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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

Abraham Lincoln’s First Step to Passing the Bar:
Certifying that He was “a Man of Good Moral Character”

[ABRAHAM LINCOLN], Book. Minute book of the Sangamon County Circuit Court. Springfield, Ill., July 6, 1835 to July 7, 1838. 315 manuscript pages in the hand of Court Clerk William Butler, 7½ x 12¼ in.

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A day-to-day accounting of the cases before the Sangamon County Circuit Court, this manuscript minute book offers insight into Abraham Lincoln’s legal world. He is mentioned by name in two entries, and although not named, many of his other cases can be cross-referenced. The most important entry came on March 24, 1836, when he took the first step in formal legal certification:

“Ordered that it be certified as to all whom it may concern that Abraham Lincoln is a man of good moral character.”

Item #23644, $35,000

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, $390,000

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

Abraham Lincoln Legal Brief Just After His First Law Partner Left For Congress

ABRAHAM LINCOLN, Autograph Manuscript Signed “Stuart & Lincoln” (meaning the entire text and signature was penned by Lincoln), Sangamon County, Illinois, after November 4, 1839. 2 pp. 7⅝ x 12½ in.

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“Yet the said defendant (although often requested so to do) hath not as yet paid the said several sums of money or either of them  or any part thereof, bus so to do, hath hitherto wholly neglected and refuse- to the damage of the said plaintiffs of five hundred dollars and therefore they sue…

Stuart & Lincoln p.q….”

A complaint on behalf of Lincoln’s and Stuart’s client, Neff, Wanton & Company, against Josiah Francis, an Athens storekeeper. On March 13, 1837, Francis purchased $319.21 worth of goods on 6 months credit, which he failed to pay. On November 4, 1839, he agreed to pay a further $45.45 for interest and penalties. Here, Lincoln recites the history, notes they still haven’t been paid, and claims $500 in damages. Lincoln was involved in a second suit against Josiah Francis in 1841, after Francis bought a building and failed to pay on time. Francis served in the Illinois legislature, and founded the Sangamo Journal, which his brother edited.

Item #23827, $11,000

Lincoln Defends Guilty Client Against Breaking and Entering Charge Brought by Chester Moon, Who Lincoln Beat a Year Later in a Case of Assault with a Deadly Weapon

ABRAHAM LINCOLN, Autograph Manuscript Signed by Lincoln as “Lincoln & Herndon.” Bottom portion of Plea, Joinder, and Notice, in the case of Moon v. Preston, June 1845. ½ p., 4½ x 7¾ in. Small repair to chips and archival Japanese tissue reinforcement to crease on verso.

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In May 1845, Chester Moon filed suit against Isaac Preston in the Menard County Circuit Court for trespass and requested $150 in damages. Moon charged that in October 1844, Preston broke into a dwelling house that Moon owned and “made a great noise and disturbance therein” and continued for “thirty entire days.” In doing so, Preston “broke to pieces, damaged, and spoiled” two doors and broke the glass, sashes, and shutters of the windows.  During the entire time, Moon and his family were “not only greatly annoyed and disturbed” but Preston’s actions prevented Moon from “carrying on and transacting therein his lawful and necessary affairs and business.”

Item #24544.01, $5,750

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

Lincoln Tops the Field in 1860 Presidential Election
Currier & Ives

[ABRAHAM LINCOLN], Print. The Political Gymnasium. New York: Currier & Ives, 1860. 18 x 13½ in.

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The 1860 presidential candidates flex their muscles, so to speak, along with New York Tribune editor Horace Greeley, who struggles to do a pull-up in his effort to gain the New York governorship. Lincoln, easily astride his own bar, offers advice: “You must do as I did, Greely, get somebody to give you a boost. I’m sure I never could have got up here by my own efforts.” New York Courier editor James Watson Webb attempts a backward somersault, while defeated Republican opponent (and future Secretary of State) William Seward appears on crutches, along with John Bell supported by Edward Everett, while Stephen Douglas and John Breckenridge box over slavery.

Item #23646, $5,500

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, $9,500

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

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

Despite Treason Accusation, Lincoln Can’t Fire a Lt. Col. Appointed by NY Governor

ABRAHAM LINCOLN, Autograph Letter Signed as President (“A. Lincoln”), December 28, 1861, Executive Mansion, Washington, D.C., to Henry Liebenau, Esq. 1 page, 5 x 8 in.

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“The appeal must be made, if at all, to the Governor.”

Item #24189, $22,000

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 Summons His Cabinet for a Historic Meeting to Discuss Compensated Emancipation

ABRAHAM LINCOLN, Autograph Letter Signed, as President, to Secretary of State William H. Seward, “Executive Mansion,” Washington, D.C., March 5, 1862. Signed at bottom by “William H. Seward,” with a note in an unidentified contemporary hand. 1 p. 4¾ x 7¼ in.

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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 slaveowners for their lost “assets.” Here, President Lincoln requests that Secretary of State William Seward summon a meeting of the Cabinet. The following day, the president presented a special message to Congress with his plan end slavery through compensation. There were no takers among the slaveholding border states. The brevity of Lincoln’s letter belies its far-reaching implications and the tantalizing possibilities of “what might have been.”

Item #23747, $90,000

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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