Skip to main content

tv   American Artifacts  CSPAN  January 31, 2016 10:00pm-10:31pm EST

10:00 pm
>> they are discerning voters. >> i want to thank all the people of iowa. >> iowa is the first. >> if i lose iowa, i will never speak to you again. artifactsek, american mportant artifacts. next, a look at the acts of congress with the president's handwritten notes and a proposed and not yet ratified bill of rights. it was auctioned at christie's
10:01 pm
in new york city. >> we are selling george washington's copy of the acts of congress. and it is showing in the front of the room for those of you who have not had a chance to peek. atwill start the bidding $1.3 million. [bidding occurs] >> my name is carol and i served as the curator here at mount delightnd it has been a
10:02 pm
to work with the team to think about the acquisition of this. george washington is exacting with his books and takes great care of them. he has them in beautiful shells in his library and we learned that he takes great care with each individual volume and often puts a flourish in the right-hand corner of the title has the important fromthat he ordered england and he gets them as early as 1771 before the revolution and they had the coat of arms with his name and his motto on them and he puts them
10:03 pm
on the inside cover of the volume and this was probably pretty special to him. he had his signature on the title page. what is more unusual is the notes in the margin and we marginalia. see any there are scribbles in some founding documents as they tried to tinker with the document or put comments on what they think should be a founding principle. washington does not do that. is he rising above commentary or volumes?g pages of the we do not know. this gives the extraordinary insight into washington. he carefully brackets his powers
10:04 pm
and roles as president. writes,le one, he "president>." and, how he follows the enactment of legislation in the senate and it gets sent on to washington as president for approval or veto. in article two, you see him an interesting," pointe uses, to a ambassadors and he understands exactly the powers that are his and those he must delegate to other important branches of
10:05 pm
congress. auctioneering] >> i am the international head of books and manuscripts for christie's and we are here with one of the significant items that we have ever handled, the acts of congress that are assigned an annotated by him in the margins. copy of theington's constitution and he outlined his role as president and sets a
10:06 pm
precedent for the future. so, it is significant. we do not always have things that are historically significant on that level. this is unique beyond compare. asked about the acquisition and i knew that it was a top priority acquisition and within our category of returning original objects to mount vernon and it was crucial to the formation of the early years of government as an american experiment with democracy and, in terms of washington's wonderful legacy, it is above a top priority, you could say, to have the
10:07 pm
magnificent work like this where it can be appreciated and enjoyed each year. the am the 20th regent of association and i represented the ladies at the auction and you could feel the energy in the room. was near the actual sale and the room was suddenly filled with people and members of the press and you knew it would complement this occasion. [auctioneer auctioneering] paddle forhad a anything in a seven-digit number. i have attended auctions. i attended to have a representative in the room and
10:08 pm
not someone who was an agent or a go-between. we wanted to be there to represent our best interests. it was only the night before that we made the decision and i got on the airplane to go to new york to be in the room for the next day. 600,000. >> i was able to join the and it at $5 million wontinued until there were t in the room. >> the association did not know
10:09 pm
it was going to auction before it went to print and we worked an y hard to find a donor or angel. on individuals and corporations to help us. and, whenr a donor that was not going to happen, we decided to muster our resources and to go to the auction to be as competitive as we possibly could be. >> it seems like it takes forever when you are up there hours. feels like
10:10 pm
it is a drama when you get into that stratosphere of value. [auctioneer auctioneering] >> it is the first session of congress that just ended and it could not have been printed before the legislation was enacted. it was a key here. it refreshed memories of his responsibilities as president. >> he did not uniformly mark everything he was supposed to do. tellingthat this is because it is washington noting
10:11 pm
what he must not forget to do and it addresses what we would call the state of the union address and a report to congress. what is interesting about the book is that it was printed here and the washington copy was there with thomas allen, who and, in the books early the book, we see washington and colleagues putting into printed form concepts they have struggled with over the constitutional convention and where they had been laboring to figure out the shape of the nation. and it is incredible to think
10:12 pm
about the circulation for those who have contributed and those who have been big proponents hot envision government -- how to envision government. >> this is the first page of the constitution. you can see the bracketing is hail and light. this passage is in that bracket. the president shall be the commander in chief of the army and navy. further down, it is noted that the president has the power to enact treaties. spelling out his role in the new government. quench it was like he was looking at a manual and this was a roadmap for his responsibilities.
10:13 pm
of presidential power to further the public good and that the world was looking at america to see how the new nation would be governed. to see this in person is chilling. 6,500,000 -- a new bid. $6.8 million. the constitution at the front of the book and, at the back, a draft bill of rights that have been proposed and not ratified. it is interesting and you can tell that this is very early with 12 amendments here.
10:14 pm
enacted and became law. >> it is enormously constructive ast the documents were seen part of the founding documents of the country and it was not just the constitution. it was linked with the bill of rights. ,> with the bid on my right -- $7.5 million . >> my eyes were locked on the auctioneer and there was a group on the other side. every time a bid went to them,
10:15 pm
they would confer with each other and come up with the next one. it seemed like an eternity. i knew where my limit was and i was given strong marching orders. i knew where we were going to stop and i was ready to go to the next. $7.5 million, you have -- this far thing most serendipitous about the proceedings at the auction were when i arrived at christie's and i went into the -- thed chris took the acts of congress out of the case and i realized that this was
10:16 pm
probably the only time i would ever see it in such an intimate setting. went to wait until the sale. paul asked me if i was registered and i said, of course. paddle, do you have your number? i said, i do not. and ided me the paddle took a look at this and said, do you realize what this is? washington's birthday. i took it as a good sign that it would be a good day. >> we do not know if he ordered the binding or if it was ordered for him by someone else. is a copy with a
10:17 pm
similar layout and binding in a private collection. andas jefferson had a copy this is 1-3. the only one that belonged to washington himself. binding.ior is a fine >> he had a lot to do with the adoption of the constitution and it is a constitutional they went behind
10:18 pm
the scenes to make sure it was ratified by the states. pieces of0 legislation. .t seemed very important it created the department of state, treasury, establish the judiciary, formulated the government based on a constitution. .> the estimate was across did you start to get nervous? >> we knew that the reserve was low and it was written by bush $2.3nd it sold for war million. we knew the entrance test
10:19 pm
interest was low and we actually decided what it may go for and decided to go up to the point and we were not surprised. [auctioneer auctioneering] the acts of congress had a remarkable journey and it is thinky awe-inspiring to of the fact that it is in pristine condition and beautifully bound as it was in the 18th century. george and martha washington did not have children of their own and, at the time of her death, many of the objects were to her direct descendents.
10:20 pm
was also a supreme -- , whatf the other articles is interesting is that the pieces here that were handed down, in time, they came up for at it wasnd we know th hard to part with the material reminders and you can keep in mind that these were troubled times in america during the 19th century with the of people of the civil war. just as the washington family was not able to direct all resources, they were not able to preserve all of the remarkable objects and they thought they might be best shared for in the
10:21 pm
hands of the greater american public. we see a lot of objects throughout the 19th century and, interestingly, this was so important that it was purchased by a series of well-known american philanthropists, , andactors, collectors those who became the vice regent of the board of california. she was enormously influential had a sonctor and she who was also a tremendous collector. mrs. hearst passed on a love of .ollecting and a passion it is not surprising that william randolph hearst held onto the volume for so many years.
10:22 pm
tothat time, it returns private ownership. it for many years and they knew where it was for some time. they were hoping they would have the opportunity. >> $8.5 million. [auctioneer auctioneering] all by herself. ok. any advance? for a $.7 million
10:23 pm
million. [applause] that goes to mount vernon. thank you very much. >> and the applause erupted in the room and there was a sense of joy. it will be shared with scholars are delighted to welcome years,, after so many this. and i'mme is stewart's the president for the study.
10:24 pm
it is an extraordinary book for which we bid at auction. was a special book of george washington and i call it the owner manual. build theplanning to new library that will open, we want to have the best resources available to those who will study and the others who will spend time in the new facility. the public will have the opportunity to see the book here and it is a wonderful display that shows the story of the book and where you can see the and thel marginalia libraryen we opened the
10:25 pm
, it will be the cornerstone of the special collection in a library with primary books that belonged to george washington, andrs, letters, surveys there are extraordinary incation programs to engage training. the purpose of this library is to place -- to have a place where scholars can come to focus and study in the context of mount vernon. the association has given leadership to the extraordinary estate for 1.5 centuries and it has been a
10:26 pm
destination for students, families, visitors and the library is the next evolution of this and it will be a place where scholars can come and submersed themselves and wonderful resources that we have right here in the shadow of mount vernon. >> it is a presidential library in washington wrote to a friend before he died that he has no houses to build, except one to house his manuscripts and books. after 200 years, we are building the library and bringing home the acts of congress to where they belong. >> having this, not only do you understand the book as a physical object. contextrstand it within
10:27 pm
and there is no better way to understand washington other than coming to mount vernon, which is the autobiography. it helps you understand the private window into the world listed in thetem acts of congress, whether , duties of the state, congress, the justice system, how they all relate to issues that are important to washington and influence the estate. is to look atant the volume in the context of all the others that george ants toon read and used understand how he and others really struggled with what should be the founding and governing principles of the nation. so, i think the scholar who
10:28 pm
comes to mount vernon to understand will receive a much broader window of insight into washington. and, in recent years, we have asked about the objects. i think more americans and more people around the world understand what we at mount vernon already new -- george washington is a remarkable figure that provides us with a tangible reminder of all the battles of the american revolution and the attempts to set up the unique form of government here in the united states. he also touches us in a way that is truly inspirational and i think that we sometimes are
10:29 pm
chagrined to see a new price realize weecause we need a bigger war chest for the future. a is a value date -- validation that george washington is truly our founding father. >> this was recorded in 2012. the national library opened on 7, 2013.r 2 seven you can see more on our website. once you are watching american history tv. >> you're watching american history tv. like us on facebook. martin luther king jr. was
10:30 pm
recently, members of the club located 53-year-old recordings of the speech and organized a panel of civil rights leaders and journalists to discuss its importance. this event includes portions of king's remarks. it is about 90 minutes. >> here is little background on the speech. dr. king was the first african-american to ever speak at a national press club luncheon. he did this on july 19, 1962. this speech came one week after his second arrest in albany, georgia. he would be arrested a third time in albany at a prayer vigil exactly eight days after he gave this speech.

39 Views

info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on