Lot 319

Previous image preload Next image preload

Description:

Samuel Morse
New York, NY, November 11, 1861
Samuel Morse ALS Defending His Invention of the Telegraph
ALS
A remarkable autograph letter signed by Samuel Morse on the invention of the telegraph. 1p lined paper, measuring 5" x 8", New York, dated November 11, 1861. Signed "Sam F.B. Morse" and addressed to A.J. Goodman, Esq. Morse discusses his legal troubles in attempting to prove primacy in the invention of the telegraph. The letter has been inlaid to a backing sheet, matted and framed along with an engraving of Morse to the overall size of 18" x 15.5". Near fine, boldly signed.

Morse's letter in full:
"A letter dated Oct 18th from you has just reached me inquiring if I lay claim to the first operator in Telegraphs, and when the first line was used. Presuming you mean the Elector magnetic recording Telegraphy I reply that being the inventor of it, I must of necessity be the first operator. The first line constructed between two commercial points was the experimental line, ordered by the Government in 1843 and completed in May 1844 between Washington and Baltimore. An experimental line of short circuits was operated by me in New York as early as the autumn of 1835."

The idea for the telegraph was born from Samuel Morse's own grief; while he was in Washington to paint a portrait of the Marquis de Lafayette, he received a letter from his father that informed him that his wife, Lucretia, had fallen gravely ill after the birth of their third child. Morse immediately packed up his paint and headed home to New Haven, but by the time he made it home, he was too late—Lucretia had died, and, in fact, had already been buried for several days. "You cannot know the depth of the wound that was inflicted when I was deprived of your dear mother, nor in how many ways that wound has been kept open" After his wife's death, Morse vowed to figure out a way to deliver life-or-death messages in a timely manner.

It is also easy to understand Morse's frustration at being questioned about the legitimacy of his invention; he had developed the telegraph and had been operating it for 25 years but was still being asked if he considered himself to be the true inventor. In fact, the invention of the telegraph had run concurrently with the very early period of Patent Law designed to protect intellectual property rights. In 1842 Morse had strung "wires between two committee rooms in the Capitol, and sent messages back and forth" demonstrating his telegraph system. History was further made in 1844 when Morse telegraphed a Bible quote from Washington, D.C., to Baltimore: "What hath God wrought?" This climatic moment was, unfortunately, followed by non-stop lawsuits. The first patent battle Morse was involved with revolved around whether or not he was the actual inventor of the telegraph. Morse swore to the originality of his invention, but the burden of proof fell on Morse as he did not apply for an American patent in a timely manner. Therefore he had to rely on the testimony of various colleagues and friends to determine when Morse had a working model of his telegraph (which was determined to be around 1835). The following series of lawsuits set the pace for Patent law which continues today. As a result, Samuel Morse is not just known for his invention of the telegraph but also known to have set the precedent for all future patent litigation!

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.

WE PROVIDE IN-HOUSE SHIPPING WORLDWIDE!

    Dimensions:
  • Letter 5 x 8 in. (12.7 x 20.3 cm.), Frame: 18 x 15 1/2 in. (45.7 x 39.4 cm.)
  • Artist Name:
  • Samuel Morse
  • Medium:
  • ALS

Accepted Forms of Payment:

ACH, American Express, Discover, MasterCard, Money Order / Cashiers Check, Paypal, Personal Check, Visa, Wire Transfer

Shipping

Unless otherwise indicated, we do our own in-house worldwide shipping!

Applicable shipping and handling charges will be added to the invoice. We offer several shipping options, and remain one of the few auction houses who proudly provides professional in-house shipping as an option to our clients. All items will ship with signature required, and full insurance. Most items are sent via Federal Express, with P. O. Box addresses being sent through USPS. We insure through Berkley Asset Protection with rates of $.70 per $100 of value, among the lowest insurance rates in the industry. Our shipping department cameras document every package, both outgoing and incoming, for maximum security. In addition, we compare our shipping and handling rates against those of other auction houses, to ensure that our charges are among the lowest in the trade.

Upon winning your item(s), you will receive an invoice with our in-house shipping and handling fees included. ***We will ship to the address as it appears on your invoice. If any changes to the shipping address need to be made, you must inform us immediately.***

International shipments: In order to comply with our insurance provider, all international shipments will be sent via Fed Ex and customs paperwork will show a value of $1.00. International buyers should contact our office directly with any questions regarding this policy.

Third Party Shipping Option: If a third party shipper is preferred, the buyer is responsible for contacting them directly to make shipping arrangements. For your convenience, we have provided some recommended shippers. For your protection, we will require a signed release from you, confirming your authorization for us to release your lots to your specified third party Please copy and paste this following link into your browser: http://universityarchives.com/UserFiles/ShippingInfo.pdf. At that point, our responsibility and insurance coverage for your item(s) ceases. Items picked up by third party shippers are required to pay Connecticut sales tax. Items requiring third party shipping due to being oversized, fragile or bulky will be denoted in the item description.

Please see our full terms and conditions for names of suggested third party shippers.

After payment has been made in full, University Archives will ship your purchase within 10 business days following receipt of full payment for item.

Please remember that the buyer is responsible for all shipping costs from University Archives' offices in Wilton, CT to the buyer's door. Please see full Terms and Conditions of Sale.

April 10, 2024 10:30 AM EDT
Wilton, CT, US

University Archives

You agree to pay a buyer's premium of up to 25% and any applicable taxes and shipping.

View full terms and conditions

Bid Increments
From: To: Increments:
$0 $99 $10
$100 $299 $20
$300 $499 $25
$500 $999 $50
$1,000 $1,999 $100
$2,000 $2,999 $200
$3,000 $4,999 $250
$5,000 $9,999 $500
$10,000 $19,999 $1,000
$20,000 $49,999 $2,500
$50,000 + $5,000