Great Archive of Signed Letters by William Howard Taft
"Never fear, old man, we are going to fight and, believe me, we are going to win."
WILLIAM HOWARD TAFT, Archive of 13 Typed Letters Signed; 10 signed by Taft; 3 written to Taft, 1891-1926. Several on "The White House" or "Supreme Court of the United States" stationery. One letter attached to backing board with significant toning; others, very good. Ex. The Forbes Collection.
Highlights and Excerpts:
- William H. Taft to John Proctor Clark, March 12, 1891, on "Office of the Solicitor General" stationery. 1 p., 8ʺ x 10ʺ.
"I do not think it will be laid up against you in heaven that you have departed from the truth in your statements, because your motive of disinterested friendship will justify you. I will certainly remember the name of Mr. Blanchard, and he will not suffer at my hands if I am consulted with reference to the appointment, which, however, I think is quite unlikely."
John Proctor Clark (1856-1932) was an attorney and judge in New York. President Taft later appointed him as a U.S. judge in the Philippines.
- William H. Taft to Hamilton Holt, February 18, 1909. 1 p., 5.5ʺ x 8.25ʺ.
"According to my present plans, I shall attend the dinner to Mr. Root on the evening of February 26th. I have not written out anything, and I don’t know that I shall be able to do so. I may have to trust to the inspiration of the moment."
Hamilton Holt (1872-1951) edited and published The Independent in New York from 1897 to 1921. He served as president of Rollins College from 1925 to 1949.
The Peace Society of New York held a dinner in honor of Senator-elect Elihu Root (1845-1937) of New York, and President-elect Taft attended. Root had served as Secretary of War under Presidents William McKinley and Theodore Roosevelt and as Secretary of State under Roosevelt.
- William H. Taft to Albert H. Walker, January 8, 1910. 1 p., 7ʺ x 8.75ʺ.
"The pendency of the Tobacco Trust case in the Supreme Court, and the Standard Oil Trust case, make us slower now, than we expect to be after the Court has disposed of those two all-embracing cases."
- William H. Taft to Gustav Kustermann, May 17, 1910. 1 p., 7ʺ x 8.75ʺ.
"I am very anxious to get through a satisfactory postal savings bank bill, and in order to reach one based on sound economic principles I have asked Mr. Weeks to confer with Assistant Secretary of the Treasury Norton, who is an expert on this subject. It would gratify me very much if you would attend a conference which I have suggested to Mr. Norton that he call of certain confreres of yours in the Wisconsin delegation. I feel sure that he can convince you of the wisdom of the bill as it has now been agreed upon by the committee and will soon be reported. I look forward to the future gratitude of the country toward the Congress which will have enacted such a bill."
Gustav Kustermann (1850-1919) was a German immigrant who served as a Republican U.S. Representative from Wisconsin from 1907 to 1911.
President Taft signed into law a United States Postal Savings System as a short-term savings program that operated through post offices from 1911 to 1967.
- William H. Taft to J. Louis van Zelm, November 1, 1910. 1 p., 7ʺ x 8.75ʺ.
"I have three times publicly advocated as strongly as possible the election of Mr. Stimson, and have done so much that Mr. Root, Mr. Griscom, and Mr. Prentice think there is no need to add to what I have said."
Henry L. Stimson (1867-1950) was a graduate of Harvard Law School and served as U.S. Attorney under President Theodore Roosevelt. In 1910, he lost the New York gubernatorial election to John A. Dix. He served as Secretary of War under President Taft from 1911 to 1913 and again under President Franklin D. Roosevelt from 1940 to 1945.
- William H. "Bill" Taft to Clarence H. Kelsey, June 4, 1912. 1 p., 7ʺ x 8.75ʺ; together with two letters by Taft's private secretary Charles D. Hilles to Kelsey, June 27, 1911, May 12, 1912.
"I have your note with enclosed clipping from Harper’s Weekly. Never fear, old man, we are going to fight and, believe me, we are going to win."
Clarence H. Kelsey (1856-1930) was a close friend and Yale classmate of William H. Taft. He helped found the Title Guarantee & Trust Company of New York in 1882 and served as its president from 1892 to 1923.
After selecting Taft as his successor, former President Theodore Roosevelt split with his protege and challenged him for the Republican nomination in 1912. The Republican National Convention convened in Chicago from June 18 to 22, and Roosevelt contested the credentials of many of the delegates. On narrow votes, the convention voted to seat Taft delegations from three key states, and Roosevelt’s supporters left the convention, leaving Taft's delegates to renominate him, as Taft promised his old friend in this letter two weeks before the convention.
Roosevelt went on to form and lead the Progressive Party. In the general election, Roosevelt outpolled Taft in the popular and electoral votes, divided the Republicans, and allowed Democratic nominee Woodrow Wilson to win the Presidency.
- William H. Taft to Little, Brown & Company, May 21, 1916. 1 p., 7ʺ x 9.25ʺ.
"thank you for your courtesy in sending me a copy of Doctor George Van Ness Dearborn's book entitled 'The Influence of Joy'. Whenever opportunity offers, I shall read it with much interest."
- William H. Taft to James H. Vahey, March 18, 1919. Marked "Personal" by Taft. 1 p., 8ʺ x 14.5ʺ.
"I received your telegram yesterday afternoon, and was delighted to learn that the strike on the public service property of Northern New Jersey was to be ended this morning. I am sure we owe a great deal of this result to you, and I wish to testify generally to your very great aid in furthering the usefulness and jurisdiction of this Board. I want to say that through your efforts and those of Mr. Mahon, much has been done to keep industrial peace in this country While the results of our raising wages to a fair and living standard for street railway men has added to the burdens of the public service corporations in this country and contributed doubtless to the coming of bankruptcy which stares many of them in the face, it does not in the slightest degree reflect upon the fairness of the increases which we gave. The truth is that the street railways of this country have been on an improper financial basis. There was much watering of stock in the beginning. There were many extensions which must have been unprofitable except for those who owned property in the suburbs, and there was a fixed income due to the rigid 5-cent fare or less, all of which made inevitable the serious impairment of the capital invested. When to these was added the enormous increases in the cost of operation, due to the high price of material and coal and other supplies, it is difficult to assign to the fixing of a fair rate of wages the sole cause for the present unfavorable condition of public utility properties. The truth is the men on the street railways, in my judgment, were under-paid because of the rigidity in their income which made the employers most uncompromising in their refusal to raise wages to a proper standard."
James H. Vahey (1871-1929) was three times candidate for governor of Massachusetts. From 1912 until his death, he served as an attorney for the Boston Street Carmen’s Union, and he also served as general counsel for the Amalgamated Association of Street and Electric Railway Employees of America.
During World War I, Taft served as co-chairman of the National War Labor Board, which was tasked with ensuring good relations between industry owners and workers.
- William H. Taft to Robert A. Taft, May 19, 1925. 2 pp., 5.75ʺ x 7.75ʺ.
"This will introduce to you Mr. Arthur Hale, of Washington. He is the son of Edward Everett Hale, our Unitarian saint, a gentleman whom I knew quite well in Washington when he was Chaplain of the Senate, a place that he held near the end of his useful life. Mr. Arthur Hale has been on the staff of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad and of the Pennsylvania Railroad, and has been active in a number of railroad associations in the field of interstate commerce practice. He is now interested in a trade-mark case for the Logan County Coal Corporation of Cincinnati. He says that you have been brought into the case and that he would like to have you know who he is. I have great pleasure in giving him this letter of introduction to you and to say that he is in every way entitled to your esteem and confidence. Your loving father,"
Robert A. Taft (1889-1953) was the older son of William H. Taft and graduated from Harvard Law School in 1913. He served in the Ohio Hose of Representatives (1921-1931), the Ohio Senate (1931-1933), and the U.S. Senate (1939-1953). He sought the Republican presidential nomination in 1940, 1948, and 1952.
- William H. Taft to I. M. Meekins, June 2, 1926. 1 p., 8ʺ x 10.5ʺ; together with Meekins to Taft, May 31, 1926.
"I suppose that Walsh is trying to rehabilitate himself, because he has been pretty badly hammered in all the Bar Association meetings for his obstruction to this bill, which is a progressive bill, and really would make for better procedure, I think."
"I noted that some discouraged employee had attempted to have you impeached, and that the committee turned it down without ceremony. That is what happens from any impeachment trial as here the impeachment of English which is probably deserved. It has something in it that nerves everybody who is an enemy of a Judge to attempt to make himself a nuisance by attacking the Judge. I am glad that you have not been greatly worried about it."
Isaac Melson Meekins (1875-1946) served as judge of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina from 1924 to 1945.
William Howard Taft (1857-1930) was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, and graduated from Yale College in 1878. He received a bachelor of laws degree in 1880 from Cincinnati Law School. After gaining admission to the bar, Taft worked on the Cincinnati Commercial newspaper full time, covering local courts. After a brief stint as an assistant prosecutor, Taft was appointed to the Superior Court of Cincinnati in 1887. In 1890, President Benjamin Harrison appointed him as Solicitor General of the United States, a position he held until Harrison appointed him to the United States Court of Appeals, where he served from 1892 to 1900. He was Governor-General of the Philippines from 1901 to 1903, then Secretary of War under President Theodore Roosevelt from 1904 to 1908. In 1908, he was elected President of the United States as a Republican over Democrat William Jennings Bryan. After his defeat in the three-way election of 1912, Taft joined the faculty of the Yale Law School, until President Warren G. Harding appointed him as Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court in 1921, a position he held until his death nine years later.
Ex. The Forbes Collection. Malcolm Forbes (1919-1990), American owner-publisher of Forbes magazine, and consummate collector, amassed one of the most substantial and broad collections of such breadth and depth that it filled a half-dozen residences, and sat on three continents. Many of his manuscripts were sold in multi-million-dollar sales by Christie's in the early 2000s. The Forbes name is considered to be the apex of provenance when attached to an item like the one above. We are honored to have been chosen by the family to sell at auction the substantial balance of the collection.
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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