Harlan Stone Typed Letter Signed as Attorney General – 2 Days After His Nomination To The Supreme Court


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Political figure from New Hampshire (1872–1946) who served as the dean of Columbia Law School, the 52nd US Attorney General, and the 12th Chief Justice of the United States from 1941 until his death.

Typed letter signed (TLS) “Harlan F. Stone”, January 7, 1925, The Attorney General Washington stationery, to John Hays Hammond, in full:

My hearty thanks and warm appreciation for your kind telegram of January 6.

In very good condition, mounted remnants to terminal leaf with no impact, rusty paperclip impression at top left, fold.

On April 1, 1924, Stone was appointed United States Attorney General by his Amherst classmate President Calvin Coolidge, who felt Stone would be perceived by the public as beyond reproach to oversee investigations into various scandals arising under the Harding administration.  These scandals had besmirched Harding’s Attorney General, Harry M. Daugherty, and forced his resignation.  In one of his first acts as Attorney General, Stone fired Daugherty’s cronies in the Department of Justice and replaced them with men of integrity.  As Attorney General, he was responsible for the appointment of J. Edgar Hoover as head of the Department of Justice’s Bureau of Investigation, which later became the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and directed him to remodel the agency so it would resemble Britain’s Scotland Yard and become far more efficient than any other police organization in the country. A pro‑active Attorney General, Stone argued many of his department’s cases in the federal courts and launched an anti‑trust investigation of the Aluminum Company of America, controlled by the family of Andrew Mellon, who was Coolidge’s Secretary of the Treasury.

In the 1924 presidential election, Stone campaigned for Coolidge’s re‑election. He especially opposed the Progressive Party’s candidate, Robert M. La Follette, who had proposed that Congress be empowered to reenact any law that the Supreme Court had declared unconstitutional.  Stone found this idea threatening to the integrity of the judiciary as well as the separation of powers.
Shortly after the election, Justice Joseph McKenna resigned from the Supreme Court, and on January 5, 1925, Coolidge nominated Stone to replace him as an Associate Justice.

John Hays Hammond (31 March 1855 – 8 June 1936) was a mining engineer, diplomat, and philanthropist. Known as the man with the Midas touch, he amassed a sizable fortune before the age of 40.