on the Isle of Wight in 1851—the first Americas Cup.

In our experience, Fuller's autograph material, particularly letters, is scarce.  More often Fuller is found in signed cards.

Fuller has penned this letter in jet black ink. The letter has one normal mailing fold, and the integral leaf has been removed. There is a notation "A" in another hand in the upper left corner, the word "regret" has been underlined in brown, and corner pencil notations have been erased.  There are extensive pencil notations on the back with information about Gerry and the purpose for the letter.   Overall the letter is in very fine condition.




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