"A HOUSE DIVIDED AGAINST ITSELF CANNOT STAND": FIRST EDITION, FIRST ISSUE, OF THE LINCOLN-DOUGLAS DEBATES, 1860, AN EXTRAORDINARY COPY
LINCOLN-DOUGLAS DEBATES LINCOLN, Abraham. Political Debates Between Hon. Abraham Lincoln and Hon. Stephen A. Douglas, In the Celebrated Campaign of 1858, in Illinois. Columbus: Follett, Foster, 1860. Octavo, original brown blind-stamped cloth. Housed in custom clamshell box. $12,000.
First edition, first issue, of the most famous debates in American history, the event that transformed Lincoln into a national presidential candidate, a beautiful copy housed in a custom half morocco clamshell box.
Running as a little-known candidate for the Illinois senatorship in 1858, Lincoln challenged incumbent and Democratic leader Stephen Douglas to a series of debates. The result was a memorable chain of lively arguments in front of cheering crowds. Though Lincoln lost the senatorial race, "he began collecting a scrapbook of his best speeches, particularly those from the just-concluded campaign against Douglas, for possible inclusion in a book. Assiduously pasting newspaper accounts of the debates into the scrapbook, Lincoln cast about for a publisher. Initial efforts failed, mainly because Lincoln wanted the book printed in Springfield, which had no local publishing or printing facilities. Eventually, however, the Columbus, Ohio, firm of Follett, Foster & Company showed interest, and he began preparing the first edition… Somewhat surprisingly for an attorney, Lincoln did not seek Douglas' permission to publish a book of their combined speeches, although Douglas was later given the last-minute opportunity—he declined—to make corrections to his own remarks" (Morris, 121). First issue, with no advertisements, no rule above the publisher's imprint on the copyright page, and with numeral 2 at the bottom of page 17. Monaghan 69. Wessen, Debates of Lincoln and Douglas, 91-106. Howes L338. Sabin 41156. See McMurtry, Different Editions (1934). Early owner signature above title page. Bookseller ticket.
Interior with virtually none of the usual foxing, only tiny bit of edge-wear to preliminary blank, original cloth exceptionally beautiful. One of the finest copies we've ever seen.