Alabama Claims Commissioners, Signed Imperial Photograph

Sepia-toned albumen photograph, approx. 15.5 x 18 in., mounted to 22 x 26 in. Court of Commissioners of Alabama Claims, July 13, 1882 - December 31, 1885. Full-length portrait presents five men seated, with the rest standing behind. Title as well as autographs of the ten men pictured are included on mount below image, inscribed above their printed titles of office. Among the major signers are John A. Creswell (1828-1891), Maryland Senator and Grant’s Postmaster General; James Harlan (1820-1899), Iowa Senator, Lincoln’s final Cabinet appointee, and Johnson’s Secretary Interior; and Andrew S. Draper (1848-1913), famed educator and University of Illinois president, as well as chairman of US Indian Commission.

American claims for damages done by British support of the Confederacy centered primarily around the notorious rebel raider Alabama, which was built in a British shipyard. A joint high commission was established to hear the claims and both the United States and the United Kingdom signed the Treaty of Washington, which set an important precedent for international arbitration. Most significantly, on September 14, 1872, the tribunal voted unanimously that Britain was legally liable for direct losses caused by the Alabama and other ships and awarded the United States damages of $15.5 million in gold. Though amicable rapport was largely re-established, the commission remained in operation through the 1880s to address a range of Anglo-American issues including disputes over Canadian fisheries and the northwestern boundary. 


Print affixed after mount was signed, covering the tops of the Js in Creswell’s signature. Some yellowing and faint toning from prior matting. Wear to edges.

Estimate: $500 - $1,000
Price Realized Including Buyer's Premium

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