5 Relics from an Unrivaled Collection of Political Memorabilia
Considered by peers to be a preeminent collector of political memorabilia, Daniel C. Schofield collected artifacts of American history including rare pamphlets, ballots, songbooks, and more. As his collection grew, Schofield loaned pieces to libraries and historical associations. He also used his objects to liven up the lessons in his classroom, where he taught middle school history for 37 years.
Mr. Schofield’s affinity for U.S. history and politics began when he was just 14 years of age, after he announced that he wanted to work on Dwight D. Eisenhower’s presidential campaign. To friends and family he was a passionate collector, but few ever knew how vast his collection truly was.
“So many items in the collection are incredibly rare and the only other copies that exist are in the Library of Congress,” said Joshua Eldred, President of Eldred’s. “It’s been an honor – and quite the history lesson – to handle these items. Dan spent nearly his whole life collecting, and the depth and breadth of material he acquired is exceptional.”
Below are just five of the many examples of history living in Mr. Schofield’s collection – which will be offered in a sale comprised of over 500 lots – at Eldred’s on October 18th.
The Reynolds Pamphlet
When it was originally published in 1797, the Reynolds Pamphlet exposed one of the United States’ first political scandals. Written by Alexander Hamilton himself, the 98-page document refuted claims that Hamilton was illegally using government funds by admitting that he was having an extramarital affair.
Given Hamilton’s notoriously loquacious tendencies, the full title of this work is lengthy: “Observations on Certain Documents in No. V & VI of ‘The History of the United States for the Year 1796,’ in Which the Charge of Speculation Against Alexander Hamilton, Late Secretary of the Treasury, Is Fully Refuted. Written by Himself.”
Satirical Abraham Lincoln Business Card
Abraham Lincoln first ran for office in 1832, became a lawyer in Springfield in 1837, and was elected to the Illinois House of Representatives in 1838. This business card, dated mid-19th century, was likely issued by Lincoln’s opponents after he was nominated by the Republican party for re-election in the Presidential race of 1864.
The phrases “crossing the stream” and “swap horses” used on this card originated from a speech that Lincoln gave following his nomination. He said, “But I do not allow myself to suppose that either the convention or the League have concluded to decide that I am either the greatest or best man in America, but rather they have concluded that it is not best to swap horses while crossing the river, and have further concluded that I am not so poor a horse that they might not make a botch of it in trying to swap.”
Three Dorr Rebellion Protest Ribbons
According to his family, Schofield had a strong connection to Rhode Island, where he was born and spent most of his life. Of particular interest to the collector was the little-known but fascinating Dorr Rebellion, an attempt by the middle class of Rhode Island to force broader democracy in the state.
According to Eldred’s, “although the Rebellion dissolved and Dorr was imprisoned for many years, the issues of suffrage and constitutional reform continued to play a key role in Rhode Island politics, as well as on the national stage. Interestingly, when President Lincoln suspended habeas corpus during the Civil War, part of his legal justification was based on President Tyler’s declaration of martial law during the Dorr Rebellion.”
Anti-Jackson Political Cartoon, Election of 1828
The 1828 presidential election proves that mudslinging is not a recent development in U.S. politics. Ultimately Andrew Jackson defeated John Quincy Adams in a landslide, but not before both sides conducted numerous personal attacks on their opponent. Despite the gossipy nature of many claims, this anti-Jackson cartoon references a very real charge: that Jackson ordered the execution of six militiamen during the Creek War.
National Equal Rights Party Electoral Ticket
This rare New York ballot lists female candidates for President and Vice President, forty years before women received the right to vote. Bella A. Lockwood, listed here as the candidate for President, was the second woman to run for the office and the first woman to argue a case before the Supreme Court.