Manuscript Letter Salutation and Signature to Willard Hall; Includes a Print Signed by Alfred Rosenthal
5.25" x 1.75", signed in ink on clipped letter. Strong clear, light fade at corners, attractively matted beneath an etching of Taney signed in pencil by the artist Alfred Rosenthal
Roger Brooke Taney, a graduate of Dickinson College, might well be the most controversial Supreme Court justice in American history. Taney served as Chief Justice of the United States for nearly thirty years, from 1835 to 1864. But this was a period of bitter sectional controversy over slavery, and Taney’s pro-slavery decisions have since seriously tarnished his reputation. Originally from Maryland, Taney had been a slaveholder until he emancipated his own slaves in 1818. But the Border State judge considered himself a nationalist above all else, and angrily blamed abolitionists for ripping the country apart. So he thought he could save the union with the Dred Scott case of 1857, by rendering a sweeping pro-slavery verdict. The reaction, however, was the opposite of what Taney had expected. By 1860, his ruling against the Scott family had helped elect Abraham Lincoln, an anti-slavery Republican, as president. The aging chief justice then battled fiercely against the aggressive new commander in chief over war powers and other issues. Taney finally died at age 87, in the final months of a bloody Civil War that he had in several ways helped to ignite. (Dickinson College)
Willard Hall (1780 – 1875), was a Delaware attorney and politician from Wilmington DE. He was a member of the Democratic-Republican Party, who served in the Delaware Senate, as a United States representative from Delaware and as a United States district judge of the U.S District Court of Delaware. He served as the first President of the Delaware Historical Society, was President of the state Bible society, and was instrumental in the formation of the Wilmington Savings Fund Society as a community bank, serving as its President for more than 40 years.
Albert Rosenthal (January 30, 1863 – December 20, 1939) was an American portrait artist, printmaker, writer, and collector from Philadelphia. Rosenthal was known for his portraits of Supreme Court of Pennsylvania and U.S. Supreme Court justices, Attorneys General of the United States and his collection of American drawings. He painted the members of the Constitutional Convention of 1787. He also copied original portraits of Americans and French in the American Revolution and the Colonial Governors of Philadelphia. Fine. Item #3094
"I am Dear Sir yours truly / R. B. Taney / Hon. Willard Hall / Wilmington Delaware"