9 October 2002
HARDING, Warren G. Alaska Tour. Presidential Party. U.S.S. Transport Henderson. July 1923. Seattle: Lowman & Hanford Co., .
Oblong 8o. 12 MOUNTED BLACK-AND WHITE PHOTOGRAPHS, all but the last with printed captions on mounts (last photo with small rust marks at top from staple). Original black morocco, name of "Brig. Gen. Chas. E. Sawyer" stamped in gilt, tied at spine (spine split). Provenance: Charles Sawyer, Surgeon General under Harding (binding).
ONE OF HARDING'S FINAL SIGNATURES BEFORE HIS DEATH IN OFFICE, AND A WONDERFUL ASSOCIATION. On two facing leaves titled "Members of Party" are more than twenty signatures, including: WARREN G. HARDING, FLORENCE KING HARDING, and HERBERT HOOVER. Harding died in San Francisco just one week after his trip to Alaska aboard the Henderson. Surgeon General Sawyer, to whom this copy was presented by the Seattle Chamber of Commerce, suspected crab-meat food poisoning, although an autopsy was never performed.
Harding had been on his cross-country Voyage of Understanding, a vigorous plan to explain his policies to the people. At the time, he was suffering from high blood pressure and an enlarged heart and no doubt wished to have his affairs well in order before such a large undertaking. The trip had begun on 20 June and by 27 July, the President had returned south to San Francisco from the Alaskan leg of the journey. That night he went to bed with severe cramps and several days of illness ended with his death on 2 August. The album's final photograph shows the president and the first lady sitting before their companions, most likely in one of the last public photographs that was taken of Harding.
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