Paul C. Richards, Edited and Introduced by Paul Rich
The collecting of autographs of American presidents is done with a passion that is not found about similar figures in other countries. Canadian prime ministers or Finnish presidents are not the focus of hobbyists. The enthusiasm of getting a set of presidential signatures is something of a comment on the energetic American historical emphasis on the country’s chief executives. Even in George Washington’s time there were forgers who allegedly would produce a Washington letter for a drink at a tavern, so the authenticity of Presidents is a subject marked by intrigue and misadventure. Paul C. Richards’ scarce volume is a useful guide to a subject marked by increasingly high prices in the auction rooms. He was a great benefactor of Boston University, where his Robert Frost and Theodore Roosevelt collections are a permanent testimony to his relentless searching of attics and garrets and shrewd purchases.