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John Hay, Printed Poem, Signature


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John Hay signs a printed copy of his poem, Euthanasia.

A highly unusual, beautifully printed poem by the class (1858) poet of Brown University, dealing with a delicate subject and showing the early influence of Edgar Allan Poe on the literary-minded Hay.

The personal secretary of Abraham Lincoln in the White House, Hay, along with fellow secretary John Nicolay, wrote the legendary 10 volume biography of their chief, one of the truly essential works on Lincoln.  Hay later served two other presidents, McKinley and Theodore Roosevelt, as Secretary of State.

Hay came to Chicago in 1871 to interview Mrs. O’Leary, the woman who owned the cow that allegedly caused the Chicago Fire. Right about that time his popularity as a poet was reaching it’s apex. One colleague reportedly said “a liberal education in the delights of intellectual life to sit in intimate companionship with John Hay and watch the play of that well-stored and brilliant mind”. The same quote could be assigned to another poet with a strong Lincoln biography connection-Carl Sandburg. 

Taken from an unknown collection of poetry; on the reverse is another signed poem, The King’s Touch, by American Henry Harland (who wrote under the pseudonym Sidney Luska), editor of the Yellow Book.


Hay, John.  EUTHANASIA.  Printed Poem, Signed.   NP: n.d.  1p., 4to.