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University Archives

Lot 156

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Description: A Sheet from the Ledger of 28-year-old Andrew Johnson’s Tailor Shop, Signed Twice by the Future President!  – the Acct of His 29-year-old Indentured Servant, Alexander Morehead - Among the Earliest Examples Extant! 

Autograph Document Signed “A Johnson” and “A.J.” in text, 1p, 6” x 7.75”. Greeneville, Tennessee, December 30, 1836. Matted with Nathaniel E. Stein Collection identification card. Overall size, 11.75” x 19.25”. Marginal wear and toning, else fine condition.

Headed “December 30, 1836. A Morehead. To A Johnson Dr. [Debit] on settlement this day $3[.]45. Excerpts: “amount paid John Brown for wood 2.00,” “Honey 3 quarts at one dollar per gallon .75” “ pork 120 lbs at 5 Cents 7.20,” “Cash & eggs .62,” “The amount you should have been charged with for John Brown 1.00,” “The amount of A. Morehead on account.) 32.66 Balance due A.J. 1.39…”

Having been apprenticed to a tailor when he was 13, in September 1826, 18-year-old Andrew Johnson procured work from a tailor in Greeneville, Tennessee. When the tailor closed his business six months later, Johnson opened a shop of his own. Quickly becoming involved in politics, he was elected an alderman of Greeneville (1828-1830) and served as Mayor of Greeneville (1834-1838). Elected to the Tennessee House of Representatives, beginning in 1835, Johnson had to frequently travel to the State Capitol in Nashville. According to an 1835 contract of indentured servitude, Alexander Morehead would work in Johnson's Greeneville, Tennessee, tailor shop while Johnson was in Nashville. In the 1850, census, the occupation of 43-year-old A. Morehead is listed as “Tailor.”

From the “Collection of the late Nathaniel E. Stein, former President of the Manuscript Society,” sold at Sotheby’s in 1979. Typed on a 6” x 3.5” card – engraved “Nathaniel E. Stein Collection” is: “Page from Tailor Shop’s Cash Book: “Andrew Johnson kept careful records in his shop. This leaf is taken from journal from December into February 1836 to 1837. A good deal of produce and provisions were taken in trade new garments and much of the repair work.”

This item comes with a Certificate from John Reznikoff, a premier authenticator for both major 3rd party authentication services, PSA and JSA (James Spence Authentications), as well as numerous auction houses.

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August 19, 2020 10:30 AM EDT

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