This listing is for a most unique item. It is a match safe or calling card case presented at a special retirement dinner for New York's District Attorney, William Travers Jerome. The match safe has the names of its presenters engraved on the back in the form of their autographs including that of S.L. CLEMENS (Mark Twain). Twain was noted as having given a speech at this dinner for Jerome whom he greatly admired. Jerome was famous at the time for prosecuting Harry K. Thaw, the murderer of Stanford White. The list of names on the back reads like a "Whos Who" of New York at the time. It is difficult to make all the 16 names but they appear to be: Joseph H. Choate; David H. Greer; Edward M. Shepard; S.L. Clemens; Thomas Hastings; R. Fulton Cutting; E?? McEneny?; Austen G. Fox; F.P. Dunne; William Rand Jr.; C.? Abron?; Elbridge T. Gerry; Norman Hapgood; Jno. W.L. Nash; Henry W. Taft; Walter Danrich.
This case was sold in 2001 by Robert Slotta of Admirable Books to Mr. David Copley of the Copley Press, owner of the San Diego Union Tribune, presumably for the Twain collection at the Copley Library of La Jolla, Ca. This case was purchased at the estate sale of of Mr. Copley; apparently the case never made it into the Copley Library.
Case measures 3-1/2" tall, 1-3/4" wide and 1/4" deep.
It is hallmarked at the base with the makes name "Gross".
Original sale document is included.
Condition: The overall condition is as you would expect from an object of substantial age that has been displayed/handled/used, usually over the lifetimes of several owners. Several small dings.
The New York Times, May 8, 1909 JEROME REVIEWS HIS OFFICIAL YEARS District Attorney Tells of What He Has Done at a Dinner Given Him by Friends. NO HINT OF FUTURE PLANS Speaker Says he Still Has Faith In Reform and Wishes to Work for Civic Betterment District Attorney William Travers Jerome was entertained last night at a dinner at Delmonico's given by more than 300 of his friends and admirers, and every effort was made by the diners to express their confidence in the integrity and good judgment of the guest of honor in the conduct of his office. It was for this purpose that the dinner was arranged by a committee of citizens headed by Joseph H. Choate. It was noteworthy, however, that there was no mention of Mr. Jerome as a future factor in politics. It was understood that this subject was taboo. Mr. Jerome himself reviewed his entire official career, through the early stages of great popularity and the later times of criticism and discouragement, but said not one word of his future hopes and plans. The dinner was given in the gold dining hall of Delmonico's, the only touch of color to the room coming from large American flags festooned over the speakers' table, and at either end of the hall. Most of the guest were lawyers, but they included also men of every shade of political opinion, men prominent in the official life of the city, members of the judiciary, and men prominent in literary and education life. Practically all the courts of the city except Special Sessions were represented. Edward M. Shepard, who in the absence of Mr. Choate in Washington was toastmaster, presented Mr. Jerome as the first speaker. Mr. Shepard admitted that he had not approved all that the District Attorney had done, nor had always sanctioned his course in leaving other things undone. He said he had admired Mr. Jerome's personal and intellectual qualities, but far more because he had the strength not to yield to popular clamor in prosecuting suspected offenders when there was no evidence to justify such prosecution. "He has shown himself steadfast and courageous to do what he saw with the light of God it was his duty to do," said Mr. Shepard, amid applause. Introduced as the last word on all public questions and public men, Mark Twain, who was one of the committee to arrange for the dinner, said in part: "Indeed, that is very sudden. I was not informed that the verdict was going to depend upon my judgment, but that makes not the least difference in the world, when you already know all about it. It is not any matter when you called upon to express it; you can get up and to it, and my verdict has already been recorded in my heart and in my head, as regards Mr. Jerome and his administration of the criminal affairs of this county. "I voted for Mr. Jerome in those old days, and I should like to vote for him again, if he runs for any office. [Applause.] I moved out of New York, and that is the reason, I suppose, I cannot vote for him again. There may be some way, but I have not found it out. But now, I am a farmer, a farmer up in Connecticut, and winning laurels. Those people already speak with such high favor, admiration, of my farming, and they say that I am the only man that has ever come to that region who could make two blades of grass grow where only three grew before. [Laughter.] "Well, I cannot vote for him. You see that. As it stands now, I cannot. I am crippled in that way and to that extent, for I would ever so much like to do it. I am not a Congress, and I cannot distribute pensions, and I don't know any other legitimate way to buy a vote. [Laughter.] But if I should think any legitimate way, I shall make use it, and then I shall vote for Mr. Jerome."
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