It’s Ephemera Month at Speaking of Idaho. I’m writing a few little blurbs about some interesting ephemera I’ve collected over the years. Often there’s little or no historic value to the pieces, but each one tells a story.
A governor’s signature on a bill can be one of the most important things they do. That same signature on a proclamation can have some level of importance, or it might be largely ceremonial. Today’s post is about the signatures that you may not have known that governors do.
There are collectors of gubernatorial signatures lurking around out there. I was one of them for a while. I collected a few from sitting governors when I came across them while working for the State of Idaho. Those were mostly proclamations and minor correspondence. Since I had a few of those, I decided to see if I could collect gubernatorial signatures from past governors.
It’s easy to start a hobby like that these days thanks to eBay. You can create a search bot that alerts you whenever the words governor, Idaho, and signature or autograph pop up. I collected a few signatures that were created during the course of business, such as a canceled check from George Shoup, Idaho’s last territorial governor and first state governor. Mostly, though, the signatures existed because someone wrote to the sitting governor and requested one.
Most governors answered requests like that by signing a blank card or even the outside of an envelope that was returned to the requestor. Here are a few samples.
One of the governor’s aides excused himself for a moment. When he came back, he led me into the governor’s office. Dirk Kempthorne had agreed to sign each one individually while I waited. I was surprised that he took the time to do that for me and for the kids in Elk City.