Our Collection

At the Institute’s core is the Gilder Lehrman Collection, one of the great archives in American history. More than 70,000 items cover five hundred years of American history, from Columbus’s 1493 letter describing the New World to soldiers’ letters from World War II and Vietnam. Explore primary sources, visit exhibitions in person or online, or bring your class on a field trip.

Polk, James K. (1795-1849) to Henry Horn re: offer of a portrait of Polk by Sully

High-resolution images are available to schools and libraries via subscription to American History, 1493-1943. Check to see if your school or library already has a subscription. Or click here for more information. You may also order a pdf of the image from us here.

Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC02793.025 Author/Creator: Polk, James K. (1795-1849) Place Written: Washington Type: Autograph letter signed Date: 1845/08/13 Pagination: 1 p. 25 x 21 cm

Written as President. Apparently Polk thought the offer was a hoax.

Washington City 13th: Augst -1845--

(Private)

My Dear Sir:
I have received the enclosed letters from persons whom I do not know. - Mrs. Polk
would be pleased to have the large portrait painted by Sully, being the one which the authors of the letters offer for sixty dollars. - I have had some doubt from the hand-writing, and the general appearance of these letters, whether the writers did not intend to play off the hoax upon me, and therefore I do not choose to answer them. I have to ask the favour of you to make the proper inquiry, and if the portrait is really for sale at the price stated, Mrs. Polk desires that you will purchase it and forward it to Washington. -The small full-length likeness she does not want. - The price of the portrait ($60) - I will remit to you as soon as I know that you have purchased it.-

In haste
Your friend
James K. Polk
Hon. Henry Horn

Order a CopyCitation Guidelines for Online Resources