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Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln

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John Rogers’s Famous Tribute to Lincoln: The Council of War

[CIVIL WAR]. JOHN ROGERS, Painted Plaster Sculpture. The Council of War. New York, N.Y., 1868. Signed “John Rogers, New York Patented March 31, 1868.”


John Rogers was the sculptor of the middle class in the second half of the nineteenth century. He was most famous for casting groups of figures in plaster and then painting them, with subjects mostly ordinary people or fictional characters. Occasionally he created groups of extraordinary people and events, and The Council of War is one such group. It depicts President Abraham Lincoln, Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton, and General Ulysses S. Grant discussing the Civil War while looking over a map or battle plan. Stanton himself suggested that Rogers make group, who described the scene as “one of the most interesting and appropriate occasions” for a sculpture. Some art historians have suggested it was a deliberate attempt to mend, at least publicly, his relationship with U.S. Grant. The work was later praised by Lincoln’s son Robert Todd Lincoln, who considered it to be the most lifelike portrait of his father in sculpture.

There are three versions of The Council of War, all slightly different and dependent on Stanton’s hands—at his side, behind Lincoln’s head, or forward of Lincoln’s head over the president’s shoulder. Ours is the latter example.

Item #23865, $10,000

“Let Us Have Faith that Right Makes Might…”

[ABRAHAM LINCOLN] SCHUYLER COLFAX, Autograph Quote Signed, from Lincoln’s Cooper Institute speech given on February 27, 1860. Sept 10, 1877.


Schuyler Colfax, U.S. representative from Indiana and vice president under Ulysses S. Grant, pens a famous quote from Lincoln’s Cooper Institute speech.

Item #23916, $950

A Chaplain of U.S. Colored Troops Declares
“ the idea of the war to me.”

[AFRICAN AMERICAN SOLDIERS]. SAMUEL STORROW HIGGINSON, Autograph Letter Signed, to [Clifford]. No date but evidently early Jan. 1865. On U.S. Christian Commission lettersheets, 8 pp., 4¾ x 8 in.


A scarce, lengthy, and eloquent missive from a noted chaplain of a distinguished black unit. Storrow Higginson, a Harvard-educated poet and writer who rubbed elbows with the Transcendentalists, writes a friend who has not yet embraced Emancipation hoping to bring him along.

Item #23323, $1,250

The First War Department Printing of the Emancipation Proclamation, Bound with 400-plus 1862-1863 General Orders, including the Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation

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 (but based on usual practice, more likely printed ca. January 7th.). 3pp.


This book of official War Department orders was bound together for Army paymaster Major N.S. Brinton.

Item #23692, $4,500

Rare Lincoln 1864 Presidential Campaign Newspaper

ABRAHAM LINCOLN, Newspaper. Father Abraham. Reading, PA: October 4, 1864. Vol 1, No 10. 4 pp., 17¾ x 11¾ in.


Item #23426, $1,250

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.


“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 Thanks Former Pro-Slavery and Newly Republican Congressman for a Fiery Anti-Slavery Speech at a Philadelphia Campaign Rally

ABRAHAM LINCOLN, Autograph Letter Signed, to John Hickman. Springfield, Ill., July 29, 1860. 1 p., 4½ x 7 in. With original envelope addressed to Hickman in Lincoln’s hand, with “Free” and “Springfield, IL July 30” postmark. [Lincoln didn’t have the franking privilege at the time, but it was free to send mail to members of Congress.]


John Hickman, a pro-slavery Pennsylvania Democrat, became fervently anti-slavery over Buchanan’s moves to expand slavery into Kansas. Hickman migrated into the “anti-Lecompton” wing of the Democratic party, then towards the Know Nothings, and finally becoming a founder of the Republican Party. In the May 1860 Wigwam convention that chose Lincoln as the Republican Presidential nominee, Hickman was a candidate for the vice presidency; he came in third, after Hannibal Hamlin and Cassius Clay.

At a July 24, 1860, Philadelphia rally, with the nominees in place, Congressman Hickman made his case in support of Lincoln and Hamlin against the “extravagant and unconstitutional demands” of the South regarding the expansion of slavery. “We can only make it effectual in one way—by the support of Mr. LINCOLN. He is honest and capable, and attached to the principles of the Constitution, and his election will assign limits to sectional oligarchy, and make labor honorable and remunerative....” Less than a week later, Lincoln received a copy of the speech from Hickman and thanked him with this brief letter. Clearly, the battle lines of the watershed election of 1860 had been drawn.

A significant portion of Hickman’s speech was soon printed in pamphlet form attached to Lincoln’s already famous Cooper Union speech. Titled The Republican party vindicated--the demands of the South explained : Speech of Hon. Abraham Lincoln, of Illinois, at the Cooper Institute, New York City, February 27, 1860. The pamphlet adds to Lincoln long excerpts from Hickman’s speech, pieces arguing against the Democratic candidate Stephen Douglas (“The Dred Scott Decision and Douglas’ Endorsement Thereof,” and “Practical Operation of Douglas’ ‘Non-Intervention.’”), and his running mate (“Herschel V. Johnson’s Views”).

To accompany our letter, we include a first edition of the pamphlet (#24290.03).  A digital copy of the whole pamphlet can also be seen:

Item #23781, $26,000

A Rare Abraham Lincoln Survey and Plat Plan

ABRAHAM LINCOLN, Autograph memorandum and plat (completely in Lincoln’s hand), unsigned. [Springfield, Ill.], between October 1837 – June 1838. 1 p., 7¾ x 6¼ in.


Between rail splitting, shop-keeping and lawyering, one of Lincoln’s lesser-known professions was as county surveyor. Here, he combines skills, representing the widow Rhoda Hart in legal proceedings involving the sale of her deceased husband’s land against a competing family member’s claims. Lincoln and Hart prevailed.

Most of Lincoln’s surveys were made for town and county governments rather than individuals land holders. As a result, unlike those of George Washington, very few Lincoln surveys have ever come on the market. We find only two, without land plats, in major auction records of the last 40 years (one selling at the 1979 Sang auction, and again at Sotheby’s in 1987; and the other, now being offered privately for $32,500, but frankly, it has no visual appeal.)

Item #23770, $25,000

The Gettysburg Address, with Full Centerfold Illustrations of the Battlefield and Lincoln’s Dedication Ceremony

[ABRAHAM LINCOLN]. GETTYSBURG ADDRESS, Newspaper, Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper, New York, December 5, 1863. 16 pp., complete.


“and that Government of the people, for the people, and for all people, shall not perish from earth.”

As printing technology advanced through the middle decades of the nineteenth century, illustrated newspapers grew in popularity even though their engravings added a few weeks to press time. Leslie’s printing—from December 5—includes an article containing the full text of Lincoln’s timeless speech (page 11). Illustrations include a centerfold spread with the formal dedication ceremony prominently placed, and smaller views of Union and rebel graves, defensive works, Meade’s headquarters, and a view of the town (centerfold).  A large illustration of “The War in Tennessee—Lookout Mountain and Its Vicinity” appears on the front page.

There is no definitive text that captures exactly how Lincoln spoke that day, though the AP reporter’s text is most familiar. Leslie’s printing, following the Philadelphia Enquirer version, contains variations, most notably in the final two sentences regarding the nation’s unfinished work and closing phrase of “Government of the people, for the people, and for all people” rather than “of the people, by the people, and for the people.”

Item #23577.01, $2,750

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.


“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.]


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

The Gettysburg Address – First Day of Printing, Lowell

[ABRAHAM LINCOLN]. GETTYSBURG ADDRESS, Newspaper, Lowell Daily Citizen & News, Lowell, Mass., November 20, 1863. 4 pp., 17 ½ x 23 in.


“It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us; that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they here gave the last full measure of devotion; that we here highly resolve that the dead shall not have died in vain...”

This rare first day of publication newspaper contains Lincoln’s timeless embodiment of American ideals on page 2. This printing from November 20, a day after the speech, includes a report on the ceremonies, and mentions Edward Everett’s speech (calling it “long,”). The text of this Massachusetts newspaper closely follows the Boston Daily Advertiser’s text, which varies slightly from the AP versions.

Item #23307, $10,000

The Gettysburg Address – Front Page News

GETTYSBURG ADDRESS, Newspaper, The New York Times, November 20, 1863. (Gettysburg Address on p. 1, col. 3. Reporting on the event starts on p. 1, col. 2. Everett’s speech on pp. 2-3.) 8 pp., 15¼ x 20¾ in.


“It is for us, the living, rather to be dedicated here to the refinished work that they have thus so far nobly carried on.”

A rare first day of publication newspaper, with Lincoln’s timeless embodiment of American ideals prominently placed. This printing from November 20, the day after the Address, contains Lincoln’s speech on the front page. This original issue also includes Edward Everett’s speech and a report on the ceremonies.

Item #23318, $9,500

Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address and the 13th Amendment Ratified

[ABRAHAM LINCOLN], Book. The Tribune Almanac and Political Register for 1866, New York, N.Y., The Tribune Association, 1865. 96pp., 5 x 7½ in.


Item #30007.002, $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.”


“Let us have faith that right makes might.”

Item #23139, $9,500

Lincoln Orders a National Day of Thanksgiving in Honor of the Union Victory at Gettysburg

[ABRAHAM LINCOLN]. [THANKSGIVING], Broadside. Proclamation of Thanksgiving. Massachusetts, [probably Boston], ca. July 27-August 6, 1862. 1 p., 20 x 28 in.


Lincoln’s first call for a national day of Thanksgiving.

Item #23584, $8,500

Frederick Douglass Signed Deed

FREDERICK DOUGLASS, Document Signed as Recorder of Deeds, Washington, D.C., 1881-1886. Approx. 3½ x 8½” folded.
Image shown is a sample. To request an image of the deed currently available please email us at


While Douglass’s letters are scarce, documents signed during his tenure as recorder of deeds for the District of Columbia can be had very reasonably.

Item #20409u, $495

Abraham Lincoln Mourning Stereoview

ABRAHAM LINCOLN, Photograph. Lincoln funerary stereoview. c. April 1865, E.F. Smith photographer, Boston, Mass.


Item #22051, $275

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.


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

As Congress Finally Considers an Anti-Slavery Amendment, Lincoln Decides That Sending a Presidential Message to Congress Would Not Help the Cause

ABRAHAM LINCOLN, Autograph Endorsement Signed as President, to John D. Defrees, Washington, D.C., February 8, 1864. On verso of an excellent content Autograph Letter Signed by Defrees, February 7, 1864.


Item #23199, $55,000
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