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Article: 2023 Holiday Gift Guides: Gifts for the Political Historian

19th Politics

2023 Holiday Gift Guides: Gifts for the Political Historian

We've rounded up some of the most interesting and illuminating political memoirs, autographs from great American leaders, prints and collectible antiques that tell the story of the founding of our Nation's government. Receiving any of these gifts during the holidays is sure to delight any political history buff.

Dinner with the President: Food, Politics, and a History of Breaking Bread at the White House

Dinner with the President: Food, Politics, and a History of Breaking Bread at the White House

A wonderfully entertaining, often surprising history of presidential taste, from the grim meals eaten by Washington and his starving troops at Valley Forge to Trump’s fast-food burgers and Biden’s ice cream—what they ate, why they ate it, and what it tells us about the state of the nation—from the coauthor of Julia Child’s best-selling memoir My Life in France

“Madam Secretary” Signed by Madeleine Albright, First Edition, 2003

Madam Secretary, Signed by Madeleine Albright, First Edition, 2003

In this thoughtful memoir, Madeleine Albright (1937- 2022) shares her remarkable story from her childhood as a Czechoslovakian refugee to her rise to power in the world of international diplomacy and policy-making. Albright details the intense behind-the-scenes diplomacy leading up to the 1999 war in Kosovo and outlines several lessons of the Kosovo conflict. Albright also discusses what it was like to be the first female secretary of state. The book is presented in its original, first edition dust jacket and is signed by Albright. A true collectable and great holiday gift! 

Thomas Jefferson Signature Collage

Thomas Jefferson Signature Collage

This is an original Thomas Jefferson signature, presented framed with an etched portrait of Jefferson by Jacques Reich. The cut signature reads “Th. Jefferson” and is signed with a quill in black ink. Jefferson  contributed significantly to the development of American democracy as a politician, diplomat, and as the main author of the Declaration of Independence. His autograph continues to fetch high numbers at auctions- making this a great investment piece for the special collector in your life.

“Political Debates Between Hon. Abraham Lincoln and Hon. Stephen A. Douglas” Limited Edition, 1894

Political Debates Between Hon. Abraham Lincoln and Hon. Stephen A. Douglas, Limited Edition, 1894

This is a special limited edition printing of the political debates of Lincoln and Stephen Douglas. The series of seven debates between Stephen A. Douglas and Abraham Lincoln during the 1858 Illinois state election campaign was among the most significant statements in American political history. The issues they discussed were not only of critical importance to the sectional conflict over slavery and states’ rights but also touched deeper questions that would continue to influence political discourse. As Lincoln said, the issues would be discussed long after “these poor tongues of Judge Douglas and myself shall be silent.”

Vintage "E Pluribus Unum" Eagle Bookends

Vintage "E Pluribus Unum" Eagle Bookends

The unsung hero of the bookcase, no historical or political book collection is complete without a pair (or two!) of beautiful bookends. These appealing vintage brass eagle bookends have a  "E Pluribus Unum" ribbon design. E pluribus unum in Latin translates to "Out of many, one." E pluribus unum is a 13-letter traditional motto of the United States of America, also appearing on the Great Seal.

“The Memoirs of Richard Nixon” Signed and Inscribed, First Edition, 1978

Consider gifting this first edition printing of The Memoirs of Richard Nixon, signed and inscribed by Richard Nixon.  This autobiography of the former-president details the entirety of his life through his resignation. Richard Nixon is still the only person to have resigned from the office of the President leaving this autobiography the only firsthand account of such an incident.

Early Printing of the Declaration of Independence on Silk, 1820

Early Printing of the Declaration of Independence on Silk, 1820

This is the ultimate Christmas gift- a rare and magnificent early printing of the Declaration of Independence on silk. The silk broadside was made by H. Brunet, in Lyon, France specifically for the American market. Printed in 1820, this silk broadside was one of the earliest printings of the Declaration, in any form, sold to the American public. Between 1820 and 1840, it was a common practice to print only a very limited number of presentation copies of important broadsides on silk. Because of this, historical silk pieces like this one are rarely seen on the market and thus would surely be a stunning addition to any serious American history collection. 

The Ordeal of Woodrow Wilson, Signed by Herbert Hoover, 1958

The Ordeal of Woodrow Wilson, Signed by Herbert Hoover, 1958

Hoover’s account of Woodrow Wilson’s critical presidential years remains the only instance of a U.S. president writing a book on another president. Focusing specifically on the years 1915 through 1921, Hoover describes the trials, efforts, and failures of Wilson. Hoover served as Food Administrator and unofficial advisor to Wilson during his time in office sharing his ideas and aspirations. Hoover provides a unique perspective on Wilson’s presidency as he not only observed and participated in them, but because he later experienced his own trials and hardships throughout his time in office. Consider gifting this signed book to anyone interested in early 20th century American politics!

“The American Commonwealth” by James Bryce, First Edition, Three Volume Set, 1888

The American Commonwealth, by James Bryce, First Edition, Three Volume Set, 1888

James Bryce was a well-respected British politician, diplomat, and historian. Later serving as ambassador to the U.S., Bryce was regius professor of civil law at Oxford while he wrote The American Commonwealth. The three volume set examined “the institutions and the people of America as they are.” Bryce discussed the strengths and weaknesses of the still young democratic government, publishing what became known as the most important study of America’s political, social, and economic features since Alexis de Tocqueville’s Democracy in America 53 years earlier. 

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