The Collection of Charlton E. Meyer, Jr. and Gloria B. Meyer

     Charlton E. Meyer Jr. began his collection of historic signatures with a gift from his grandfather, Henry Rabe. In 1919, due to World War I shortages, Mr. Rabe donated a pair of binoculars to the U.S. Navy. In appreciation for this, the Assistant Secretary of the Navy, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, mailed a signed thank you letter and a check for one dollar to Mr. Rabe. Instead of cashing the check, he gave it and the letter to his grandson, telling him the autograph would someday be more valuable than the check. When Roosevelt won the 1932 Presidential election, Mr. Rabe’s prediction proved true. This gift sparked an interest in historic autographs which Charlton E. Meyer Jr. never lost. As a financier with a scholarly interest in American history, Meyer focused his collection on documents relating to American patriots – Presidents, generals, statesmen and bankers.

     In 2007, Gloria B. Meyer loaned her late husband’s extensive collection to the Louisiana State Exhibit Museum. Still on display, this exhibit consists of fifty-four letters, certificates, and official documents bearing historically significant signatures. Among others, the signatures of former presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and John Adams, explorer Daniel Boone, and Louisiana’s first statehood governor, William C.C. Claiborne are on display.

Autographing History Transcripts

John Adams,
President of the United States of America
To all who shall see these presents, GREETING:

BE IT KNOWN, That leave and permission are hereby given to Peter Bingham master or commander of the Brig called Anna of the burthen of 134 80/95 tons or thereabouts, lying at present in the port of Wilmington bound for Saquira and laden with Sundries as per Manifest to depart and proceed with his said Brig on his said voyage, such Brig having been visited, and the said Peter Bingham having made oath before proper officer, that the said Brig belongs to one or more citizens of the United States of America, and to him or them only.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have subscribed my name to these Presents, and affixed the Seal of the United States of American thereto, and caused the same to be countersigned by Allen M. Lane Cole at Wilmington the Seventh day of September in the Year of our Lord Christ, one thousand and seven hundred and ninety eight

John Adams
By the President

Timothy Pickering
Secretary of State

By His Excellency

Governor and Commander in Chief in and over the Commonwealth of MASSACHUSETTS

To Amos Surner Esq. Greeting.  You being appointed Lieutenant Colonel of the Second Regiment of Militia in the County of Plymouth whereof William Turner Esquire is Colonel.

By Virtue of the Power vested in me, I do by these Presents, (reposing Special Trust and Confidence in your Loyalty, Courage and good Conduct) Commission you accordingly. — You are therefore carefully and diligently to discharge the Duty of a Lieut. Colonel in leading, order and exercising said Regiment in Arms, both Inferior Officers and Soldiers; and to keep them in good Order and Discipline:  And they are hereby commanded to obey you as their Lieut. Colonel and you are yourself to observe and follow such Orders and Instructions as shall from Time to Time receive from me or your Superior Officers.

GIVEN under my Hand, and the Seal of the said Commonwealth, the first Day of July in the Year of our LORD 1781 in the Fifth Year of the Independence of the United States of America

John Hancock

By His Excellency’s Command, John Avery Secy

The swirls midway through this form were likely added to prevent any later readers of the document from altering it’s message by writing in new information.

In Council Philadelphia April 6th 1787


Pay to John Dunlap or order the sum of ninety one Pounds sixteen shillings and three pence amount of his account for news papers furnished, and printing work done for Council between the 16th of April 1778 and 31st December 1779 according to the Comptroller General’s Report.

B. Franklin

To David Rittenhouse Esq.

Did you know? John Dunlap was the publisher who printed the Declaration of Independence

Mount Vernon 28th Apl 1799

Dear Sir,

Since my last I have received the deeds which you sent me by Captn. Hand after several fruitless enquiries after them.  There was a manufacturing of Machines for raking meadows, and Harvest fields after they are cut, at Kensington while I resided in Philadelphia_ These are worked by a horse, and were, in my opinion useful impliments on a farm, for expeditions by gleaning the field of the scattered grains, or Hay. I would (if one to be had) thank you for sending me one by the first vessel bound to Alexandria.

What would well cured Shad and Herrines Sell for by the Barrel in the Philadelphia Market? I have put up some this season, and if the price would encourage it, would send you a few barrels of each to sell on Commission. _ Be so good as to inform me what price Wheat & Flour bear in your market I am Dear Sir,

Your Obedient Humble Servant
G. Washington

Cor. Clem Biddle

Elijah Howard Esquire
New York
Department of State
January 16. 1818


Your letter of the 12th has been duly received at this office. Agreeably to your request, I have written to Mr. Bush, recommending the care which carries you to England to his attention, in the event of an official interposition on his part being deemed proper and necessary, and my letter, marked No.1 is enclosed. Another dispatch for Mr. Bush is also enclosed, which, together with the Packet of News Papers, herewith likewise sent, you will please commit to the care of the American Counsel at Liverpool, upon your arrival at that place.

I am, respectfully, Sir,
Your obedient serv.
John Quincy Adams

William Charles Cole Claiborne, Governor of the Territory of Orleans, and Commander in Chief of the Militia thereof, to all who shall these presents, Greeting

Know Ye, That reposing special trust and confidence in the Patriotism, Valor, Fidelity and Ability of David B Morgan I do hereby appoint him Captain in the 9th Regt. of Militia, of the Territory of Orleans, and do authorize and empower him to execute the duties of Captain According to law, and the rules and discipline of war; and to have and to hold the rank and command of Captain with all the privileges thereto of right appertaining, during the pleasure of the Governor for the time being.

Given under my hand, and the seal of the territory, at the city of New Orleans, on the 27th day of November in the year of our Lord, one thousand, eight hundred and five and in the Thirtieth year of American Independence.

William C. C. Claiborne

By the Governor, R. Claiborne Secretary. Protem.

Did you know? By the time of the Battle of New Orleans, David Morgan had been promoted to Brigadier General in the militia. While Andrew Jackson commanded the American troops on the East Bank, Morgan commanded the West bank.

May 19th 1820


W. Stewart Cowan a young gentleman of this place is desirous to enter the army.  From my factual acquaintance with him, I believe him worthy of any subordinate appointment you may think proper to confer and no hesitancy in recommending him to your notice.

Enclosed I send you other recommendations from Gentlemen with whose character you are acquainted.  I have the Honor to be, very resp. yr. hmb. ser.

Andrew Jackson


JC Calhoun
Sec. of War

The unintelligible closing is a serious of abbreviations for “very respectfully your humble servant”

Know ye, That reposing special trust and confidence in the patriotism, valor, fidelity, and abilities of Samuel A. Russell, I have nominated and by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, do appoint him Second Lieutenant in the Seventh Regiment of Infantry in the service of the United States: to rank as such from the Fifth day of August eighteen hundred and Sixty-one. He is therefore carefully and diligently to discharge the duty of Second Lieutenant by doing and performing all manner of things, thereunto belonging.

And I do, strictly charge and require all Officers and Soldiers under his command to be obedient to his orders as Second Lieutenant And he is to observe and follow such orders and directions, from time to time as he shall receive from me, or the future President of the United States of American, or the General, or other superior Officers set over him, according to the rules and discipline of War. This Commission to continue in force during the pleasure of the President of the United States, for the time being, GIVEN under my hand at the City of Washington this Sixth day of August in the year of our Lord, one thousand eight hundred and Sixty-one and in the Eighty-sixth year of the Independence of the United States.

By the President
Abraham Lincoln

Simon Cameron
Secretary of War

The above cotton was taken by my Order for Military purposes barricading steamers for running the Vicksburg batteries and is now in Govt. possession at New Carthage, La.

U.S. Grant
Mag. Gen.