SAMUEL F.B. MORSE He signs an autograph letter (1854) to Samuel Colgate requesting proxy votes from him, apparently to forestall a hostile takeover. ALS: “Saml. F.B. Morse”, 1 page, 7¾x9¾. Po[ugh]’keepsie, New York, 1854 June 21. To businessman and philanthropist Samuel Colgate. In full: “Will you and your brother give me your proxies in blank as below for the next meeting of the Stockholders of the New York Albany and Buffalo Teleg Co. We wish to be prepared against an intrigue of the pirates. I will explain more fully when I see you.” Beneath his letter, Morse has written the sample form he mentions. In full: “We hereby constitute [blank] to be our proxy to vote our Stock at the next annual meeting of the N. York, Albany & Buffalo Telegraph Company. New York June [blank] 1854”. Note at bottom, probably by Colgate: “Ans 24 June/54….” In 1844, SAMUEL F.B. MORSE (1791-1872) had successfully sent the first telegraph message, “What hath God wrought!”, from Washington, D.C. to Baltimore. In this letter, the “pirates” Morse mentions are probably Hiram Sibley and Judge Samuel L. Selden of the New York and Mississippi Valley Printing Telegraph Company (NYMVPTC), a primary competitor of his existing New York, Albany and Buffalo Telegraph Company, formed in 1851. The NYMVPTC had recapitalized in 1854 to expand construction and acquisitions. In 1856, the NYMVPTC, changed its name to the Western Union Telegraph Company. SAMUEL COLGATE (1822-1897) and his brother, JAMES BOORMAN COLGATE, were the sons of William Colgate, a New York City soap maker who had built the family fortune by cornering the soap and candle market during the War of 1812. At the time of this letter, the family business was known as William Colgate and Company; it would be changed to Colgate & Co. upon William’s death in 1857. Lightly creased with folds, light vertical fold at the “S” of Saml. Slig… More information available. Please contact us if you have questions. HFSID 286038
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