Combined with its well-documented history and the illustration of a similar chair in Lincoln photographs (see above), this armchair is an important and rare document of the Lincolns' furnishings at the White House. Until recently, the chair survived with thirteen additional chairs from the same set, all of which adorned the dining room during Abraham Lincoln's administration. In the twentieth century, the chairs were owned by Lincoln's great-grandson, Robert Todd Lincoln Beckwith (1904-1985), who brought them to his country house, "Hildene," in Manchester, Vermont. Beckwith sold the chairs to Owen Moon of Woodstock, Vermont and the chairs remained together until the 1970s. Their succession of ownership is documented by several bills of sale and related papers, copies of which accompany this lot.
Differing in its lack of upholstered arms, an almost identical chair appears in photographs taken of President Lincoln by Matthew Brady (1823-1896). The photographs were taken in Brady's studio in 1863 and Lincoln's visit to the studio may have inspired his purchase of the set of fourteen that descended in the Lincoln family. Alternatively, it is possible that the chairs were already in Lincoln's possession prior to the portrait shoot and brought to Brady's studio to serve as props.