View full screen - View 1 of Lot 24. JAMES A. GARFIELD | A warm letter, written and signed by President Garfield in office, thanking George Bancroft for roses sent to the First Lady.
24

JAMES A. GARFIELD | A warm letter, written and signed by President Garfield in office, thanking George Bancroft for roses sent to the First Lady

Estimate:

8,000 - 12,000 USD

JAMES A. GARFIELD | A warm letter, written and signed by President Garfield in office, thanking George Bancroft for roses sent to the First Lady

JAMES A. GARFIELD | A warm letter, written and signed by President Garfield in office, thanking George Bancroft for roses sent to the First Lady

Estimate:

8,000 - 12,000 USD

Lot sold:

17,640

USD

JAMES A. GARFIELD

AUTOGRAPH LETTER SIGNED ("JA GARFIELD") AS 20TH PRESIDENT, TO GEORGE BANCROFT, THANKING HIM FOR A GIFT


1 1/2 pages (4 1/2 x 6 7/8 in.; 114 x 175 mm) on a single leaf of folded Executive Mansion stationery, Washington, 29 May 1881; old folds, minor soiling. With engraved portrait of Garfield.


In this warm letter to the Honorable George Bancroft, the prominent historian and statesman, President Garfield offers his gratitude as well as the First Lady's: "Mrs. Garfield asks me to thank you for her, for the beautiful box of roses you were so kind as to send her—"


Born in 1800 in Worcester, Massachusetts, Bancroft graduated with honors from Harvard in 1817, and remained at the school another year for divinity studies. By 1818, Bancroft was in Europe studying theology and philosophy at Gottingen University. He also studied at the University of Berlin, where he counted Georg F. Hegel and Alexander von Humboldt among his peers. In 1822, Bancroft returned to the United States, for a period served as a tutor of Greek at Harvard. After a brief stint as a clergyman, Bancroft devoted his attention to writing and opening the Round Hill School at Northampton, Massachusetts, where he taught for eight years. Bancroft would remain a prominent supporter of secondary education. And by 1834, he had published the first volume of what would become the ten-volume History of the United States.


During the forty years Bancroft devoted to his literary project, he also pursued Democratic politics. At the request of President Martin Van Buren, he became collector of the Port of Boston in 1838. In 1841, President James K. Polk tapped Bancroft to become his Secretary of the Navy. As Secretary, Bancroft established the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis. Following this, Bancroft became the U.S. minister to Great Britain (1846-1849), and also served as minister to Prussia (1867-1871) and minister to the German Empire (1871-1874). When the Civil War broke out, Bancroft, due to his stance on slavery, switched his party loyalty and became a Republican.


By 1874, Bancroft had completed the final volume of his epic History of the United States, an achievement that secured his place among the greatest of U.S. historians.


Given the brevity of Garfield's presidency—a mere six and a half months—letters written by him while in office are very rare on the market.