New Hampshire Historical Society bids for Pierce papers

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — The New Hampshire Historical Society is bidding on papers from Franklin Pierce, the only president to have come from the Granite State.

The papers, including 90 autographed letters between Pierce and his secretary, Sidney Webster, are being auctioned by Auction at Doyle on Tuesday in New York. The letters are estimated to be worth between $15,000 and $30,000.

377869 53: Franklin Pierce, fourteenth President of the United States who served from 1853 to 1857. (National Archive/Newsmakers/Getty Images)
Franklin Pierce, fourteenth President of the United States who served from 1853 to 1857. —National Archive/Newsmakers/Getty Images

The society’s president Bill Dunlap says the papers would bolster what is already considered the best collection of Pierce-related items. Pierce was president from 1853 to 1857. He unsuccessfully tried to heal division that would eventually lead to the Civil War. Due to some of Pierce’s controversial policies, the Democrats chose not re-nominate him, picking instead James Buchanan, who became the country’s 15th president.

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The letters between Pierce and Webster range from 1854 to 1869 and including a touching letter from Pierce thanking Webster for his efforts as secretary. The collection also includes four letters from Pierce to Hamilton Fish; two letters to Sidney Webster from Jefferson Davis and one from Stephen A. Douglas.

“We have the largest collection — about 1,800 pages of letters that chronical Pierce’s time in presidency and career in New Hampshire. Picking up another 90 would be significant,” Dunlap said. “Right now, we are a resource for scholars that research that period of nation’s history leading up to the Civil War. This material will help round out the picture of Pierce for researchers.”

Pierce, whose 212th birthday falls on Wednesday, is also being remembered at the Old North Cemetery in Concord. The New Hampshire Army National Guard laid a wreath Tuesday at the 14th president’s gravesite. Christa McAuliffe School students and the Governor’s Horse Guard were also present.