An article from a 1909 trade magazine tells of Count Alexander Graf von Faber-Castell’s visit to North America:
There is an interesting section that describes a gift from The Count which was presented to President William Howard Taft:
The article goes on to further describe the case, as well how the gift made it’s way to the president. (NB: 1909 was President Taft’s first year in office.)
A photograph of President Taft from around the same time, from the National Archives.
It’s customary for government officials to list the gifts they receive from foreign states and visitors. Hoping to find out some more information about this particular gift, I did some searching through the Office of the Chief of Protocol, Department of State, and the oldest records I could find go back only to 1929. Taft’s presidency also precedes the time when presidents built their own presidential libraries, so his papers and belongings are dispersed in a few places. I imagine though that a gift like this would likely have been handed down through his family, if it still survives at all.
Still, it’s very interesting. I wonder if Archiv Faber-Castell mightn’t have a visual record of this personalized, handworked, leather-covered and silk-lined case fit for a president (and if they mightn’t share a photograph with us if they did).