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Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln

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Abolishing Slavery: The 13th Amendment 1865 Broadside

THIRTEENTH AMENDMENT, Print. The Triumph of Freedom Over Slavery. 13th Amendment. New York, N.Y., J. Gibson, 1865. 1 p., 17 ½ x 23 ½ in.


“Neither Slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime, whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States…”

This celebratory printing of the 13th amendment was engraved in 1865 to commemorate the amendment’s approval by both houses of Congress, which then sent it to the states for ratification. The amendment outlawing slavery and involuntary servitude was the first change made to the Constitution in over sixty years, and the first substantive change to America’s conception of its liberties since the Bill of Rights was ratified in 1791. With vignettes “Equal Justice to All,” “Virtue, Liberty & Independence,” and the federal eagle heading the print, and smaller vignettes and slogans within the decorative border.

The signatures were engraved after one of the original manuscript souvenir copies that were passed around Congress in early February 1865. Seth Kaller acquired that manuscript original for the Gilder Lehrman Collection in 1990. The signatures here follow that order exactly, but for a couple Senators and Congressmen who were absent for the signing of the souvenir copies. They are added here. Oregon Senator Benjamin Harding had voted for the amendment in 1864 but was granted a leave of absence from the Senate on January 30, 1865, for the remainder of the session ending March 3. Maine Senator William Fessenden had voted for the amendment but was named Lincoln’s Treasury Secretary in July 1864 and did not return to the Senate until March 1865.  

Item #23733, $4,400

Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation - First War Department Printing

ABRAHAM LINCOLN, Printed Document. General Order No. 139, US War Department, September 24, 1862. (but typically printed a week or two later). Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation. Signed in type by Lincoln, Secretary of State William H. Seward, and Adjutant General Lorenzo Thomas. Printed Washington DC: Government Printing Office, September 24, 1862. 3 pages, 7½ x 5 inches, on one folded sheet; stitch holes.


Item #23643, $2,250

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.

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 Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation - Rare Pocket Edition

ABRAHAM LINCOLN, Pamphlet. The Proclamation of Emancipation, by the President of the United States, to Take Effect January 1st, 1863. [Boston, Mass., John Murray Forbes, December, 1862]. 7 pp., 2⅛ x 3¼ in.


“All persons held as slaves within said designated states and parts of states are, and henceforward shall be, free…”

Distributed in the North and issued to soldiers in the field, this miniature preliminary Emancipation Proclamation of September 22, 1862 is the only contemporary printing of Lincoln’s great text in separate pamphlet form. As evidence of slavery’s role in the war and Confederacy, a quote from the Confederate Vice President is printed on the rear wrapper: “Slavery the Chief Corner-Stone. / ‘This stone (slavery), which was rejected by the first builders, is become the chief stone of the corner in our new edifice.’ – Speech of Alex. H. Stephens, Vice President of the so-called Confederate States, delivered March 31, ’61.”

One million copies were allegedly printed by John Murray Forbes, to be distributed throughout the North and extensively to blacks in the South via Union troops. Given this pamphlet’s rarity, that number seems highly unlikely. Though several more have since been found, in 1950 pioneering bibliographer and dealer Charles Eberstadt located but seven surviving copies of the preliminary edition and three of the corresponding version of the final proclamation.

Item #23779, $22,500

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 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.


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

Abraham Lincoln as Champion of The National Game: Rare Currier & Ives 1860 Election Print

[BASEBALL; ABRAHAM LINCOLN], Lithograph (attributed to Louis Maurer). The National Game. Three ‘Outs’ and One ‘Run.’ Abraham Winning the Ball. New York, N.Y., Currier & Ives, 1860. 16 x 11¾ in.


From the year baseball stepped forward as the national sport: Lincoln, the ‘Rail Splitter,’ is depicted as a victorious player, with candidates Bell, Douglas and Breckinridge looking on. This not only is the first identified reference of baseball as the “national game,” but also can be considered the start of the tradition of sports metaphors in American politics.

Item #23645, $13,500

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

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.


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

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
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