Description

    [Telegraph]. William H. Seward Document Signed as secretary of state with related items. Three pages, 8" x 10", on Department of State letterhead, Washington, March 2, 1866, certifying that "...annexed is a true copy of a Joint Resolution of Congress, approved February 26, 1866, entitled 'Joint Resolution to encourage and facilitate telegraphic communication between the western and eastern continents,' the original of which is on file in this Department." Red seal of the Department of State at lower left and a blue ribbon connecting the pages. Page two has a printed copy of the act of Congress mentioned in the Seward document affixed to a black page. Uneven toning with minor chipping along the edges at the folds.

    Throughout the first half of the 1860s, Cyrus W. Field tried unsuccessfully to realize his dream of linking the United States with Europe via a telegraph cable laid along the floor of the Atlantic Ocean. By 1865, he had failed four times. It was decided by the U. S. government that the feat was impossible and they should look to alternative means of connection. They looked west.

    Between 1865 and 1867, the Western Union Telegraph Company, who had successfully joined the east coast of the U. S. with the west coast, was charged with connecting the United States with Imperial Russia (and thus, the rest of Europe) by extending the telegraph at San Francisco, California west to Moscow, Russia. The cable would travel up the Pacific coast through Oregon and Washington State, up the west coast of Canada into Russian America (Alaska). From the other side, a crew of Russians was laying a similar cable (the Russian-Siberian Telegraph) from St. Petersburg, heading east, to the mouth of the Amur River and up through northeastern Siberia. From there, a joint American/Russian team would lay a submarine cable across the Bering Strait. Unfortunately for the Russian-American telegraph, Cyrus W. Field succeeded on his fifth attempt and the first intercontinental message was sent and received on July 27, 1866, rendering the work of the Russians and Americans obsolete. The project was abandoned on February 27, 1867.

    With O. H. Palmer ALS, three pages, 8" x 9.75", Rochester, April 25, 1866, to the minister of imperial posts & telegraphs in St. Petersburg, Russia regarding the appointment of Paul Anossoff as the agent of the Imperial government on the project; Ralph W. Pope TLS, two pages, 8" x 10.5", New York, January 6, 1905, to George C. Maynard regarding an upcoming article Maynard is preparing "...that shall embody the personal experience of those who took part in the enterprise..." Pope is referring to the Overland Telegraph Expedition that laid the cable up the west coast of the U. S. through Canada for the Russian-American Telegraph; and Horatio Seymour Certificate Signed, seven pages, 7.75" x 12.25", Rochester, August 31, 1864, certifying the formation of the company to construct the Russian-American Telegraph. Seymour was the governor of New York.


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