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James A. Garfield

Currency:USD Category:Collectibles / Autographs Start Price:NA Estimated At:6,000.00 - 8,000.00 USD
James A. Garfield

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Auction Date:2019 Jun 12 @ 18:00 (UTC-5 : EST/CDT)
Location:15th Floor WeWork, Boston, Massachusetts, 02108, United States
ALS - Autograph Letter Signed
ANS - Autograph Note Signed
AQS - Autograph Quotation Signed
AMQS - Autograph Musical Quotation Signed
DS - Document Signed
FDC - First Day Cover
Inscribed - “Personalized”
ISP - Inscribed Signed Photograph
LS - Letter Signed
SP - Signed Photograph
TLS - Typed Letter Signed
Partly-printed DS as president, one page, 17 x 14, February 18, 1881 [but actually signed between March 4 and July 2, 1881]. President Garfield appoints William J. Bryan as "Postmaster at Brenham, in the County of Washington, State of Texas." Crisply signed at the conclusion by President Garfield and countersigned by Postmaster General Thomas L. James. The gold seal and red ribbon affixed to the lower left remain intact. In very good to fine condition, with toning to the perimeter, and professional repairs to small areas of paper loss along the edges.

The appointee, William Joel Bryan (1852–1882) was born in Brazoria County, Texas. His father, Moses Austin Bryan, was a nephew of Stephen F. Austin and grandson of Moses Austin, who fought at the Battle of San Jacinto and served as a major in the Confederate Army during the Civil War. The Journal of the Executive Proceedings of the Senate records Bryan's nomination for postmaster by President Rutherford B. Hayes on February 11, 1881, and approval by the Senate on February 18. Though this document is dated to two weeks before Garfield's inauguration on March 4, given the time it took for preparation and presentation, it was not an unusual practice for the succeeding president to sign such appointments.

When Garfield took office the Post Office Department was the largest department in the federal government and highly prone to corruption; he quickly made an impact in cleaning up the federal postal service and ridding it of malfeasance. Presidential appointments by Garfield are extremely scarce, as he actively served just four months as president—having taken the office in March 1881, he was shot on July 2 and passed away in September. An exemplary Texas-related Garfield document from his brief term as executive.