Abraham Lincoln: A History

Abraham LINCOLN   |   John G. NICOLAY

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Item#: 125039 price:$135,000.00

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AN EXTRAORDINARY AND UNIQUE CIVIL WAR COLLECTION: MONUMENTAL BIOGRAPHY OF LINCOLN, EXTRA-ILLUSTRATED WITH MORE THAN 140 CIVIL WAR ERA PHOTOGRAPHS AND MORE THAN 60 SIGNATURES, INSCRIPTIONS, LETTERS AND DOCUMENTS OF THE MOST IMPORTANT POLITICIANS, MILITARY LEADERS, AND CULTURAL FIGURES OF THE CIVIL WAR, INCLUDING LINCOLN TWICE, SHERMAN, STONEWALL JACKSON, GRANT, LEE, FREDERICK DOUGLASS, AND JOHN WILKES BOOTH, WITH ADDITIONAL EPHEMERA, IN 20 FINELY BOUND VOLUMES

LINCOLN, Abraham. Abraham Lincoln: A History. New York: Century, 1890. Ten volumes bound in twenty. Octavo, modern full red morocco gilt, marbled endpapers, all edges gilt. $135,000.

First edition of this magisterial biography, with ten frontispiece portraits of Lincoln, numerous maps and diagrams and over 300 wood-engraved illustrations, mostly portraits of dignitaries—many produced from Mathew Brady photographs—handsomely bound by Sangorski and Sutcliffe. This copy extra-illustrated with over 140 original, Civil-War era albumen photographs, including several of Lincoln from cartes-de-visite; engravings (several in color); maps; Civil War ephemera, a handbill from Lincoln’s first presidential election; and with tipped-in signatures, inscriptions, letters and documents of more than 60 important figures in Civil War history, including: an autograph note signed by Lincoln and an autograph document signed by Lincoln; inscriptions of Stephen Douglas, Daniel Webster, Stonewall Jackson, Frederick Douglass, William Tecumseh Sherman, Ulysses S. Grant (one signature, one inscription), Robert E. Lee, John Wilkes Booth, Ralph Waldo Emerson; signatures of Horace Greeley, Andrew Johnson, and many others.

This early and definitive biography of Lincoln was the result of 15 years of collaboration by Lincoln's private secretaries, John Nicolay and John Hay. "The plan was conceived in 1861; and before they began to write Nicolay had spent six years in collecting and arranging the elaborate mass of Lincoln papers loaned by Robert Lincoln… Prepared under the scrutiny of Robert Lincoln, and written by Republicans who were 'Lincoln men all through,' the work… stands as an impressive monument, not only because of the vastness of the undertaking, but also because of its enduring historical significance" (DAB). Monaghan I:1071. With an extraordinary, unique collection of tipped-in ephemera such as presidential campaign flyers and advertisements (including a Lincoln-Hamlin handbill from the 1860 election); more than 140 contemporary original photographs of the most notable figures in Lincoln's life and during the Civil War, including many carte-de-visite photographs; engravings of people and battle scenes; maps; and more than 60 autographs. The autograph document signed by Lincoln dates from his days as a lawyer in Illinois on the circuit court, and involves a case of contract law. This document, entirely in Lincoln's hand, reads: "John Durley vs. Jess Mitts & Japhet A. Ball. Trespass on the case upon promises. Damage $200.00. The clerk of the Sangamon Circuit Court will issue process in the above entitled cause returnable to the next term of said court. Aug. 28 1838. Stuart & Lincoln. For. Plff [plaintiff]." The autograph note signed by Lincoln dates from his presidency, and concerns a request from a young woman for a job. The letter is on the recto, and Lincoln's note on the verso reads: "I would be very glad for Miss Hebb to be obliged, if it is at all convenient. A. Lincoln. Feb. 23, 1863." Among the photographs in the collection is the last studio photograph taken of Lincoln, a tender scene of himself with his son Tad, taken by Anthony Berger at Mathew Brady's gallery on February 9, 1864. This collection contains signatures, signed documents and letters of: John Hay (autograph letter signed); Stephen Douglas (autograph note signed); Robert Todd Lincoln (autograph letter signed); Salmon P. Chase; Abraham Lincoln (autograph document signed); Horace Greeley; Schuyler Colfax; Mary Ann Brown (inscribed); Gerrit Smith; William Cullen Bryant; Samuel H. Treat (document in secretarial hand signed by him); Hannibal Hamlin (inscribed); Daniel Webster (inscribed); Roger B. Taney; Gideon Welles (inscribed); General Thomas L. "Stonewall" Jackson: (inscribed); Bayard Taylor (inscribed); Rear Admiral John Dahlgren (inscribed); Major General George Stoneman (inscribed); Brigadier General Don Carlos Buell; William Gannaway Brownlow (inscribed); Simon Cameron (inscribed); George Bancroft; Rear Admiral Louis Malesherbes Goldsborough (inscribed); Brevet Brigadier General Anson G. McCook (inscribed); Major General Samuel P. Heintzelman (inscribed); Major General John Pope (inscribed); Charles Francis Adams; Major General George G. Meade (inscribed); George S. Boutwell (inscribed); William B. Allison; William H. Seward; Major General Philip Henry Sheridan (inscribed); Major General William S. Rosecrans; Dr. Henry W. Bellows (inscribed); Frederick Douglass (inscribed); Abraham Lincoln (autograph note signed); Henry Wolf; Andrew Gregg Curtin (inscribed); Henry Wilson (inscribed); Rear Admiral Samuel Francis Du Pont; General William Tecumseh Sherman (inscribed); Major General James B. McPherson; Rear Admiral David G. Farragut (inscribed); Major General John Sedgwick (inscribed); John Bright; Lord Palmerston; Major General William Buel Franklin (inscribed); General Ulysses S. Grant: (inscribed); Brigadier General Robert O. Tyler (inscribed); General Robert Schenck; James G. Blaine; Horatio Seymour; General O.O. Howard; Edward Bates; Hugh McCulloch; General Robert E. Lee (inscribed); General Ulysses S. Grant; John Wilkes Booth (inscribed); Andrew Johnson; Ralph Waldo Emerson (inscribed); John Townsend Trowbridge, autograph poem signed.

Guide to signatures and autographs:

Volume I:

Frontispiece: Abraham Lincoln (not Lincoln's real signature) xiv: John Hay: three page autograph letter signed by co-author of book on black-bordered mourning stationary. Its recipient was William H. Riding, editor of The Youth's Companion, a popular magazine for boys. The letter reads: "506 Euclid Ave. Cleveland, Ohio Jan 5. Dear Mr. Riding: I thought nothing could have tempted me to sign another piece of verse—but I counted without your letter. I gave way long before the end of the seventh page. I send you a little ballad which I hope you may find not unsuitable to your columns. The price you mention is more than I think it is worth—use your discretion about it. I do not want to "bear" the poetic market. If I can spare any time for the sketches you mention, I will try one or two, but I advise you not to depend on me. I have given & shall give for a good while to come all my time to my history. I inclose a check for $1.75 for a year's subscription. My children insisted on it the moment they saw the paper. I am flattered at your remembering our brief acquaintance of years ago in the Tribune. It has added interest to the article, which I have frequently since then read from your pen. I hope we may renew it one day. Yours sincerely, John Hay."

62: Stephen Douglas: autograph note signed by Lincoln's political rival: "Mr. Gibbs will allow my friends Mr. Grange & Mr. Pearson house tickets to the 4th. Affably, S. Douglas. Feby 25th, 1847."

75: Robert Todd Lincoln: three page autograph letter signed by the president's son while Ambassador to the Court of St. James. Its recipient was William H. Riding, and concerns a request for Lincoln to answer some questions for The Youth's Companion: "London 20 Jany 1892. 2 Cromwell Houses. S.W. Dear Sir: I have your letter of the 5th ___. While I appreciate the liberality of your suggestion, I am forced to decline your invitation. I long ago determined to abstain absolutely from all part in the large amount of literature concerning my father, except giving such help as I might to Messrs. Nicolay and Hay, whose work _____ has entirely been published. Thank you for your offer. I am very truly yours, Robert T. Lincoln. William H. Riding, Esq. Boston."

360: Salmon P. Chase (senator, Secretary of the Treasury, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court during Lincoln's term)

Volume II:

Frontispiece: Document concerning a legal case handled by the law firm of Lincoln and his partner, John Todd Stuart. All in Lincoln's hand: "John Durley vs. Jess Mitts & Japhet A. Ball. Trespass on the case upon promises. Damage $200.00. The clerk of the Sangamon Circuit Court will issue process in the above entitled cause returnable to the next term of said court. Aug. 28 1838. Stuart & Lincoln. For. Plff [plaintiff]." On verso is court clerk's notation in another hand.

52: Horace Greeley (newspaper editor and founder of the Republican party)

139: Schuyler Colfax (Congressional representative; Speaker of the House while Lincoln was president)

190: Mary Ann Brown (widow of abolitionist John Brown): "Mrs. John Brown. Santa Clara Co. Cal."

199: Gerrit Smith (John Brown's lawyer)

217: William Cullen Bryant (poet and Lincoln supporter)

Frontispiece part II: Samuel H. Treat (U.S. District Judge; prominent Illinois lawyer; friend of Lincoln): a document in secretarial hand signed by Treat.

279: Hannibal Hamlin (Lincoln's first vice-president): "Yours Truly H. Hamlin."

Volume III:

24: Daniel Webster: "Daniel Webster U.S. Senate."

344: Roger B. Taney (Chief Justice of the Supreme Court during Lincoln's term)

372: Gideon Welles (Secretary of the Navy during Lincoln's term): "Respectfully, Gideon Wells."

Volume IV:

Facing copyright page: General Thomas L. "Stonewall" Jackson: "…be discouraged. Your much attached friend, T.J. Jackson. Col M. L. Jackson."

107: Bayard Taylor (poet, newspaper correspondent): "Very truly yours, Bayard Taylor. New York. Dec. 6, 1866."

141: Rear Admiral John Dahlgren: "Most Truly Yours John A. Dahlgren."

268: Queen Victoria (secretarial signature: "The Queen")

440: Major General George Stoneman (Union cavalry general; Governor of California): "George Stoneman Maj. Genl."

Volume V:

70: Brigadier General Don Carlos Buell

80: William Gannaway Brownlow (newspaper editor; Governor of Tennessee): "W.G. Brownlow of Knoxville, Tenn."

123: Simon Cameron (Lincoln's Secretary of War; U.S. Senator; Adjutant General of PA): "Very truly yours, Simon Cameron."

202: George Bancroft (Secretary of the Navy; Secretary of War; scholar)

234:Rear Admiral Louis Malesherbes Goldsborough: "L.M. Goldsborough, Rear Admiral."

333: Brevet Brigadier General Anson G. McCook (secretary of the U.S. Senate, one of the famous "fighting McCooks" of the Civil War. Engraving is of his brother, Major General Alexander McCook): "Anson G. McCook, New York City N.Y. March 22nd 1887."

367: Major General Samuel P. Heintzelman: "Feb. 3rd 1864. S.P. Heintzelman, Major Genl."

Volume VI:

1: Major General John Pope: "John Pope Maj General USA."

50: Charles Francis Adams (Lincoln's Ambassador to the Court of St. James; son of John Quincy Adams, father of Henry Adams)

140: Major General George G. Meade: "Geo G. Meade. Maj. Genl. of US."

164: George S. Boutwell (congressman, senator, governor of Massachusetts, secretary of the treasury): "Very Respectfully, Geo. S. Boutwell."

245: William B. Allison (Iowa senator): W.B. Allison NY."

253: William H. Seward (senator, governor of New York, Lincoln's secretary of state).

278: Major General Philip Henry Sheridan: "Phil. H. Sheridan. Maj Genl."

281: Major General William S. Rosecrans

330: Dr. Henry W. Bellows: "Henry W. Bellows. New York. Nov. 12, 1876."

463: Frederick Douglass: "Truly Yours, Fredk. Douglass. 1888."

Volume VII:

Frontispiece: Abraham Lincoln, autograph note signed ("I would be very glad for Miss Hebb to be obliged, if it is at all convenient. A. Lincoln. Feb. 23, 1863", in a note to New York governor George Boutwell)

1: Henry Wolf (engraver)

3: Andrew Gregg Curtin (governor of Pennsylvania): "A.G. Curtin. Gov. Penns."

4: Henry Wilson (senator, Grant's Vice President): "Henry Wilson, Mass—"

58: Rear Admiral Samuel Francis Du Pont

123: General William Tecumseh Sherman: "W.T. Sherman. General."

148: Major General James B. McPherson

314: Rear Admiral David G. Farragut: "Very Respectfully, D.G. Farragut. Rear Admiral."

Volume VIII:

243: Major General John Sedgwick: "John Sedgwick, Maj. General."

261: John Bright (British statesman)

274: Lord Palmerston (pro-confederacy British Prime Minister during the Civil War. Full name is Henry John Temple, Viscount Palmerston)

294: Major General William Buel Franklin: "W.B. Franklin. Maj Genl.___19___"

326: General Ulysses S. Grant: "U.S. Grant. Lt. Gen. USA."

404: Brigadier General Robert O. Tyler: "R.O. Tyler Brig Genl."

460: General Robert Schenck

Volume IX:

56: James G. Blaine (Congressman; Speaker of the House; Senator; Secretary of State)

260: Horatio Seymour (Governor of New York; Democratic nominee for president in 1868)

277: General O.O. Howard

343: Edward Bates (Lincoln's Attorney General)

349: Hugh McCulloch (Secretary of the Treasury)

Volume X:

175: General Robert E. Lee ("I am with great respect your obedient R. E. Lee.")

Frontispiece, part II: General Ulysses S. Grant

290: John Wilkes Booth ("Yours truly J. Wilkes Booth")

317: Andrew Johnson

348: Ralph Waldo Emerson ("Your affectionate servant R.W. Emerson")

354: John Townsend Trowbridge, autograph poem ("Abraham Lincoln") signed: Heroic soul, in homely garb half hid, Sincere, sagacious, melancholy, quaint; What he endured, no less than what he did, Has reared his monument, and crowned him saint. J.T. Trowbridge.

A magnificent set in fine condition.

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