In 1959, at the age of 16, Myles Martel, BA ’65,
wrote to President Harry S. Truman requesting his
autograph. Truman obliged in his inimitable way with a
handwritten, "Here is your autograph. Harry S. Truman." So
began Martel’s collection of authenticated
signatures, in which every president of the United States
is now represented.
Most of the autographs have been acquired from dealers. However, in addition to the Truman signature, Martel personally obtained the signatures of Richard Nixon, John F. Kennedy, Jimmy Carter, George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush by writing to them or through mutual friends or contacts.
The signatures of Gerald Ford and Ronald Reagan were acquired in person. Following an interview with President Ford conducted by Martel for his first book,the former president signed a copyof the swearing-in remarks he delivered in the wake of Richard Nixon’s resignation in August 1974. Ronald Reagan’s signature was obtained in 1980 when Dr.Martel served as his personal debate advisor.
Martel’s favorite autographs are a letter signed by Abraham Lincoln the week he was elected president, a copy of the Camp David Accord signed by both Jimmy Carter and Menachem Begin, and Ronald Reagan’s practice debate notes, personally signed and containing his famous doodles. Dr. Martel is president and founder of Martel & Associates, a firm specializing in media and crisis communication He is the author of five books dealing with communications strategies for business executives and public figures and he has endowed a University of Connecticut lectureship on leadership and public opinion. His autograph collection has been placed on loan to the university and is housed in the Dodd Research Center. He states, "Allowing these signatures and manuscripts to be exhibited for the benefit of the university community is a modest way of demonstrating my appreciation for all the university has done for me."
Dodd Research Center, West Corridor