• Staunch New England Abolitionist John Greenleaf Whittier Sends Two Signatures, Humorous Sentiment

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    JOHN GREENLEAF WHITTIER (December 17, 1807-September 7, 1892) was an American Quaker poet and staunch abolitionist.

    Whittier became interested in politics in the 1830s and ran for Congress at twenty-five. He lost the race and had a nervous breakdown. In 1833, he began corresponding again with abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison, who encouraged Whittier to join the cause. Whittier then published the antislavery pamphlet Justice and Expediency and for the next twenty years was an avid supporter of the abolitionist cause. Nearly all his poems dealt with the problem of slavery. Whittier and Garrison split over Whittier’s belief that success required legislative action, not merely moral persuasion. He went on to become a founding member of the Liberal Party in 1839. Whittier also began editing several Massachusetts’ newspapers.

    Offering a one-page, 5 x 8, ALS, Amesbury [MA], October 4, 1890, with interesting self-deprecating humor. “My friends I send you my autograph as requested, although I cannot see what use can be made in Wall St. of the signature of yr friend John G. Whittier.

    [PS] “On receiving your note I [send]…a duplicate—Why not hold it in common? One half of nothing is as good as the whole of it.  J.G.W.”

    Unusual to find Whittier letters with two signatures.

    Letter has toning, folds and some staining at the top, not touching the writing, from previous tipping to another sheet, possibly an autograph book.

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