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Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln

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Five Presidential Commissions for Long-Serving American Military Officer, Engineer Joseph G. Totten

JOSEPH G. TOTTEN, Partially Printed Documents Signed as President, to Joseph G. Totten. Washington, D.C. On vellum. 1 p.

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An unparalleled offering of presidential commissions—from Thomas Jefferson to Abraham Lincoln—covering the most significant career advances of Joseph G. Totten, Chief Engineer of the U.S. Army.

General Winfield “Old Fuss and Feathers” Scott served 53 years, and 20th century generals such as Omar Bradley, Douglas MacArthur, and John Vessey all served fewer than 50 years each. Few men served longer or more substantially than Totten, though Revolutionary War veteran John Walbach and Hyman Rickover, the “Father of the Nuclear Navy” served longer, at 57 and 63 years, respectively.

This set of commissions, from an officer who served so long and contributed so much to American military preparedness in the run-up to the Civil War, is indeed a rare find.

Item #23097, $45,000

The Only Abraham Lincoln Letter to his Fiancée Mary Owens Still in Private Hands—Long on Politics, Short on Love

ABRAHAM LINCOLN, Autograph Letter Signed, to Mary S. Owens, December 13, 1836, 2 pp., 9¾ x 7¾ in.

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Write back as soon as you get this, and if possible say something that will please me, for really I have not been pleased since I left you.

Here, Lincoln perfectly demonstrates what Owens later described as deficiencies “in those little links which make up the chain of a woman’s happiness.”  Rather than expressing his feelings for Owens, Lincoln complains about his health and discusses political issues swirling in the Illinois General Assembly. Although inept at love, the letter offers rare insight into the young representative’s thoughts on a variety of political issues. In this highly important letter to Mary Owens, a self-absorbed Lincoln complains to his potential spouse of his health, both physical and mental, and discusses political issues to the point that he describes his own letter as “dry and stupid.” Perhaps more revealing than he realized, it illustrates the tension in Lincoln’s early life between matters of the head, with which he was comfortable, and matters of the heart, with which he clearly was not.

Item #24346.99, $375,000

Attorneys Abraham Lincoln and John Todd Stuart
Announce a New Partnership in Their Hometown Newspaper, the Sangamo Journal

[ABRAHAM LINCOLN], Newspaper. Sangamo Journal, Springfield, Ill., December 23, 1837. 4 pp., 18 x 24¾ in. Double matted and framed with glass on both sides to display pages one and four. Slightly chipped 26 x 33 in. frame.

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Lincoln and John Todd Stuart, cousin of Lincoln’s future wife Mary Todd, had served together in the Illinois House of Representatives from 1834-1836. They formed Stuart & Lincoln on April 12, 1837.

Item #23104.01, $2,500

After Investing in its Stock, Lincoln Represents a Railroad in a Precedent-Setting Lawsuit

ABRAHAM LINCOLN, Autograph Manuscript Signed by Lincoln in text, constituting his official transcript of the “Subscription Book of the Capital Stock of the Alton and Sangamon Rail Road Company,” incorporated February 27, 1847, transcribed in early 1851. Comprising a cover sheet titled in Lincoln’s hand, the joint stock subscription statement and list of 91 shareholders with the number of shares subscribed, and leaf with Lincoln’s legal docket: “Alton and Sangamon Railroad Company vs. James A. Barret. Copy of contents of subscription book....” 8 pp., 6⅝ x 8¼ x ¼ in.

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A list of stockholders, entirely in Lincoln’s hand, filed as evidence in his first significant railroad case. Lincoln’s own appearance in the shareholder list represents only the second known instance of a stock purchase by the future president. The Illinois Supreme Court’s ultimate ruling in favor of Lincoln and the railroad set an important legal precedent, upholding the binding nature of a stockholder’s contractual and financial obligations. “The decision, subsequently cited in twenty-five other cases throughout the United States, helped establish the principle that corporation charters could be altered in the public interest, and it established Lincoln as one of the most prominent and successful Illinois practitioners of railroad law” (Donald, p.155).

Item #21117.99, $325,000

Lincoln’s Spot Resolutions

[ABRAHAM LINCOLN], Newspaper. National Intelligencer, Thursday, December 23, 1847. Washington: Gales & Seaton . 4 pp. Offered with another issue of the National Intelligencer, January 20, 1848. 4 pp.

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Lincoln’s spot resolution and speech condemns the pretexts for starting the war with Mexico. He requests proof from President Polk that American blood was shed on American soil and that the enemy provoked the Americans, and he asks if those Americans present were ordered there by the United States Army.

Item #22094.01 -.02, $2,750

“Honest Abe” Lincoln Admits to Skirting the Truth with his Wife

ABRAHAM LINCOLN, Autograph Letter Signed, to John Rosette, editor of the Springfield Republican, February 20, 1857, Springfield, Ill. Headed “Private” in Lincoln’s hand. 1 p., 7½ x 9⅝ in.

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Headed “Private” in Lincoln’s hand, this unique letter reveals an awkward intersection of domestic and national politics and an instructive insight into the marriage of Abraham and Mary Todd Lincoln. Here, Lincoln admits to not being truthful with his wife on the small matter of purchasing a copy of a new partisan newspaper, a year before the famous Lincoln-Douglas debates. “When the paper was first brought to my house, my wife said to me ‘now are you going to take another worthless little paper,’ I said to her evasively, I had not directed the paper to be left. From this, in my absence, she sent the message to the carrier. This is the whole story.

Item #21190.99, $48,000

Lincoln Rises to Top of “The Political Gymnasium” in Currier & Ives 1860 Presidential Election Print

ABRAHAM LINCOLN, Print. The Political Gymnasium, lithograph cartoon. New York: Currier & Ives, 1860. Backed by linen. 1 p., 17½ x 12¾ in.

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Item #25454, $3,750

The 1858 Debates that Propelled Lincoln to National Attention

[ABRAHAM LINCOLN], Book. Political Debates Between Hon. Abraham Lincoln and Hon. Stephen A. Douglas, in the Celebrated Campaign of 1858, in Illinois. Columbus, Ohio: Follett, Foster, and Co., 1860. 3rd edition, with publisher’s advertisements bound in. 268 pp., 6½ x 9½ in.

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Item #22476, $1,500

An Early Lincoln Campaign Biography

JOHN LOCKE SCRIPPS, Pamphlet, “Tribune Tracts –No. 6. Life of Abraham Lincoln. Chapter 1. Early Life.” New York: Tribune, 1860. 32 pp. Original stitching intact, ads for The New York Tribune and the Tribune Almanac of 1860 on back cover, light age, small tear at bottom right not affecting text, minor chipping, otherwise good. 6 x 9¼ in.

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An early Lincoln campaign biography based on interviews with Lincoln associates in Springfield.

Item #20521, $650

Political Print of Abraham Lincoln Later Used in 1864 Election

[ABRAHAM LINCOLN]. GABRIEL KAEHRLE, Print. “Abraham Lincoln,” with excerpt from First Inaugural Address, ca. 1861-1864. 9¾ x 12 in.

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An unusual and possibly unique Lincoln portrait above patriotic banners and a quotation from his first inaugural address.

Item #25613, $2,400

Lincoln’s 1861 State of the Union Message

[ABRAHAM LINCOLN], Book. Message of the President of the United States to the Two Houses of Congress..., Volume 1, Washington: Government Printing Office, 1861. 839 pp., 5¾ x 8¾ in.

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Item #22671, $800

Reporting Lincoln’s Journey to Washington
for His Inauguration

[ABRAHAM LINCOLN], Newspaper. New York Times, New York, N.Y., February 23, 1861. 8 pp.

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Item #30000.79, $100

Lincoln Raises the Flag

[ABRAHAM LINCOLN], Newspaper. Harper’s Weekly, March 9, 1861. 16 pp., complete, disbound.

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President Lincoln hoisting the 34-star American flag on Independence Hall, Philadelphia, with his speech. United States arsenal at Little Rock, Arkansas surrendered to the state troops. Interior of the new dome of the capitol at Washington. Front view of Fort Pickens, Pensacola. Inauguration of Pres. Jefferson Davis at Montgomery, Alabama.

Item #H-3-9-1861, ON HOLD

Lincoln Calls for the public to supports the U.S. Sanitary Commission

[ABRAHAM LINCOLN]. HENRY W. BELLOWS, Printed Circular Letter, to “the Loyal Women of America.” Washington, D.C., October 1, 1861. 3 pp., 8 x 10 in.

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The Sanitary Commission is … of direct practical value to the nation, in this time of its trial. It is entitled to the gratitude and confidence of the people… There is no agency through which voluntary offerings of patriotism can be more effectively made.  A. Lincoln.

Item #24870, $950

Peter Cooper’s Letter to Lincoln Regarding Emancipation

PETER COOPER. [SLAVERY], Pamphlet. Letter of Peter Cooper, on Slave Emancipation, Loyal Publication Society, New York, 1862, 8pp., disbound.

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“It is a fact that the enslavement of human beings has so far infused its insidious poison into the very hearts of the Southern people, that they have come to believe and declare the evil of slavery to be a good, and to require the power of Government to be exerted to maintain, extend, and perpetuate an institution that enables thousands to sell their own children, to be enslaved, with all their posterity, into hopeless bondage....”

The founder of New York City’s Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art echoes the language and logic of the Emancipation Proclamation (as well as citing some Southern pro-slavery arguments to demonstrate their ridiculousness) in this open letter to President Lincoln. Cooper and the Cooper Union had long been advocates of abolition and both Lincoln and Frederick Douglass had famously lectured at the institution.

Item #23579, $400

Lincoln’s Compensated Emancipation Proposal

[ABRAHAM LINCOLN], Newspaper. Philadelphia Inquirer. Philadelphia, Pa., March 7, 1862. 8 pp., 15½ x 20½ in. With “Message from the President...Resolved, That the United States ought to co-operate with any State which may adopt gradual abolition of slavery.” [Printing Lincoln’s March 5 message to Congress on page 1.]

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The United States is the only nation in history to end slavery through Civil War. Nations as diverse as Russia, the British Empire, France, Brazil, and others around the world ended their reliance on slave labor through legislative means that included some form of compensation to slave owners for their lost “assets.” Here, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports on the front page that Lincoln presented a special message to Congress with a plan to end slavery through compensation. There would be no takers among the slaveholding border states.

Item #30001.28, $500

A Confederate Newspaper Prints Lincoln’s Response
to Horace Greeley’s Anti-Slavery Editorial

[ABRAHAM LINCOLN], Newspaper. Richmond Whig, Richmond, Va., August 30, 1862. 2 pp., 17 x 24 in.

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On the front page under “News from the North” is the text of Abraham Lincoln’s reply to New York Tribune editor Horace Greeley. Greeley’s letter urging Lincoln to emancipate all slaves in Union-held territory was known as “The Prayer of Twenty Millions.” It was first published on August 20, 1862. Lincoln responded on August 22, declaring that his paramount goal is to save the Union, regardless of its effect on slavery, as well as his personal views that all men should be free.

Item #30007.01, $650

Broadsheet of Lincoln’s 1862 State of the Union Message

ABRAHAM LINCOLN, Broadsheet, “Sentinel Extra” [place unknown[1]], ca. December 2, 1862, 9⅛ x 24 in. 2 pp.

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We cannot escape history… In giving freedom to the slave, we assure freedom to the free… We shall nobly save, or meanly lose, the last best, hope of earth...

One month before signing the Emancipation Proclamation, the president proposes colonization and his plan for compensated emancipation, discusses foreign affairs, reports on progress of the Pacific Railroad, the war and finance. This rare “Sentinel Extra” broadsheet (apparently unrecorded in OCLC) has other news of the day on the verso, including a fantastic article quoting General Meagher’s reaction to the resignation of several officers after McClellan was removed.

Item #22179, $5,500

Trial of Abraham Lincoln by the Great Statesmen of the Republic, a Mock Trial of President Lincoln for Treason

[ABRAHAM LINCOLN], Pamphlet. Trial of Abraham Lincoln by the Great Statesmen of the Republic. A Council of the Past on the Tyranny of the Present. The Spirit of the Constitution on the Bench—Abraham Lincoln, Prisoner at the Bar, his own Counsel. New York: Office of the Metropolitan Record, 1863. Original printed wrappers, stitched. 29, [3] pp. First Edition.

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In this creative pamphlet, Lincoln stands trial before a jury of his “peers,” former presidents and statesmen from American history, including Stephen A. Douglas, Daniel Webster, Henry Clay, John Hancock, Patrick Henry, Gouverneur Morris, Alexander Hamilton, John C. Calhoun, James Madison, George Mason, Elbridge Gerry, Andrew Jackson, Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, and William Gaston. The author compiles passages from their speeches in mock dialogue with the defendant Lincoln as they contradict his defenses against their charges.

Item #23743, $980

The Emancipation Proclamation, Gen. Orders No. 1, First Edition of First War Department Printing, Bound with First Editions of Gen. Orders 2-201, Jan. to June 1863

ABRAHAM LINCOLN, Printed Document. Emancipation Proclamation. Signed in type by Lincoln, Secretary of State William H. Seward, and Adjutant General Lorenzo Thomas. General Order No. 1, War Department, Adjutant General’s Office, Washington January 2, 1863, 3pp., intended for all military commanders in the field. Dated in print January 2, but, consistent with the time it normally took for military orders to be published, it likely came out closer to January 7. Earlier separate printings are very seldom available. (Eberstadt: Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation # 12.)

Bound together for Army paymaster Major N.S. Brinton with a 26-page handwritten subject index followed by separately printed and paginated orders from Jan. 1 to June 30, 1863. Brinton or a clerk apparently wrote the index as the orders were received. Since a printed index would have been available soon after the last order, it was likely bound in 1863. This sammelband also contains General Orders Affecting the Volunteer Force, Adjutant General’s Office, 1862. Washington: Government Printing office, [ca. March] 1863, with printed subject index, pp I – LVI, and pages 1-158.

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“All persons held as slaves within said designated States and parts of States are and henceforward shall be free.”

Also Bound with an 1863 Compilation of General Orders Affecting the Volunteer Force… for Jan. to June 1862, including the Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation.

Item #23692, $4,500
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