The Property of Robert Russell Crans, Jr.
This and the following 7 lots descended to the present owner from Robert Todd Lincoln (1843-1926) and his children. Additional items, mainly furnishings, have recently been gifted by Robert Russell Crans Jr. to the Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield and to Hildene, Robert Todd Lincoln's former residence in New Hampshire. To the best of our knowledge this group is very likely the last group of Lincoln artifacts owned by direct or collateral descendants.
Robert Todd Lincoln, sole surviving child of Abraham and Mary Todd Lincoln, served as Secretary of War in the Garfield administration (1881-1885) and as U.S. Ambassador to Great Britain (1889-1893). He was general counsel of the Pullman Company and on George Pullman's death assumed the presidency of the firm (1897-1926).
Provenance: Abraham Lincoln and Mary Todd Lincoln - Robert Todd Lincoln (1843-1926) - Jesse Harlan Lincoln (1875-1948, m. Warren Beckwith) - Robert Todd Lincoln Beckwith (1904-1985, m. Hazel H. Wilson in 1927) - by gift to Doris Holland Beckwith (step-daughter of Robert Todd Lincoln Beckwith, m. Russell Crans) - Robert Russell Crans, Jr (1962--).
[LINCOLN]. Gold-plated and black floral enameled locket, enclosing miniature photographic portraits of Abraham Lincoln and William Wallace ("Willie") Lincoln (1850-1862), who died in the White House on February 20, 1862. Worn by Mary Todd Lincoln during her years of prolonged mourning. American-made, [ca. 1850-1870.]
MARY LINCOLN'S MOURNING LOCKET, WITH MINIATURE PORTRAITS OF ABRAHAM LINCOLN AND THE LINCOLN'S LATE SON, WILLIE.
Circular, 5/8 inch in diameter, hinged, with a small ring affixed to edge of case. One side decorated with a spray of curling leaves and two pendant flowers, finely worked in gold on a black enameled ground (small chip at edge of enamel). Contents protected with a very thin glass oval.
According to Lincoln family tradition, Mary Lincoln wore this locket during her years of morning and exile. Mourning lockets with visual reminders of the deceased, were worn close to the heart. They were extremely popular in the 19th century. Some featured locks of hair, miniature portraits or religious symbols. This small locket is a striking memento of the Lincoln family's multiple tragedies. The outer compartment encloses a carefully trimmed photographic portrait miniature of Abraham Lincoln; the portrait derives from an 1861 image: Hamilton and Ostendorf, Lincoln in Photographs, O-55 (variously ascribed to C.D. Fredericks of New York or James McClees or W.L. Germon of Philadelphia, conjecturally dated between March 1 and 30 June 1861). In addition, the interior compartment (only visible when opened) houses a carefully trimmed photographic portrait miniature of the Lincolns' son Willie, whose untimely death at age 11 cast a terrible shadow over the president and left Mary Lincoln inconsolable for weeks. The portrait of Willie is one taken in 1861 in Matthew Brady's Washington studio. For the full image see Hamilton and Ostendorf, p.304, lower left.
Provenance: Mary Todd Lincoln - Robert Todd Lincoln - Jessie Harlan Lincoln (m. Warren Beckwith) - Robert Todd Lincoln Beckwith (1904-1985) - Doris Holland Beckwitt (step-daughter of the preceding, m. Robert Crans) - Robert Crans Jr. (1962--).