VERY FINE. ONE OF FOUR REPORTED FREE FRANKS OF MARTHA WASHINGTON, AMERICA'S FIRST LADY AND FIRST WIDOW, WHO WAS GRANTED THE FRANKING PRIVILEGE IN APRIL 1800 AFTER HER HUSBAND'S DEATH, BUT USED IT FOR ONLY TWO YEARS BEFORE HER OWN DEATH IN MAY 1802. ONE OF THE GREATEST RARITIES OF EARLY AMERICAN POSTAL HISTORY AND AUTOGRAPH COLLECTING.
The letter and address are in the hand of her granddaughter, Eleanor Parke Custis Lewis, who had married George Washington's favorite nephew, Lawrence Lewis. Lawrence's brother Robert was Washington's secretary.
Eleanor "Nellie" Parke Custis Lewis was the daughter of Martha Washington's son from her previous marriage. Her son, John Parke Custis, was killed in the Revolutionary War in 1781. Eleanor and her brother, George, were adopted by General Washington and lived at Mount Vernon until Martha Washington's death in 1802. Eleanor was a favorite of both General Washington and Martha.
Ex Joyce and Dr. Robertson
VERY FINE APPEARANCE. AN EXTREMELY DESIRABLE FREE FRANK OF THE WIDOW SARAH POLK. ONLY THREE EXAMPLES ARE RECORDED.
Sarah Polk, a staunch admirer and supporter of Dolley Madison in her later years, has the distinction of being the first First Lady to be photographed on the White House grounds. Although Sarah lived more than 40 years following her husband's death in 1849, she lived somewhat reclusively in Nashville and evidently franked a relatively small amount of mail. Her free frank is exceedingly rare, with only three reported examples.
Ex Joyce, Dr. Robertson and Mack
FRESH AND VERY FINE. A RARE COVER FREE FRANKED BY MARY TODD LINCOLN, WIDOW OF THE MARTYRED PRESIDENT.
In May 1865, Mary Todd Lincoln and her sons, Robert and Tad, left Washington D.C. for Chicago, where they resided until leaving for Europe in 1868. During this difficult time, Mary attempted without success to sell her clothing through merchants in New York City. The style of Chicago postmark points to a date of mailing in 1866 or 1867.
Ex Dr. Robertson and Millard Mack