News | May 7, 2024

Abraham Lincoln Endorsement and Ronald Reagan's Books to Auction

University Archives

The Abraham Lincoln endorsement

Ronald Reagan's copy of Don Quixote is among numerous presidential lots coming to auction on May 15 at University Archives' Rare Signed Autographs, Manuscripts, Books & Memorabilia sale.

Among the items relating to U.S. Presidents & First Ladies including James Madison and Frances Cleveland are Ronald Reagan's hand-inscribed speech drafts, autograph notes, signed photos, and personally owned books including the 1933 Don Quixote in two volumes translated by John Ormsby and illustrated by Enric C. Ricart with a bookplate on the inside front cover naming it as from "The Private Collection of President and Mrs. Ronald Reagan". 

Lot 112 is a 10-page partly typed speech draft extensively annotated by Ronald Reagan, with more than 450 words in his hand, as well as numerous edits, cross-outs, and arrows. Many of Reagan’s handwritten additions and emendations went directly into the final draft of his Address Before a Joint Session of the Congress on the Program for Economic Recovery presented on April 28, 1981, about a month after his near assassination. In the speech, Reagan reassured Americans that ours was most certainly not a “sick society,” and commented on how he planned to vigorously implement parts of Reaganomics.

Also going under the hammer is an autograph endorsement signed by Abraham Lincoln dated August 15, 1864: “I am always for the man who wishes to work…” Lincoln’s endorsement is believed to be associated with a now-missing recommendation letter addressed to military authorities at a Washington, D.C. cavalry depot. 

Other highlights include:
* a Type 3 Apollo XI insurance cover signed by all three crew members of the first moon-walking NASA mission, Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins, and postmarked July 16, 1969 from the Kennedy Space Center. The Apollo XI mission marked the first time NASA introduced signed insurance covers to protect astronauts’ families against death or injury.

* an autograph letter in German signed by Albert Einstein, dated September 29, 1937, and addressed to fellow physicist Cornelius Lanczos in which he explores the theory of general relativity using elements of tensor calculus and his second most famous formula Rik = 0 relating to vacuums.

* a two-page typed letter signed by Martin Luther King, Jr. on Dexter Avenue Baptist Church stationery dated November 13, 1958 when he was recuperating from an unsuccessful assassination attempt, while simultaneously trying to plan and budget for a 10-day side trip to the Soviet Union in early 1959. His reasons for wanting to go, outlined in this remarkable letter, show how ambitious his plans were.
* a copperplate engraved broadside of the Declaration of Independence drawn by Benjamin Owen Tyler and printed by Peter Maverick, ca. 1818. Tyler’s version is often considered “the first correct copy” of the Declaration of Independence, because previous printed versions featured a different title and omitted the Signers’ names.