Rare Book Monthly

Articles - May - 2011 Issue

Presidential Last Names:  Frequency of Appearance

George washington

Is Washington the most frequently referenced name in the AED?

If you ask someone familiar with American history to rank by frequency of references in the Americana Exchange Database the last names of the Presidents you create an interesting challenge.  Many, even most, are important and if importance is the crucial factor we can all write up a list beginning with most important at the top.  If there are other factors, and there are, the list will be a bit more complicated to correctly sequence.

Here are some of those factors.  Of the 44 US Presidents six have the same last name so our list of Presidential last names will be 38 rather than 44 and six of them will have a double weight.  They are: 
 

Adams

Harrison

Johnson

Cleveland

Roosevelt

Bush

Years of exposure are also important.  Obama recently had 419 references, the lowest number of any President.  He’s also the newest President.  If the number of references is exclusively a function of elapsed time then the older Presidential last names will always have the most references.  This however is not the case.
 

Importance is another factor. There is a small group of ultra-important Presidents – Washington, Jefferson, Jackson, Lincoln and the Roosevelts whose material excites more interest in the auction rooms and more admiration among historians. This too needs to be factored in.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 13:</b> <i>Manhattan Gay Scene Guide 1969, Summer Edition,</i> Mattachine Book Service. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 13:</b> Harvey Milk, 2 autograph letters signed, to Pat Mormon, during US Navy service, 1954. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 13:</b> Oscar Wilde, <i>“The secret of life is in Art,”</i> autograph quotation dated and signed, 1882. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 13:</b> Daniel Abraham, original art for <i>Stonewall Romances,</i> pen, ink & gouache, 1979. $2,000 to $3,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 13:</b> Antonio Lopez, 9 men’s fashion studies, graphite, 1974. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 13:</b> Susie Gaynes & Amy E. Bartell, <i>March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights,</i> 1987. $600 to $900.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 13:</b> <i>Paris is Burning,</i> photo offset poster by Anne Dutlinger, signed by film director Jennie Livingston, 1991. $400 to $600.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 13:</b> Toyen, pen & ink illustration from <i>Marquis de Sade: Justina cili prokletí ctnosti,</i> 1932. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 13:</b> David Wojnarowicz, <i>Untitled (Genet with Dog),</i> mixed media collage. $8,000 to $12,000.

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