[NY:1897]. One-page letter in ink on letterhead of the Sheriff's Office, City and County of New York. Original mailing folds, else fine. With original mailing envelope, lightly soiled and worn.
Regarding multiple attempts to serve a summons: "Dear Sir - In the matter of Kelleher vs. J.D. Rockfeller [sic] we have tried to serve Rockfeller several times, I am unable to get inside of his office, they send me to his attorney, his attorney said he would let me know whether he would except [i.e., accept] service and hav't heard from him since." Rockefeller and Standard Oil found themselves named as defendants in numerous anti-trust lawsuits in the last decade of the 19th-century, and avoiding delivery of court summons appears to have been among their standard tactics for ducking litigation. A news story in the Los Angeles Herald from the same year describes attempts to serve John D.'s brother William, who was an officer on the Board of Standard Oil:
"...the server of the summons could not find Mr. Rockefeller in his office. The clerks always said he was out. Then the officer took his position at the doors of the building to watch. He could never see Mr. Rockefeller. The reason was the millionaire went to and from his office through the basement to avoid him. Then a detective was put on the case. He found Mr. Rockefeller entering the basement and presented the subpoena. The latter took one look at It and began to run down the corridor, with the detective after him. Into the barber shop on that floor the Standard oil magnate dodged, and, giving the barbers the tip. the door was slammed after him, almost in the detective's face. The detective waited, but when the door was opened Mr. Rockefeller was not there..."
Standard Oil would not finally be broken up until 1911, a signal victory of the trust-busting era, but this letter is a compelling relic of the beginnings of legal incursions against the trusts at the end of the Nineteenth century.