Lot 148

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Woodrow Wilson Superb ALS & TLS on WH Stationery During WWI "without endangering the essential interests of the country." Incredibly Scarce.

ALS, 1p, measuring 5" x 8", dated September 5, 1917. Boldly signed by Woodrow Wilson as "Woodrow Wilson" and addressed to Edward N. Hurley, the former chairman of the Federal Trade Commission. ALS' by Wilson, as President are amongst the rarest when collecting 20th century Presidents. Condition is very good with two hole punches, expected flattened folds, possible evidence of mounting on verso, and one stray pencil mark slightly affecting the signature.

TLS, 1p, measuring 7" x 9", dated September 7, 1918, just two days after the ALS, also included in this lot. Boldly signed by Woodrow Wilson as "Woodrow Wilson" and addressed to Edward N. Hurley, the former chairman of the Federal Trade Commission. Condition is very good with expected flattened folds and some felting to the signature.

Wilson writes in the ALS:

"I hurry this over to you because I am sure you will wish to act at once on its suggestion. Mr. McRees[?] is one of the leading men of his State.

Woodrow Wilson"

The TLS reads:

My dear Hurley,

"I have your letter of the 6th about communicating plans and specifications for steel, wooden, and concrete ships to the governments of the countries with which we are associated.

I would wish to be guided by your own judgment in a matter of this sort, but I think that as a general principle it is wise to be as generous and liberal as we can be without endangering the essential interests of the country, and I should assume that it was safe and right to let friendly cooperating governments have these plans and specifications when they ask for them.

Cordially and faithfully yours,

Woodrow Wilson"

Just 5 months before this letter was written President Wilson asked Congress to send U.S. troops into battle against Germany in World War I. One month later, Wilson would sign The Selective Service Act which required men between 21 and 35 years of age to register for the draft increasing the size of the army from 200,000 troops to 4 million by the end of the war. 

We believe there is an important tie to both letters written just days apart regarding the "essential interests of the country" during the first few months that the United States was participating in WWI.. The ALS was sent by Wilson, who was clearly in a "hurry", as he rarely hand-wrote letters as President and demanded Hurley "to act at once on its suggestion" just days before Wilson sent ships to allies in the first World War. 

Edward Nash Hurley was an Irish American businessman and inventor who served as the second chairman of the Federal Trade Commission from July 1, 1916 to January 31, 1917.

University Archives sold a Wilson ALS as President in 2021 for $13,750. Prior to that, the only sales for White House ALS' that we found were at Christie's in 2005 for $20,000 and in 2006 for $16,000.

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 17, 2022 10:30 AM EDT
Wilton, CT, US

University Archives

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$2,000 $2,999 $200
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$20,000 $49,999 $2,500
$50,000 + $5,000