Click the images below for bigger versions:
Fowler, Isaac Vanderbeck
Autograph Letter Signed, of New York City Post Master and Tammany Hall Grand Sachem, Isaac Vanderbeck Fowler, to another Post Master, concerning the founding of the newspaper “Washington Union,” to be used as political organ for the Democratic Party, 1858

Quarto, 1 page, dated 12 May 1858, written by New York City Post-Master Isaac V. Fowler to a fellow Post Master, requesting his help is promoting and signing subscribers to a new Democratic newspaper, the Washington Union.

$ 125.00 | Contact Us >

Isaac Vanderbeck Fowler (1818-1869)

Isaac Vanderbeck Fowler (1818-1869) was thrice the Grand Sachem of the Tammany Society, better known as Tammany Hall, from 1848–1850, 1857–1858, and 1858–1859, the last term shared with William M. "Boss" Tweed. He was appointed Postmaster of New York City by President Franklin Pierce on April 1, 1853 and was also a delegate from New York to the 1860 Democratic National Convention. Fowler was an unusual leader of the Tammany Society as he was a college graduate. He also moved in the better social circles and convinced a number of rich young men to join the organization.

However, Fowler had long lived beyond his means, and on 10 May 1860 was removed from his office as Postmaster and a warrant was issued for his arrest, accusing him of embezzling $155,554. Fowler, who had also produced the $2,500 to buy off the Republican Peter P. Voorhis on the city's Board of Supervisors, was staying at a hotel when the warrant for his arrest was issued. The responsibility for Fowler's arrest was given to Isaiah Rynders, another Tammany operative who was serving as a United States marshal at the time. Rynders made enough ruckus upon entering the hotel where Fowler was staying that Fowler was able to escape to Mexico. Fowler eluded capture and traveled to Mexico and Cuba. On July 5, 1866, the District Attorney filed a nolle prosequi, saying that he no longer intended to prosecute Fowler for his misdeeds. Sometime after that, Fowler returned to the United States.

Fowler died on 29 September 1869 in Chicago, Illinois, and was at the time planning to return to New York City.

“Post Office, New York

May 12th, 1858

To the Post Master


Dear Sir,

I beg leave most earnestly to call your attention to the propriety of taking immediate and effective measures to increase the circulation of the Washington Union. This is a measure in which our political friends at the seat of Government may naturally take a deep interest. The importance to our party of an able, firm, liberal, central organ which shall have a wide and general circulation, cannot be too highly estimated. In a free country the Press has an influence and power which should be effectively invoked for the support of the popular party. We have been heretofore too neglectful of this point. By now attending to it, with efficiency and concert of action, we can, more than in any other way, disseminate those broad and national principles, the acceptance of which will not only aid the success of our party, but promote the prosperity and harmony of our country. On the fly-leaf of this letter you will find a prospectus of the Union, and you are requested at once to get as many subscribers as possible & forward the same to me. And I can assure you, your aid in this matter will not only be gratifying to the Administration, but also to our active friends at Washington & in this city.

Yours respectfully & truly,

Isaac V. Fowler”