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    Sale 2265

    Americana: Printed and Manuscript, Including Abraham Lincoln's 1864 Victory Speech: The Original Handwritten Manuscript

    12 February 2009, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 39

    [LINCOLN, Abraham.] DOOLITTLE, William H. (1844-1904). Manuscript diary, 1865-1867, 1880. Approximately 106 pages (12 pages blank), a small 4to (7 7/8 x 6 3/8in.) composition book, cloth boards, leather spine, paper label on front cover. [WITH:] DOOLITTLE. Small, leather-bound pocket diary, 1860-1861. 12mo (3¾ x 2 3/8in.), soft leather wrappers, with small strap (frayed) for closing; entries in pencil and ink, some pages torn (hinges weak); and a LS from J. Morton to Doolittle, 21 April 1880. 1p., 8vo (severed at crease). On a patronage application.

    Price Realised  

    [LINCOLN, Abraham.] DOOLITTLE, William H. (1844-1904). Manuscript diary, 1865-1867, 1880. Approximately 106 pages (12 pages blank), a small 4to (7 7/8 x 6 3/8in.) composition book, cloth boards, leather spine, paper label on front cover. [WITH:] DOOLITTLE. Small, leather-bound pocket diary, 1860-1861. 12mo (3¾ x 2 3/8in.), soft leather wrappers, with small strap (frayed) for closing; entries in pencil and ink, some pages torn (hinges weak); and a LS from J. Morton to Doolittle, 21 April 1880. 1p., 8vo (severed at crease). On a patronage application.

    "HE...WAS IN THE ROOM WHEN THE PRESIDENT DIED..."

    A CIVIL WAR DIARY FROM THE SECESSION CRISIS TO LINCOLN'S ASSASSINATION. Doolittle was a pro-Union, college student from Ohio, studying in Washington at the outbreak of the Civil War. He served in the 141st Pennsylvania Volunteers, was wounded at Chancellorsville and discharged in 1864 and spent the remainder of the war working as a clerk in the War Department. In his Washington rooming house on the night of 14 April 1865, he hears of Lincoln's shooting. His friend and roommate Harry (also a War Dept. staffer) is summoned to the scene: "The night of Good Friday, the 14th , witnessed the most horrible event since the crucifixion of our Savior....We heard the terrible news at our house between twelve and one o'clock at night. At that time we were awakened by a great rattling at the front door. I rushed down and found it to be an Officer from the War Department who wished to see Harry immediately... The Secretary wished to see him at once. He left us and was on duty all night at the house where the President died, was kept busy with many things, and was in the room when the President died, and marched with a few others behind the house, when they conveyed the dead body of the President to the White House. There was no sleep for us the rest of that sad night." Doolittle describes viewing Lincoln's body as it lay in state: "The thin features of that good man's rugged countenance appeared in deep and calm repose."

    Earlier, in a much happier vein, he describes meeting Lincoln at the public reception following the Second Inaugural: "[March 7:] The night of the 4th Mr Torrey & Jennie, Pa & Lide, Miss Torrey & myself attended the President's reception. Waited an hour and a half before we were able to gain admittance. Had a grand crushing time of it. All shook hands with Mr. Lincoln who was very cordial. Mrs. Lincoln was supported by Admiral Farragut. She was stiff as a stick." Doolittle also records a visit to Robert E. Lee's abandoned estate in Arlington.

    The small leather diary contains several interesting entries about the secession crisis of 1860-61: "This New Year dawns upon our country in the gloomiest day since its establishment. South Carolina, the petted and spoilt child, now threatens to break up the happy household of States and sever every family tie....As for the sentiment of the north they [Southerners] would gag every freeman's mouth before they would let him say one word against their godlike institution of slavery..." On Robert Anderson's evacuation of Moultrie and occupation of Fort Sumter: "Maj. Anderson and James Buchanan! What a contrast! The one disregarding the calls of patriotism and nearly countenancing traitors, and the other preserving his country's honor unsullied." A fascinating first-hand account of life in Washington during these momentous years.


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