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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

Abraham Lincoln Lengthy and Attractive Signed Legal Brief in a Case Heard by Judge David Davis, Later Lincoln’s Campaign Manager and Supreme Court Appointee

ABRAHAM LINCOLN, Autograph Manuscript Signed by Lincoln as “Bush & Lincoln pq,” Narratio, March 1850, in the case of Matthews v. Saltonstall, April 1850 term of the Tazewell County Circuit Court. 2 ½ pp with approx. 670 words in Lincoln’s hand, blue paper.

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On September 20, 1849, William L. Saltonstall began building a road through Josiah Matthews’ land, southwest of Tremont, Illinois. Matthews objected and retained Abraham Lincoln and local attorney John M. Bush to file suit against in the Tazewell County Circuit Court, at the newly constructed courthouse in Pekin, on March 9, 1850. Matthews sued in the action of trespass and requested $500 for damage to his land. Saltonstall retained Lincoln’s former partner John T. Stuart and local attorney Benjamin F. James. In an affidavit filed on April 6, they declared that Guerdon F. Saltonstall could testify that six years earlier, when he owned the land, he and Matthews agreed that a lane be left along Matthews’ property as a right-of-way. Pending his testimony, the judge ordered a continuance. Both parties then agreed to arbitration, and on June 4, 1850, Matthews agreed that a right of way was necessary, and Saltonstall agreed to pay actual damages to be set by the arbitrators.  Three arbitrators viewed the land and listened to testimony. On June 12, they rendered their decision that Saltonstall should pay Matthews $16 and also pay $5.90 for the costs of the arbitration. At the September 1850 term of the Tazewell County Circuit Court, Judge David Davis dismissed the case, ordering Matthews to pay $2.40 in court costs.

Item #24513, $11,500

“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

1858 Student Banner Supporting Douglas in Lincoln Douglas Debate at Knox College

[LINCOLN-DOUGLAS DEBATES], Campaign Banner Presented by the Democratic Students of Lombard University to Stephen A. Douglas before Galesburg Debate at Knox College, October 7, 1858. 28 x 28 in.

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This incredibly rare silk and wool banner consisting of two panels with a horizontal seam across the middle has an embroidered woolen wreath around the inscription in red ink, “From the Democracy / of / Lombard University / to / Stephen A. Douglas.” This banner joins the Kansas State Historical Society’s Lincoln banner as one of only two known “debate trophies” specifically tied to one of the participants.

Item #24949, $60,000

A Rare 1860 Campaign Song Sheet, Lincoln Grand March

[ABRAHAM LINCOLN], F[rederick] W. Rauch, Song Sheet. Lincoln Grand March. Cincinnati, Ohio, 1860, 5 pp. 10 x 12⅝ in. Printed in tan and black.

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Item #24348, $1,100

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

A New York Newspaper Prints Lincoln’s Cooper Union Speech on the Front Page

ABRAHAM LINCOLN, Newspaper. New York Semi-Weekly Tribune, New York, N.Y., February 28, 1860, 8 pp., disbound. The complete text of Lincoln’s speech is printed under the headline: “NATIONAL POLITICS, A Speech, Delivered at the Cooper Institute Last Evening, by, ABRAHAM LINCOLN, of Illinois.”

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“Let us have faith that right makes might.”

Item #23139, $7,500

1860 Republican Party Roll Call from the Chicago Wigwam Convention that Nominated Lincoln for the Presidency

[REPUBLICAN PARTY], Broadside, “Roll of the National Republican Convention, Chicago, May 16th, 1860,” Chicago, 1860, 14⅜ x 20½ in.

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Exceedingly rare broadside containing a complete list of the members of the National Committee and Delegates. Printing the vote counts of 26 States and the District of Columbia. Representing the southern slave owning states are: Delaware, Kentucky, Maryland, Texas, and Virginia.

Item #24111, $3,750

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

President-Elect Lincoln Gets Back-Channel Update from Fort Sumter

ABRAHAM LINCOLN, Autograph Letter Signed, to Ulysses Doubleday, January 24, 1861, Springfield, Illinois. 1 p., 4¾ x 7¾ in. Archivally framed 28 x 26 in.

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Captain Abner Doubleday, in Fort Sumter during the perilous winter of 1860-1861, wrote his brother Ulysses in New York about disagreements with his commanding officer, Major Robert Anderson. Ulysses forwarded some of these letters to President-Elect Lincoln in Springfield, who was closely monitoring the situation in the harbor of Charleston, South Carolina. The shots fired there three months later began the Civil War.

Item #25705, $30,000

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

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
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