Josephine Cobb Autograph – Ralph Borreson Autograph

As near as I can tell, the lower item represents the first autograph my father obtained. Josephine Cobb: Lincoln, Scholar, Collector, and iconographic expert of the National Archives.  It is dated January 24, 1966 in my database. I cannot identify any connection between the stamp and either her or Lincoln, so that’s a bit of a mystery. Ms. Cobb’s claim to fame is that in 1952, while working at the photographic division of the National Archives, she discovered what was then, and may still be, the only known photograph of President Lincoln, taken shortly before he delivered the Gettysburg Address.

The upper item features the autograph of Ralph Borreson, who wrote the book “When Lincoln Died,” published in 1965.

My Dad came to autograph collecting by way of his interest in John Brown, President Lincoln, and later President Kennedy. He started collecting materials connected to those figures, including stamps and first day covers.  I’ll address first day covers in a little more detail in a future post (although I’m far from an expert on them), but for now a first day cover is an envelope or postcard with a new stamp that is postmarked with the date of the stamps official date of issuance.  If there is a design or drawing added as these items have here, that is called a cachet. My father drew most of the cachets on the first day covers that he had autographed, including the two cachets shown here.


  1. What an interesting hobby and collection! Pretty amazing how in most people’s minds, these names mean little, but to your dad, they were important enough for an autograph! Very cool!


  1. […] started collecting autographs in 1966. You can see the first one here. It is the lower item on the page.  It began with his interest in Abraham Lincoln, John Brown, and […]