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Bob Burke Collection of Presidential and First Lady Signatures

Finding Aid & Inventory

Bob Burke is an attorney and author who lives in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Material types include signatures on paper, photographs, and envelopes, correspondence, land grants and other legal documents, receipts, tickets, and writing clippings. Presidential items are bound in an oversize three-ring scrapbook while First Lady items are in frames, with labels.

Biographical and Historical Note

Bob Burke was born in Broken Bow, Oklahoma, in 1948, and lives in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. He holds bachelors from University of Oklahoma (1970) and a juris doctorate from Oklahoma City University (1976). In addition to being practicing lawyer working against workers' compensation alternatives known as "opt out" schemes, Burke has written, co-written, and edited many books on a number of topics; titles include A History of First Assembly of God - Broken Bow, Oklahoma (1985),  3,500 Years of Burkes (1988),  Courage Counts: The Life of Larry Derryberry (2003), and  John Steinbeck Was Wrong about Oklahoma! (2008).

Sources:

Collection Overview

This collection contains sigantures and other handwriting from United States Presidents and their First Ladies, all women. Material types include signatures on paper, photographs, and envelopes, correspondence, land grants and other legal documents, receipts, tickets, and writing clippings. Presidential items are bound in an oversize three-ring scrapbook. First Lady items are in frames, with labels. Many items come with an image, art or photograph, of the person as well. All presidential items are in Box 14; John F. Kennedy's materials are at the end of the volume and folder 1 is located inside the scrapbook.

Both Series 1. First Ladies materials and Series 2. Presidents materials are arranged in order of their tenure in the presidency.

Collection Inventory

  • First Ladies materials (circa 1809-2008)
    • Madison, Dolley, 1768-1849 (undated) box 1 Scope and Contents

      Handwritten addressed envelope to Richard Cutts, a U.S. Representative and Superintendent of General Military Supplies who was married to Dolley's sister Anna, from Orange Co., Virginia

    • Tyler, Julia Gardiner, 1820-1889  (1889) box 1 Scope and Contents

      Handwritten and signed note

    • Polk, Sarah Childress, 1803-1891 (undated) box 2 Scope and Contents

      Handwritten and signed card

    • Grant, Julia Dent, 1826-1902 (undated) box 2 Scope and Contents

      Handwritten and signed card

    • Garfield, Lucretia Rudolph, 1832-1918 (undated) box 3 Scope and Contents

      Envelope signature, undated

    • Cleveland, Rose Elizabeth, 1846-1918 (undated) box 3 Scope and Contents

      Handwritten and signed letter to Mrs. Lamb from Glengarry, Torrisdale, Philadelphia

    • Cleveland, Frances Folsom, 1864-1947  (1913) box 4 Scope and Contents

      Handwritten and signed letter to John Robertson from Frances Cleveland Preston, Princeton, N.J.

    • Roosevelt, Edith Kermit Carow, 1861-1948 (undated) box 4 Scope and Contents

      Second page of handwritten and signed thank you note

    • Taft, Helen Herron, 1861-1943 (circa 1909-1930) box 5 Scope and Contents

      Handwritten and signed letter of regret, April 26th, no year, from Wyoming Avenue, possibly Washington, D.C.

    • Wilson, Edith Bolling Galt, 1872-1961 (undated) box 5 Scope and Contents

      Handwritten and signed note

    • Harding, Florence Kling, 1860-1924  (1924) box 6 Scope and Contents

      Typed and signed thank you note to Miss Alice Robertson, from Washington, D.C.

    • Coolidge, Grace Goodhue, 1879-1957  (1929) box 6 Scope and Contents

      Typed and signed note with birthday wishes sent to H. M. Van Tine, White House Photographers Association, from Northampton, Mass.

    • Hoover, Lou Henry, 1874-1944 (circa 1929-1933) box 7 Scope and Contents

      Handwritten and signed thank you note from Washington, D.C., dated June 20, no year

    • Roosevelt, Eleanor, 1884-1962  (1944) box 7 Scope and Contents

      Typed and signed thank you note to Mrs. Morgenthau from the White House

    • Truman, Bess Wallace (undated) box 8 Scope and Contents

      Handwritten and signed thank you note, from Independence, Missouri

    • Eisenhower, Mamie Doud, 1896-1979  (1956) box 8 Scope and Contents

      Typed and signed letter from the White House

    • Onassis, Jacqueline Kennedy, 1929-1994  (1961) box 9 Scope and Contents

      Typed and signed thank you note to Mrs. Young from the White House

    • Johnson, Lady Bird, 1912-2007  (1964) box 9 Scope and Contents

      Typed and signed thank you note with personal message to Mrs. Lyle H. Boren from the White House

    • Nixon, Pat, 1912-1993 (undated) box 10 Scope and Contents

      Handwritten and signed page from letter

    • Ford, Betty, 1918-2011  (1984) box 10 Scope and Contents

      Typed and signed thank you note to Don Gibson

    • Carter, Rosalynn  (1998) box 11 Scope and Contents

      Typed and signed thank you note to Bob Burke

    • Reagan, Nancy, 1921-2016  (1978) box 11 Scope and Contents

      Typed and signed thank you note to Schuyler E. Tallman

    • Bush, Barbara, 1925-2018  (1984) box 12 Scope and Contents

      Typed and signed thank you note to Reverend and Mrs. Dancer from the Vice President's Residence

    • Clinton, Hillary Rodham (circa 1993-2003) box 12 Scope and Contents

      Signed photograph

    • Bush, Laura Welch, 1946- (circa 1990-2008) box 13 Scope and Contents

      Signed photograph

    • Obama, Michelle, 1964-  (2008) box 13 Scope and Contents

      Signed photograph

  • Presidents materials (circa 1760-2020)
    • Washington, George, 1732-1799 (undated) box 14 (Two language clippings from geographic survey documents)
    • Adams, John, 1735-1826 (undated) box 14 box 14 folder 1 (Signature clipping)
    • Jefferson, Thomas, 1743-1826  (1809, undated) box 14 (A two-word phrase, "our minister," clipped from letter to lawyers from Monticello; reproduction of text, including clipped words)
    • Madison, James, 1751-1836  (1811) box 14 box 14 folder 1 (State of Maryland military pass for the Schooner Fly, Baltimore, by the President (10 x 16))
    • Monroe, James, 1758-1831 (undated) box 14 (Signature clipping)
    • Adams, John Quincy, 1767-1848  (1832) box 14 (Clipped language from a will; signature of Adams as executor)
    • Jackson, Andrew, 1767-1845  (1829) box 14 (Land grant to James Burnside for military service, signed by Jackson (10 x 15))
    • Van Buren, Martin, 1782-1862  (1838) box 14 (Land grant to [unidentified first name] Fair Alcorn for military service, signed by Van Buren (10 x 15); Envelope addressed to Van Buren, clipping.)
    • Harrison, William Henry, 1773-1841  (1814) box 14 (State of Ohio Hamilton County deed transfer (8 x 12))
    • Tyler, John, 1790-1862  (1851) box 14 (Signature clipping from Charles City County, Virginia, legal document)
    • Polk, James K. (James Knox), 1795-1849 (circa 1848-1849) box 14 ("With the respects of the President, James K. Polk," note)
    • Taylor, Zachary, 1784-1850 (undated) box 14 (Signature clipping)
    • Fillmore, Millard, 1800-1874  (1851) box 14 (Land grant for military service of James Patterson in War of 1812 (10 x 16))
    • Pierce, Franklin, 1804-1869  (1855, undated) box 14 (Two signature clippings)
    • Buchanan, James, 1791-1868 (undated) box 14 (Signature clipping)
    • Lincoln, Abraham, 1809-1865  (1854) box 14 (3 clippings from an Illinois indenture; reproduction)
    • Johnson, Andrew, 1808-1875 (1866, 1867) box 14 (Captaincy promotion signed by Johnson and Edgar Stanton, Secretary of War (16 x 19); appointing Mathias Marin as Captain of the Navy, retired)
    • Grant, Ulysses S. (Ulysses Simpson), 1822-1885 (undated) box 14 (Signature clipping)
    • Hayes, Rutherford B., 1822-1893 (undated) box 14 (Signature clipping, undated)
    • Garfield, James A. (James Abram), 1831-1881  (1866) box 14 (Receipt for $200, Washington, D.C.)
    • Arthur, Chester Alan, 1829-1886 (undated) box 14 (Signature)
    • Cleveland, Grover, 1837-1908  (1886) box 14 (Land grant certificate (10 x 16))
    • Harrison, Benjamin, 1833-1901  (1888) box 14 (Check from Fletcher's Bank made out to Charles R. Berry for $5)
    • McKinley, William, 1843-1901  (1896) box 14 (Typed and signed thank you note to Victor Viaux, Boston, from Canton, Ohio)
    • Roosevelt, Theodore, 1858-1919  (1913) box 14 (Typed and signed note to H. W. Wallace, National Progressive Party, from Office of Theodore Roosevelt, the Outlook, N.Y.)
    • Taft, William H. (William Howard), 1915-2011  (1923) box 14 (Typed and signed thank you note to H. P. Slater, El Paso Herald editor, from the Supreme Court of the United States)
    • Wilson, Woodrow, 1856-1924 (undated) box 14 (Signature; Marine appointment (15 x 19), undated; NY County Postmaster appointment (14 x 18), 1916; Marine appointment (15 x 19), undated)
    • Harding, Warren G. (Warren Gamaliel), 1865-1923  (1895) box 14 (Proof of publication, Macon Star)
    • Coolidge, Calvin, 1872-1933  (1931) box 14 (Typed and signed thank you letter to Charles E. Tuttle, Vermont, from Northampton, Mass.)
    • Hoover, Herbert C.  (1962, undated) box 14 (Signature; typed and signed letter of regret to Professor Herman Harvey from the Waldord-Astoria Towers, N.Y.)
    • Roosevelt, Franklin D. (Franklin Delano), 1882-1945  (1931, undated) box 14 (Signature; typed and signed letter to Bob Smith, Tennessee, from Warm Springs, Georgia, on New York State Governor letterhead)
    • Truman, Harry S., 1884-1972  (1962) box 14 (Typed, signed thank you letter to Mr. Alex Lee, photographer, from Independence, Missouri, envelope with signature)
    • Eisenhower, Dwight D. (Dwight David), 1890-1969  (1957) box 14 (Typed and signed thank you letter to Percival F. Brundage, Bureau of Budget director, from the White House)
    • Kennedy, John F. (John Fitzgerald), 1917-1963  (1961) box 14 (Typed and signed thank you letter to Mrs. Smeltzer, from the U.S. Senate, loose, at end of book)
    • Johnson, Lyndon B. (Lyndon Baines), 1908-1973 (undated) box 14 box 14 folder 1 (Signed photograph, "With Every Good Wish," for Mabel Wade (8 x 10))
    • Nixon, Richard M. (Richard Milhous), 1913-1994  (1971, undated) box 14 box 14 folder 1 (Typed and signed thank you note to Lyle H. Boren; paper with handwriting, "Best wishes to Eileen Our new citizen! From Richard Nixon")
    • Ford, Gerald R., 1913-2006 (1975, undated) box 14 (Signed color photograph of Betty Ford and Gerald R. Ford (8 x 10); two signed color photographs of Gerald R. Ford (8 x 10); thank you note to Jim Vitti from the White House)
    • Carter, Jimmy, 1924- (undated) box 14 (Three signed photographs, 2 color, 1 black and white (8 x 10); two signatures)
    • Reagan, Ronald  (1975, undated) box 14 (Signed photograph to Ray Kester (8 x 10); signed cover of Annals of Iowa, Vol. 43, #3; Signed color inauguration photograph)
    • Bush, George, 1924-2018 (undated) box 14 (Signed color photograph (8 x 10))
    • Clinton, Bill, 1946- (undated) box 14 (Signed color photograph of Bill Clinton (8 x 10); signed color photograph of Hillary Rodham Clinton and Bill Clinton (8 x 10))
    • Bush, George W. (George Walker), 1946-  (2001, undated) box 14 box 14 folder 1 (Signed color photograph with the Dalai Lama (10 X 8); signed inauguration ticket in the name of Dick Cheney; signed color photograph, to Gordon Michael (8 x 10))
    • Obama, Barack H. (Barack Hussein), 1936-1982  (2008) box 14 box 14 folder 1 (Signed cover of People magazine)
    • Trump, Donald, 1946- (circa 2015-2020) box 14 folder 1 (Signed photograph)
    • Reagan, Ford, Carter, and Nixon group photograph (undated) box 14 (Group photograph (8 x 10), signed by each)

Summary Information

Repository
Z. Smith Reynolds Library Special Collections and Archives
Creator
Burke, Bob, 1948-
Title
Bob Burke Collection of Presidential and First Lady Signatures
ID
MS931
Date
circa 1760-2020
Quantity
14 oversized boxes
Extent
28.5  Linear Feet

Administrative Information

Publication Information
Z. Smith Reynolds Library Special Collections and Archives, 2021
Conditions Governing Access
This collection is open for use. 
Conditions Governing Use
The nature of the WFU Z. Smith Reynolds Library Special Collections and Archives means that copyright or other information about restrictions may be difficult or even impossible to determine despite reasonable efforts. The Archives and Special Collections of ZSR Library claims only physical ownership of most materials. The materials from our collections are made available for use in research, teaching, and private study, pursuant to the U.S. Copyright Law. The user must assume full responsibility for any use of the materials, including but not limited to, infringement of copyright and publication rights of reproduced materials. Any materials used for academic research or otherwise should be fully credited with the source.Copyright for materials resides with the creators of the items in question or their descendants, unless otherwise designated. Users of this collection are responsible for using the materials in conformance with U.S. copyright law. 
Preferred Citation
Bob Burke Collection of Presidential and First Lady Signatures (MS931), Z. Smith Reynolds Library Special Collections and Archives, Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, North Carolina, USA. 

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