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Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln

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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

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 Pushes for Arkansas Without Slavery

ABRAHAM LINCOLN, Autograph Letter Signed as President, to Frederick Steele. Washington, D.C., January 27, 1864. 1 p., 7¾ x 9¾ in. On Executive Mansion stationery.

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After announcing his Proclamation of Amnesty and Reconstruction on December 8, 1863, Lincoln paid close attention to two Arkansas groups both aiming for reunion. Here, the president is concerned about potential conflicts with his plan, but in the end, both plans coincided in the key detail of ending slavery.

Item #22722, PRICE ON REQUEST

“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, ON HOLD

Rare Houston Texas Newspapers: the Juneteenth Order Freeing Slaves, Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, and Much More

Juneteenth, Newspaper. Houston Tri-Weekly Telegraph, July 19, 1865. Newspaper. Houston, TX: E. H. Cushing. 4 pp., folio. Partial loss of up to two lines at bottom, but not touching the full printing of the Emancipation Proclamation, issued by Lincoln on January 1, 1863 (p3/c2) or Union General Gordon Granger’s June 19, 1865 order implementing it. With Houston Tri-Weekly Telegraph, July 15, 1863, with belated printing of the Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation, issued by Lincoln on September 22, 1862.

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The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of [personal]rights and rights of property, between former masters and slaves and the connection heretofore existing between them, becomes that between employer and free laborer.

According to historian Henry Louis Gates, Juneteenth, first celebrated in 1866, initially was an “occasion for gathering lost family members” and “measuring progress against freedom.”[1] In 1980, Juneteenth became aholiday in Texas, the first emancipation celebration granted official state recognition, through the efforts of legislator Al Edwards. Juneteenth is now aholiday in the District of Columbia and forty-seven states—all but Hawaii, North Dakota, and South Dakota.



[1]Henry Louis Gates, “What is Juneteenth?” June 17, 2013, The Root.

Item #26129, PRICE ON REQUEST

President Lincoln Vouches for a Maryland Unionist Congressman

ABRAHAM LINCOLN, Autograph Letter Signed, to Robert C. Schenck, May 31, 1863, Washington, D.C. 1 p.

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I esteem Gov. Francis Thomas, as an able, and very true man. I do not know that he agrees with me in everything—perhaps he does not; but he has given me evidence of sincere friendship, & as I think, of patriotism.

Item #25464, $39,500

President Lincoln Seeks Appointment to Naval Academy for His Wife’s Young Cousin

ABRAHAM LINCOLN, Autograph Letter Signed, to Gideon Welles, August 21, 1863, Washington, D.C. 1 p., 4⅞ x 8 in.

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Item #25970.99, $17,500

Lincoln Endorses Petition from Border State Unionists

ABRAHAM LINCOLN, Autograph Endorsement Signed as President, ca. December 1864, on a manuscript petition, with two endorsements from Brigadier General Solomon Meredith. 2 pp., 7 x 9⅛ in.

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President Lincoln endorses a manuscript petition from border-state Unionists seeking the establishment of a permanent military post at Hickman, Kentucky. “Submitted to the Sec. of War who is requested to see the bearer. A Lincoln.

Item #21191.99, $12,000

A Union Officer’s Commission, and Field Report from
the 17th Connecticut Regiment at the Battle of Gettysburg

[CIVIL WAR – GETTYSBURG], Allen G. Brady, Autograph Manuscript, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, July 4, 1863. 6 pp., in pencil, an unsigned draft or retained copy.

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A field report from the Battle of Gettysburg by Major Allen G. Brady, commander of the 17th Connecticut Regiment, written on the 4th of July, 1863, the day after the battle ended in a great victory for the Union.

“We had not more than time to form before the enemy were discovered advancing rapidly upon us on our right & a full Brigade obliquely towards our left….our fire was so destructive it checked their advance the troops on our left giving way the enemy came in behind us but we still remained firmly at the stone wall until the rebels were driven back.”

Item #21808, $7,500

The Gettysburg Address – New York Semi-Weekly Tribune First Day of Printing

[ABRAHAM LINCOLN]. GETTYSBURG ADDRESS, New York Semi-Weekly Tribune, November 20, 1863. Newspaper. New York, N.Y.: Horace Greeley. 8 pp., 15½ x 20⅜ in.

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A rare first day of publication newspaper, with Lincoln’s timeless embodiment of American ideals prominently placed. From November 20, the day after the Address, this original issue starts with Edward Everett’s speech and a report on the ceremonies on page one, and includes Lincoln’s speech on the final page (making it possible to display both together).

Item #26142, $7,500

Miscegenation, or the Millennium of Abolitionism – Stirring Fear of Interracial Marriage Before 1864 Presidential Election

[ABRAHAM LINCOLN]. [RACISM], Print. “Miscegenation, or the Millennium of Abolitionism.” Political Cartoon. New York: Bromley & Co., 1864. 1 p., 20¾ x 13⅝ in.

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The second in a series of four racist political cartoons published in 1864 by Bromley & Company, which was closely affiliated with the Copperhead New York World newspaper. These prints sought to undermine Abraham Lincoln’s chances for reelection by branding him as a “miscegenationist” and playing on white fears of “race-mixing.” The cartoon scene pictures several interracial couples enjoying a day at the park, eating ice cream, discussing wedding plans, and a woman’s upcoming lecture. Two African American families have white employees, a carriage driver and footmen and a babysitter.

The only other example traced at auction brought $7,800 in 2010.

Item #25614, $6,500

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, $4,900

The Gettysburg Address – November 20, 1863 Rare First Day Printing by “Lincoln’s Dog” John Forney in the Philadelphia Press

[ABRAHAM LINCOLN]. GETTYSBURG ADDRESS, Newspaper, Philadelphia Press, Philadelphia, November 20, 1863. Complete, 4 pp., approx. 20¼ x 28 in.

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The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it far above our poor power to add or detract…

Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address is on page 2, along with Edward Everett’s entire speech, and a report on the ceremonies. Printed in an important newspaper owned by John Forney, this version is in some ways more accurate than the more widely spread Associated Press report.

Item #25971, $4,800

1865 General Orders,
Including Many Regarding Lincoln’s Assassination

[CIVIL WAR - WAR DEPARTMENT], Book. Bound collection of separately printed General Orders from the Adjutant General’s office for 1865. Containing 168 of 175 consecutive orders, and a 94-page index at front. Bound for Major General William Scott Ketchum, with his name in gilt on the spine and his markings or wartime notes on numerous pages. 4¾ x 7 in.

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Item #22265, $4,800

Frederick A. Aiken Urging Frémont to Run Against Lincoln

FREDERICK A. AIKEN, Autograph Letter Signed, to John C. Frémont, Washington, D.C., June 12, 1864. 2 pp. 7¾ x 9¾ in.

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With the war going badly, the 1864 election is no shoo-in for the incumbent.

Frederick A. Aiken, former Secretary of the Democratic National Convention, applauds General John C. Frémont’s nomination by the Radical Republicans. He suggests that Frémont will have the blessing of the Democrats if he goes up against Lincoln for the Republican nomination. Aiken went on to serve (unsuccessfully) as defense attorney for Lincoln assassination conspirator Mary Surratt.

Item #20715, $3,200

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: Large 1861 Inauguration Chromolithograph

[ABRAHAM LINCOLN], Chromolithograph. Presidents of the United States, [Philadelphia]: Published by F. Bouclet, lithographed by A. Feusier. Sheet size: 21 in. x 27 in. Image size: 24½ in. x 18¾ in.

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Item #25965, $2,600

Rare New York Senate Print of Proposed State Law to Combat the Dred Scott Decision

SLAVERY AND ABOLITION—NEW YORK STATE, New York Senate. “An Act To secure Freedom to all persons within this State,” Edward M. Madden, April 9, 1857, Passed the Assembly on April 17; failed in the Senate. Printed with numbered lines for the use of the Senate. 1 p., 6.5 x 11.5 in.

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Every slave … who shall come or be brought, or be involuntarily in this state shall be free.

Item #23389.07, $2,500

Gideon Welles Announces Lincoln’s Assassination to the Navy

[GIDEON WELLES], Printed Document Signed in print as Secretary of the Navy. General Order No. 51, Navy Department. Washington, D.C. April 15, 1865. Black border, issued just hours after the president’s death. One page with integral blank, 5½ x 8½ in.

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Item #23915, $2,500

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
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