Browse Lots

Global notice COVID-19 Important notice
LINCOLN, Abraham and Stephen A. DOUGLAS. Political Debates between Hon. Abraham Lincoln and Hon. Stephen A. Douglas. In the Celebrated Campaign of 1858, in Illinois. Including the Preceeding Speeches of Each, at Chicago, Springfield, Etc.; Also the Two Great Speeches of Mr. Lincoln in Ohio, in 1859. Carefully Prepared by the Reporters of Each Party, and Published at the Times of their Delivery. Columbus: Follett, Foster & Co., 1860.
LINCOLN, Abraham and Stephen A. DOUGLAS. Political Debates between Hon. Abraham Lincoln and Hon. Stephen A. Douglas. In the Celebrated Campaign of 1858, in Illinois. Including the Preceeding Speeches of Each, at Chicago, Springfield, Etc.; Also the Two Great Speeches of Mr. Lincoln in Ohio, in 1859. Carefully Prepared by the Reporters of Each Party, and Published at the Times of their Delivery. Columbus: Follett, Foster & Co., 1860.

Details
LINCOLN, Abraham and Stephen A. DOUGLAS. Political Debates between Hon. Abraham Lincoln and Hon. Stephen A. Douglas. In the Celebrated Campaign of 1858, in Illinois. Including the Preceeding Speeches of Each, at Chicago, Springfield, Etc.; Also the Two Great Speeches of Mr. Lincoln in Ohio, in 1859. Carefully Prepared by the Reporters of Each Party, and Published at the Times of their Delivery. Columbus: Follett, Foster & Co., 1860.

Tall 8vo, 232 x 155mm. (9 1/8 x 6in.), original publisher's dark brown cloth, covers decoratively blindstamped "DEBATES of LINCOLN and DOUGLAS"; the spine faded, corners and head and foot of spine rubbed, text foxed (as usual), flyleaf browned at gutter margin and neatly reinserted, half red morocco folding protective case, gilt spine, FIRST EDITION OF THE LINCOLN_DOUGLAS DEBATES, 4-pp. of publisher's advertisements preceding titlepage. Howes L388; Monaghan 69 (conforming to Monaghan's second issue); Harry E. Pratt, "Lincoln Autographed Debates" in Manuscripts, vol. 6 no. 4 (Summer 1954), p.198; Sabin 41156.

A EXTRAORDINARY COPY, INSCRIBED BY LINCOLN TO HIS BROTHER-IN-LAW, ALEXANDER H. TODD, A CONFEDERATE OFFICER, LATER OWNED BY JOSHUA F. SPEED, LINCOLN'S INTIMATE FRIEND FROM EARLY SPRINGFIELD YEARS

Apparently the only copy of the first edition of the Lincoln-Douglas Debates inscribed by Lincoln to a member of his or the First Lady's family. In 1858, Lincoln and Stephen Douglas, campaigning for a Senate seat from Illinois, met in a series of high-profile public debates on the critical issues facing the nation, particularly the legality of slavery. These acrimonious and closely argued exchanges first projected Lincoln into national political prominence and led directly, in the next national elections, to his selection as the Presidential nominee of the newly-formed Republican party. The text of these celebrated debates was printed in book form in 1860, during the Presidential campaign, and Lincoln, who received 100 copies from the printers, presented a handful to friends and political supporters with carefully written presentation inscriptions on a front flyleaf. Pratt's now outdated census of copies inscribed by Lincoln records only 18 copies, all but one inscribed, like this one, in pencil (an additional copy with ink inscription was part of the H. Bradley Martin collection sold at Sotheby's, 31 January 1990, lot 2528, and another, inscribed to Dr. Canissius, was sold at Superior, July 1995, lot 264). But this remains THE ONLY COPY LINCOLN INSCRIBED TO A FAMILY MEMBER.

CENTER THIS: MARY TODD LINCOLN'S FAMILY AND THE WAR
Lincoln's complex, contradictory wife, Mary Todd, was raised in a prosperous banking family of Lexington, Kentucky. Her father, Robert Smith Todd, an ardent supporter of Henry Clay, married twice, fathered a large family, and like many of Kentucky's own gentry, owned a few slaves as household servants.

The extent to which the Civil War split families, pitting father and son, brother and brother, and, in some cases, brother and sister, against each other is proverbial. (These rifts were especially acute in border states like Kentucky.) Mary Todd's large Kentucky family is an epitome of these deep and painful divisions. While Mary's eldest brother Levi and half-sister Margaret Kellogg remained staunch Union supporters, two other half-sisters, Martha White and Elodie Dawson, were married to Confederate officers. Mary's youngest brother, George, and three half-brothers Alexander, Samuel, and David, all joined the Confederate Army. Her beloved half-sister Emilie married a West Point graduate, Ben Hardin Helm.

At the new President's invitation, Ben Helm visited Lincoln and Mary at the White House in early 1861. As Ben prepared to return to Kentucky, Lincoln handed him an envelope containing an offer of the post of U.S. Army paymaster and a commission as a Major in the Union Army. Lincoln and Helm shook hands solemnly, and Helm rode away. Later, Mary heard from family that Helm had accepted an officer's commission in the First Kentucky Cavalry Regiment of the Confederate Army. Soon, they learned that Mary's half-brother Alexander, affectionately known to Mary as "Little Aleck," had joined the Confederate army too, first as an ordnance sergeant, and then, promoted to lieutenant, had become aide-de camp to his brother-in-law, General Ben Hardin Helm.

Early in the war, a friend expressed astonishment when Mary said she hoped all her brothers fighting for the Confederacy would be killed or captured. When questioned closely, she grimly countered that "They would kill my husband if they could and destroy our government - the dearest of all things to us" (Turner, Mary Todd Lincoln, p. 155 fn).

Mary's Confederate relations fared tragically in the war. Her half-brother Samuel was killed at Shiloh in April 1862 and David died after being wounded in the lungs in fighting at Vicksburg. Later in the same campaign, during the night of 5 August 1862, General Helm's Kentuckians, probing the Union lines near Baton Rouge, mistook a band of Confederate partisan rangers for the enemy. In the darkness and confusion, several wild volleys were exchanged by the Confederates. Lieutenant Alexander Todd was killed instantly by a stray rebel bullet, his last letter to his mother still in his pocket, unmailed. For accounts of the tragic skirmish see E. Porter Thompson, History of the First Kentucky Brigade, Cincinnati, 1868), p. 132 and William C. Davis, The Orphan Brigade: The Kentucky Confederates Who Couldn't Go Home (Garden City, 1980), pp. 116-117.

News of the death of "Little Aleck" affected Mary strongly, though as the President's wife it would have been unseemly to mourn an enemy too openly. (Mary's family tragedies continued: only a year later, General Ben Helm, Aleck's commander, himself fell at the bloody battles at Chickamauga Creek. Lincoln himself, in New York at the time, telegraphed Mary the news of Ben's death. The widowed Emilie later visited the Lincolns in the White House.)

Provenance:
1. Alexander H. Todd, the President's brother-in-law, killed 5 August 1862, probably received from Lincoln in the summer of 1860.
2. C.C. "Isham" Green of Louisville, KY. Lieutenant Todd reinscribed the volume to a friend, C.C. Green, known apparently as Isham. Todd's undated inscription, written beneath Lincoln's, reads: "Isham Green with compliments A.H. Todd." On a small oblong piece of paper, hinged over that inscription, Green, probably at a later date, has written "This book was presented to me by Alex H. Todd on the Ohio River Poor Alix he fell at Vixburgh I knew him from childhood he was a true man he told me the above [Lincoln's inscription] was his Brother in Laws own hand write [sic]. C.C. Green." At the back of the book, on a blank fly, Green has again inscribed the book in large letters: "Isham Green, Louisville, Ky." (Isham may have been a relative of Isaac R. Greene of Louisville, who had been a comrade of Lincoln's in the Black Hawk War.)
3. Dr. G.G. Speed. After the end of the war, Green made the volume a gift to a member of this distinguished Louisville family, inscribing it boldly: "Presented to C.C. Green to his Esteemed friend Dr. G.G. Speed. Sept. 14th 1869. C.C. Green."
4. Joshua Fry Speed (1814-1883), of Louisville, Lincoln's closest friend during his early Springfield years. On a leaf of lined paper inserted following the original blank flyleaf, is the pencilled inscription: "To Josh F. Speed From his kinsman and Friend Geo [?] G. Speed." During his years of friendship with Lincoln in Springfield, Speed had courted and finally married Fanny Henning; when Joshua had expressed grave doubts about the match, Lincoln wrote a series of remarkable letters of solace and encouragement to his friend (See Basler, 1:265-6, 267-8, 269-270). Speed and Fanny Henning were married in Kentucky on 15 February 1842.
5. Edward Davis. Inscribed at base of flyleaf by him: "Presented to me by Aunt Fanny, widow of Uncle Joshua F. Speed, the most intimate friend Mr. Lincoln ever had. Louisville, Ky. 1883 Edward Davis." 6. Foreman M. Lebold, the noted Lincoln collector, purchased in 1948 from Ralph G. Newman, of the Abraham Lincoln Bookshop, Chicago. Lebold's name is gilt-lettered on the red morocco slipcase.
7. Philip D. Sang (1902-1975), not in his series of sales at Sotheby Parke-Bernet, but the volume is mentioned as one of Sang's most evocative possessions in Clyde C. Walton's introduction to Part I (26 April 1978).
8. Anonymous owner, gift of the above (sale, Christie's, 7 December 1990, lot 226).
;

More from The Forbes Collection of American Historical Documents

View All
View All