Lot 16: Presidents and Notables - Pair of early leather-bound subscription ledgers for Portraits of the Presidents
8th March 2017
Pair of early leather-bound subscription ledgers for "Portraits of the Presidents," each 4.25 x 6.75, used by publisher Charles A. Wakefield to record the names of over 3,000 subscribers who ordered copies of his 1842 steel engraving of presidential portraits. Signatures appear on the left side of each page, with the signer adding either the number of orders or the status of the order, "paid," on the right, with the majority of the names in both books divided up by state and town of residence. The first book contains the most notable subscribers, including: Andrew Jackson (who adds "presented to me at the Hermitage this 13th day of March 1844"), John Quincy Adams, James K. Polk, James Buchanan, Robert M. Johnson, Charles Dickens, William Cullen Bryant, William H. Seward, Daniel Webster, Lewis Cass, Levi Woodbury, Thaddeus Stevens, and many others. A secretarial John Tyler signature is on page one of the first book, which also bears numerous affixed newspaper clippings advertising the engraving. In very good to fine condition, with overall general handling wear, toning and soiling to many of the pages, and old tape along some page edges. In 1842, Boston publisher Charles A. Wakefield published a steel engraving containing the portraits of all presidents from George Washington to John Tyler (who was the current president at the time), titled 'Portraits of the Presidents.' Designed by C. H. H. Billings and engraved by Denison Kimberly, the print was offered in two formats by the publisher: a 'common impression' costing fifty cents and 'proofs on India paper' costing one dollar. Wakefield had previously produced in 1841 a popular memorial engraving of recently passed President William Henry Harrison, which was engraved by Kimberly and Oliver Pelton from a painting by Albert Gallatin Hoit. A rare and fascinating subscription inventory signed by many of America's earliest and greatest leaders.
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