RARE and Historic document appointing Seth Boyden
to a commission representing the state of New Jersey to the London World's Fair
signed by the Governor, George Fort issued in 1851. This historic document has vignette of the New Jersey State Seal and is over 157 years old.
The calligraphy of the large letters at the top and the pen & ink rendering of the state Seal are simply spectacular. All of the penwork is executed in brown ink which is dark and bold and simply beautiful. The vellum is lightly soiled and has some light edge wear but overall the Document is well preserved and very attractive.
13 7/8" x 20 7/8" and has a large, light blue attached seal of the state of New York. The Document is signed by Governor George F. Fort and new Jersey secretary of State Thomas S. Allison. Very little American ephemera exists relating to the 1851 London World's Fair / Crystal Palace exposition.
George Franklin Fort's Signature
Seth Boyden (November 17, 1788 – March 31, 1870) was an American inventor. He was the brother of Uriah A. Boyden.
A New England native (born in Foxboro, Massachusetts) who moved to Newark, New Jersey, Boyden perfected the process for making patent leather, created malleable iron, invented a nail-making machine, and built his own steamboat. He is also credited with having invented a cut off switch for steam engines and a method for producing zinc from ore. At the time of his death, he told friends that he had, even at that time, enough experiments on hand to last two whole lifetimes.
Boyden began his work with malleable iron in 1820, when he was 32 years old. From observing the behavior of iron that stuck to the walls of his grandfather's forge, he had developed a theory about the heat treatment of iron. He completed his research in 1826, and won an award from the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia two years later.
Boyden never patented his inventions, preferring instead to take individual contracts and to build and sell off businesses. He did make large sums from this, but not enough to support his research and to provide for his old age. During the last 15 years of his life, Boyden lived in near-poverty in Hilton, New Jersey (now Maplewood, New Jersey) and developed a hybrid strawberry known as the Hilton strawberry.
George Franklin Fort (1809 - April 23, 1872) was a physician, politician, judge, and a Democrat who served as the 16th Governor of New Jersey from 1851-1854. His nephew, John Franklin Fort was a Republican Governor of New Jersey, who served from 1908-1911.
George Fort was born near Pemberton, New Jersey. He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania Medical School in 1828, began to practice medicine, and in 1830, in Imlaystown, New Jersey, married Anna Marie Bodine, they had four children.
Fort's public career began when he was elected to the 1844 New Jersey Constitutional Convention as a Democrat from Monmouth County. At the convention, Fort supported universal suffrage, open eligibility for office, and popular election of all state and county officials. Later that year, he was elected to the New Jersey General Assembly, and, upon finishing a term, was elected to the New Jersey Senate. In 1850, he captured his party's nomination for Governor, and defeated the Whig candidate, John Runk (who had previously been a Congressman in the Twenty-ninth United States Congress). At that time, the Whigs were somewhat splintered, as some were adamantly opposed to the Fugitive Slave Law, while others were more aligned to the Democratic position that supporting the law was necessary in order to support the Union. Whigs also attacked Fort, with some justification, as being aligned too closely with the powerful railroad interests in the state. Nevertheless, the Whigs were not united, and Fort won the election fairly soundly.
During his gubernatorial term, major reform legislation passed, including the ten-hour work day, and child protection. At the end of his term, his Democratic successor, Rodman M. Price, appointed him as a judge. After that term, he resumed the practice of medicine. He lived close to the railroad office in New Egypt. He is buried in the United Methodist Church Cemetery in Pemberton.