University Archives

Lot 108

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John C. Fremont Small Archive Including War-Dated ALS 5 Days before Lincoln Appointed him Major General

A small archive related to Civil War commander John C. Fremont (1813-1890), comprised of an autograph letter signed, a presidential campaign ribbon, and a period print.

The lot consists of:

1. 1p autograph letter signed by Fremont as "J.C. Fremont" at lower right. Written in Morley, in northeastern France, on May 10, 1861. In this letter addressed to British Board of Trade official J.G. Fanshawe, Fremont wrote in part: "I go…to Paris to night, to return I think on Monday. Immediately on my return I will see you at Whitehall, and arrange to see Mr. Ripley…" Fremont was in Europe courting investors for his Rancho Las Mariposas estate in central California. Just five days after Fremont wrote this letter, President Lincoln appointed him Major General of the Union Army, and by July 1st, Fremont was promoted to Commander of the Department of the West. Fremont's short-lived tenure as department commander would prove disastrous.

2. A presidential campaign ribbon, ca. 1856, depicting Fremont in his most iconic role as the "Pathfinder". The pale pink silk ribbon is headlined "Fremont & Dayton" at top, and bears the campaign slogan "Free Soil, Free Speech, Free Press, Fremont" at bottom. Scattered threads and pin holes, else near fine. 6.25". Fremont ran as the first presidential candidate of the recently minted Republican Party, along with vice presidential candidate William L. Dayton, in 1856. Fremont was ultimately defeated by 15th U.S. President and Democratic candidate James Buchanan.

3. A period print of Fremont showing his portrait inset above a vignette entitled "Encampment in the Sacramento Valley." Facsimile signature at bottom. Isolated foxing. Minor water stains and mounting traces verso. 5.5" x 8.625". Dubbed the “Pathfinder” for his territorial expeditions out West, Fremont would make an indelible mark on the American political system, military, and society. The fiery Mexican War veteran, onetime presidential candidate, Civil War commander, and territorial official had an unpredictable temperament which frequently led him into trouble. He was certainly one of the most charismatic of American legends!

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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