Rare document signed by President Harrison, but dated five months after his deathWilliam Henry Harrison Partial Four-Language Ship's Passport Signed as president. Extremely rare piece signed by President Harrison, being a trimmed ship's paper, printed in English and Dutch. One page, 10.5" X 11", Newport, Rhode Island, August 28, 1841. Also signed by Daniel Webster as secretary of state and by William Littlefield as customs collector. Interestingly, the date on this document (August 28, 1841) was five months after the death of Harrison (April 4, 1841). Evidently, it was customary for a sitting president and his secretary of state to pre-sign mundane papers and uncompleted documents prior to their being filled-out and issued. In this case, President Harrison signed a blank ship's paper five full months before the blank sections were completed and the Customs Collector at Newport affixed his signature with a date.
This trimmed ship's paper was issued to Theodore Wimpenney, master of the ship Margaret, "375 and 16/95 tons, or thereabouts, lying at present in the port of Newport, RI, bound for Pacific Ocean and laden with provisions, Tackle & stores for a voyage in the whale fishery."
William Henry Harrison was the ninth president of the United States, an American military officer and politician, and the first president to die in office. The oldest president elected until Ronald Reagan in 1980 and last president to be born before the Declaration of Independence, Harrison died on his thirty-second day in office of complications from a cold - the shortest tenure in United States presidential history. His death sparked a brief constitutional crisis, but that crisis ultimately resolved many questions about presidential succession left unanswered by the Constitution until passage of the 25th Amendment. This rare Harrison presidential piece was signed within a month of his inauguration, but did not reach the hands of the ship's owner until well after the president had passed away. Document is bright and clean, with two tiny tears at left center edge.
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