This section is from the book "The Law Of Contracts", by William Herbert Page. Also available from Amazon: Commercial Contracts: A Practical Guide to Deals, Contracts, Agreements and Promises.
Extrinsic evidence is admissible to show the genuineness of the signature and the intent with which such signature was affixed. Evidence is admissible to show that one who is alleged to have signed an assignment of an insurance policy by mark did not sign it, was unable to read and did not know the contents of the assignment.1
Evidence is admissible to show whether a person whose name appears upon an instrument in a place customary for a witness signs as a witness or as a maker;2 to show whether one signing a negotiable note on the bank did so before or after delivery, where, if the note were signed before delivery, he would be liable as a co-maker;3 to show that a signature was by mistake misplaced upon a bond;4 to show whether a person writing his initials upon a contract does so merely to witness an interlineation, or whether he intends his initials to be incorporated in the instrument as a part of the interlineation;5 to show that one who had signed a promissory note on the back thereof had, before delivery, ordered that his endorsement be erased, and that the transferee knew of such order; 6 to show that a contract which on its face was signed by A on behalf of B, was in fact signed by A on behalf of B and in B's presence, thus satisfying the Statute of Frauds, which in that jurisdiction requires the authority of an agent, who signs a memorandum to be in writing,7 or that a witness signed after the instrument was delivered.8 So if a vote of a corporation is relied on as a written contract, oral evidence is admissible, and indeed necessary, to show whether the adversary party ever knew of or accepted such vote.9 So it may be shown where a bond which recites that it is the obligation of a specified principal and sureties, is signed by the sureties, but not by the principal, that the sureties intended it to take effect without the principal's signature.10
14 Davis v. Furniture Co., 41 W. Va. 717, 24 S. E. 630.
1Wienecke v. Arbin, 88 Md. 182, 44 L. R A. 142, 40 Atl. 709.
2Aultman & Taylor Co. v. Gunder-son, 6 S. D. 226, 55 Am. St. Rep. 837, 60 N. W. 859.
3 Bank v. Jefferson, 92 Tenn. 537, 36 Am. St. Rep. 100, 22 S. W. 211.
4 Craig v. Spencer, 56 Okla. 259, 156 Pftc. 172.
5Isham v. Cooper, 56 N. J. Eq. 398, 39 Atl. 760, 37 Atl. 462.
6 Gregg v. Groesbeck, 11 Utah 310, 32 L. R. A. 266, 40 Pac. 202.
7 Morton v. Murray, 176 111. 54, 43 L. R. A. 529, 51 N. E. 767. (Contract for the sale of realty.)
8 Webster v. Smith, 72 Vt. 12, 47 Atl. 101.
9 Sears v. R. R., 152 Mass. 161, 9 L. R. A. 117, 25 N. E. 98.
If the execution of a negotiable instrument is denied and if evidence is offered tending to show that the maker's signature thereto is a forgery, it is error to instruct the jury that execution is presumed,11 and this error is not cured by another charge to the effect that the burden of proving execution is on the plaintiff, since it is impossible to determine which instruction the jury followed.12