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The History List

Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Appointment — Signed March 7, 1904

Updated February 15 at 9:10 pm Eastern: This has been sold.
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I selected this for someone who is an admirer of Teddy Roosevelt because it displays so nicely, with Roosevelt's name printed in large letters across the top, with “President of the United States,” also in large letters, below the eagle.

This document is in very good condition, with a clear, strong signature, and the seal and ribbon intact. Overall, it’s one of the nicest I’ve seen.

During Roosevelt’s term as president (September 14, 1901 – March 4, 1909), he surely signed many presidential appointments, including for postmasters.  (More information on the history of postmasters as patronage appointments is below.)

This document is in the official appointment of Alfred E. Goddard to be the postmaster for Essex, Connecticut.  (No idea if he was any relation to Robert H. Goddard, born in Worcester, Massachusetts in 1882, who built the world's first liquid-fueled rocket.)

Reading the year, look at what appears after the date [emphasis added]:

"Given under my hand, at the city of Washington, this seventh day of March in the year of our Lord one thousand nine hundred and four, and of the Independence of the United States of America the one hundred and twenty eighth."

I wonder when they stopped doing that?

 

I chose to leave it in the original frame since it seems perfect for what the document is. I wouldn’t be surprised if this was the original frame as it hung on the postmaster’s wall. 
Because it's standard glass, without any UV filtering, you will want to be hang it out of direct sunlight or have it reframed with conservation glass or a UV protecting acrylic.
— Lee Wright | Founder

Shipping: $25. Will be shipped via UPS with a signature required.
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Historical background on postmaster appointments

From the National Archives's History Hub:

"According to the United States Postal Service, from 1836 to 1971, postmasters at the larger Post Offices were appointed by the President, by and with the consent of the Senate. Postmasters earning less than $1,000 per year were appointed by the Postmaster General, generally upon the advice of the local congressman or townspeople. Regulations required that postmasters execute a valid bond and take an oath of office. Minors were ineligible, and U.S. citizenship was required for appointment to all but the smallest Post Offices. Prior to 1971, it was also required that postmasters live in the delivery area of their Post Office. Since 1971, postmasters have been selected through the merit system.”

An article in the Pantagraph gives one a sense of the size of the patronage opportunity:

"Until Progressive Era reforms in the early 20th century, the U.S. president and his political party controlled the appointment of postmasters, which as early as 1858 numbered some 27,000."

From an article in the Postal Reporter dated February 5, 2018 on the retirement of the last postmaster appointed by a president:

"[T]he last Postmaster appointed by a president — retired Jan. 31 after 52 years managing the Philo, OH, Post Office. . . .Mitchell became acting Postmaster in 1965 and was appointed Postmaster by President Lyndon Johnson in 1967, when the organization was the cabinet-level Post Office Department. Four years later, the department became USPS, an independent agency. Political appointments legally ended when the Postal Reorganization Act was signed in 1970."

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