Autograph collecting emerged as a hobby in the United States in the 1840’s. The Historical Society of Montgomery County has two interesting autograph books owned by a pair of brothers from Berks County. One of the brothers, J. Glancy Jones, was a member of the House of Representatives from 1851 to 1858. Both he and his brother Charles managed to get the autographs of many of the most important political leaders of their time.
This signature from President Millard Fillmore is dated 1852. Below it, Charles has the signature of Fillmore’s first Secretary of State, Daniel Webster.
Webster’s signature has obviously been clipped from a letter, as have these two other signatures, President James Buchanan and General Winfield Scott. It’s possible that these signatures were from letters received by Jones himself, however, it is also possible that Charles purchased the letters in order to cut out their signatures.
His brother Jehu Glancy Jones has another presidential signature in his album, Franklin Pierce.
Both brothers also sought out the signatures of senators and congressmen from each of the states. Here’s part of the Pennsylvania congressional delegation in J. Glancy Jones’ album. It includes John Alexander McNair, who represented Montgomery County, and who, thankfully, has a very clear and legible signature.