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Lot 95: Exceedingly Rare MARTHA WASHINGTON Clipped Signature First U.S. First Lady + Lot
29 October 2016
Rancho Santa Fe, CA, USALive Auction
Exceedingly Rare Martha Washington Clipped Signature the First "First Lady" of the United States & Wife of George
MARTHA WASHINGTON (1731-1802). Wife of President George Washington, the First "First Lady" of the United States.
Exceedingly Rare Small Clipped Signature, Signed, "M Washington" on period laid paper, Clip removed from what appears to be a letter from Mrs. Washington, measures 2.5" x .5", Choice Very Fine. The "M Washington" signature is very clear in nice medium brown ink on clean paper which displays her extremely rare signature very nicely. This lot also includes an accompanying Autograph Statement of Pedigree Signed, "E. M. Lewis" (by Martha Washington's great granddaughter), plus Four (4) period Linen Handkerchiefs. This important original statement reads, in full:
"1852 -- Autographs of / Mrs. Martha Washington / for / G. Washington Lewis 1852 / his Great Great Grand Mother / & left by his Grand Mother / E. P. Lewis." - (To its left:) "written by his / Mother E M Lewis." On verso; "For G.W. Lewis / Autographs of / Mrs. M. Washington / his / Gt Gt Grand Mother".
This historic lot also Includes, FOUR (4) Monogrammed Linen Hankerchiefs. These monogramed linen handkerchiefs were part of Lot 2134 of the February 5, 2010, James D. Julia Auction, which included items from the Tobias Lear and George Washington Storer families. Tobias Lear's second and third wives were both nieces of Martha Washington. The following accompany the signature and 1852 written Statement of Provenance:
1. Ivory linen handkerchief ornately monogrammed "J," 14" x 14," soiled
2. Ivory linen handkerchief with foliated borders, ornately monogrammed "MWJ" 16" x 16"
3. Ivory linen handkerchief ornately monogrammed "MWJ," 16" x 16," small tears and hole at borders and around monogram
4. Ivory linen handkerchief florally monogrammed "MWJ," 15" x 15"
Colonel Tobias Lear (1762-1816) was George Washington's trusted friend and personal secretary from 1784 until Washington's death in 1799. In 1795, Lear married Frances "Fanny" Bassett Washington, daughter of Martha Washington's younger sister Anna Maria Dandridge Bassett. She died in 1796.
In 1803, Lear married Frances "Fanny" Dandridge Henley, daughter of Martha Washington's youngest sister Elizabeth Dandridge Henley. Col. Lear was the great uncle of Mary Washington Jones ("MWJ") whose great aunts were Martha Washington's sisters, Anna Maria and Elizabeth.
Col. Tobias Lear's sister Mary had married Samuel Storer. Their son (Lear's nephew) Rear Admiral George Washington Storer (1789-1864) and his wife Mary were the parents of Mary Washington Storer who married Albert L. Jones, becoming Mary Washington Jones ("MWJ").
Legend has it that President George Washington visited when Lear's nephew was a baby and stated that he hoped that Storer would be a better man than his namesake.