Lincoln Home
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Books Known to Have Been Owned by Abraham Lincoln:

Lincoln Books Oldroyd Collection The House Where Lincoln Died Washington D. C.

Acts and Resolutions Passed at the First Session of the Thirtieth Congress of the United States printed by Ritchie and Hess, printers, Washington, 1848, paper bound, inscribed four times "A. Lincoln," catalogue no. 3303.

The Great Indian Chief of the West or Life and Adventures of Black Hawk (H. M. Rulison, Philadelphia, 1856), brown cloth, catalogue no. 3524.

Lincoln Books at the Library of Congress Rare Books Division

John G. Baldwin, Party Leaders (New York: D. Appleton and Co., 1855).

The National Portrait Gallery of Distinguished Americans (Philadelphia: D. Rice and A. N. Hart, 1856) 5 vols., I-IV, with inscription "A. Lincoln."

Scrapbook on Law and Politics and Times (Lexington, Kentucky: A. W. Elder, 1855), presented to Lincoln in 1855 by his friend George Robertson.

Samuel Kirkham's English Grammar (Cincinnati, 1828).

Other References to Books Owned by Abraham Lincoln

The following is a tentative list of works Lincoln owned before leaving Springfield, based on four works: David C. Mearns, Three Presidents and Their Books (1955); M. L. Houser, The Books That Lincoln Read (1929); M. L. Houser, Lincoln's Education and Essays (1957); and Rufus Rockwell Wilson, What Lincoln Read (Washington, D. C., 1932). At this time, there is no complete study of the books owned by Lincoln.

AngellLimitations in Equity
Anon.Wealth and Worth1856
Bailey, N.Negro Equality (Scrapbook)
Baily, W.Unity of God
Baldwin, J. C.Flush Times of Alabama and Mississippi
Beecher, E.Riots at Alton
Benton, Thomas H.Thirty Years' View
Blanchard, R.Business Man's Assistant
Blackstone, Wm.Commentaries on the Laws of England
Browne, C. C.Aretemus Ward: His Book

Holy Bible1818

Burke, EdmundEssay on the Sublime and Beautiful
Burns, RobertPoetical Works
Campbell, Wm. W.Life and Writings of DeWitt Clinton (New York, 1849). Inscribed on title page: "A. Lincoln -- Springfield, Ill., Nov. 19, 1860."
Chandler, Mary G.Elements of Character
Channing, William ElleryWorks, 3 Vols.1858
Chitty, J.Treatise on Pleading and Parties to Action
Cook, E.Complete Poems
Croker, C.Popular Songs of Ireland
Dalrymple, Sir J.Great Britain and Ireland
Day, J.Introduction to Algebra
DeanMedical Jurisprudence
Drake, B.Life of Black Hawk1856
Flint, TimothyFirst White Man of the West
French, J.The True Republican
Gibbon, EdwardHistory of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire1839
Gibson, RobertTheory and Practice of Surveying
Gilman, C.The Illinois Conveyancer
Goldsmith, OliverMiscellaneous Works
Goodloe, D. R.The Southern Platform
Greenleaf, S.Treatise on the Law of Evidence
Hallam, HenryView of...the Middle Ages1837
Halleck, FitzGreenePoetical Works
Hickey, W.Constitution of the United States
Hitchcock, E.Religious Truth Illustrated from Science
Howells, W. D. & HayesLife of Abraham Lincoln1860
IllinoisRevised Laws (1829, 1841, 1843, 1845)
IndianaRevised Laws (1824)
Kirkham, S.English Grammar1828
Knox, Rev. V.Elegant Extracts
Lanman, C.Dictionary of the United States Congress
Lincoln, A.Address at Cooper Institute
Lincoln, A.Negro Equality (Scrapbook)
Lincoln-DouglasPolitical Debates
Livermore, G.Historical Research...Negroes as Slaves, as Citizens, and as Soldiers
Lowe, A. T.The Columbian Class Book
Mitchell, Donald G.Fudge Doings
Neilson, W.Syntax of the Greek Language
Olmsted, D.Introduction to Astronomy
Paley, W.Works
Parker, TheodoreLife of Lincoln1860
Poe, Edgar AllenThe Effect of Slavery on the American People1858
Pope, AlexanderTales
Reed, A. C.Poetical Works1839
Scripp, John LockeLife of George Washington
Shakespeare, Wm.Dramatic Works
Sheppard, F.Constitutional Textbook
SimpsonEuclidca. 1835
Story, JosephCommentaries on Equity Jurisprudence
SumnerRepublican Party
Thayer, W. M.The Pioneer Boy
Webster, N.An American Dictionary1858
Webster, N.Dictionary for Primary Schools1833
Worcester, J.History, Ancient and Modern
Young, EdwardNight Thoughts

Books Known to Have Been Owned by Mary Lincoln:

Collection of Mary Edwards Brown

Queens of England (LIHO 983); Novella (Present location unknown); Arithmetic (Present location unknown)

These works were acquired from Mary Edwards Brown. According to Mrs. Brown, they belonged to her great-aunt, Mary Todd Lincoln. According to the Catalogue Card No. 983, the Queens of England book is signed with a signature "Mary Lincoln, 1860," which does not match other known Mary Lincoln signatures, and there is another discrepancy in that the book's publication date is 1861. According to James Hickey, the Mary Lincoln signature is authentic and Mrs. Lincoln was often inconsistent on dates. She purchased four copies of this book.

Springfield Purchases

Two books purchased by the Lincolns in Springfield from Irwin and Co. on December 31, 1846, are: Eliza Leslie's Directions for Cookery in Its Various Branches (20th edition, Philadelphia, 1844) and Leslie's The House Book or A Manual of Domestic Economy for Town and Country (8th edition, Philadelphia, 1845).

Oliver R. Barrett Collection

Two books listed in the 1952 Oliver R. Barrett Auction Collection Catalogue are:

Mary G. Chandler's The Elements of Character (Boston 1858), black cloth, inscription "Mary Lincoln" came from Mrs. C. Smith's attic.

T.B. Read's The Female Poets of America (Philadelphia, 1852), full stamped leather, inscribed "Mary Lincoln."

Miscellaneous Written References to Mrs Lincoln's Books:

According to Rufus Wilson's What Lincoln Read Mrs. Lincoln subscribed to The Southern Literary Messenger. [39] The Lost and Found or Life Among the Poor was given to Mary Todd Lincoln in 1860. [40] Emilie Todd Helm recalled that during her visit to the Lincolns in 1854-1855 her sister Mary was reading the poems and novels of Sir Walter Scott. [41]


Side Chairs Set of six, mahogany, mahogany veneer and oak (LIHO 1116, 1117, 1118, 1119, 1120, 1121)

These chairs were acquired in 1974 from the Historical Society of Pennsylvania as part of a collection which once formed the Lincoln Memorial Collection. [42] In 1886, S.B. Munson, Secretary of the Lincoln Memorial Collection, began procuring artifacts for the purpose of a public display. The collection was on display at 94 Market Street in Chicago from 1887 to 1894. In 1894, the collection was sold by the Stan V. Henkels auction house. [43] Louis Clark Vanuxen and his son-in-law, William Potter, purchased many pieces from the collection. When Vanuxen died in 1904, one-half of the collection and an heir's share went to Potter. Potter persuaded the remaining heirs to present the collection in 1914 to the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, where it remained until 1974.

According to the Henkels Catalogue lot numbers 1594 to 1599, listed as "Six antique mahogany chairs with tufted haircloth seats," as well as lots 1592, "an antique mahogany side table, with white marble top (marble broken)," 1593, "large French plate mirror, gilt frame," and 1600, "large Axminster rug," were all obtained from Allen Miller of Springfield who bought them from Lincoln at his February 1861 sale. The catalogue entry states that the furniture was accompanied by an affidavit of the Miller family attesting to its authenticity. An affidavit in the files was written by Mr. and Mrs. Lafayette Smith, neighbors of both the Millers and Lincolns, which confirms that the Millers bought the furnishings listed above. The description of the rug, however, differs in the affidavit which describes it as a "plush hearth rug." The latter description, being older, is probably more accurate. A line drawing in the Henkels Catalogue depicts one of the chairs and the table which further identifies them. These chairs are also identical to four side chairs which appear in the 1861 Leslie's drawings of the east and west parlors. These six side chairs are among the best documented pieces of Lincoln furniture known today.

A close examination of the chairs reveals that they are each marked on the top of the inside front rail with numbers. Identifying the members of a set in this way was a standard cabinetmaking practice. In this instance, the numbers range from I through XI which suggests that there was a set of at least twelve. [44] Chairs were commonly bought in sets of twelve. A signed bill of sale by Abraham Lincoln to Dr. Samuel H. Melvin shows that Dr. Melvin also bought six chairs at the February 1861 sale. [45] Dr. Melvin's chairs may have been the remaining members of this set.

Rocking Chair Caned Seat and Back (LIHO 47)
Side Chair, Caned Seat (LIHO 28)

The rocking chair, purported to be Mrs. Lincoln's sewing chair, and the side chair are two items acquired by the Lincoln Home in 1929 from Elizabeth (Mrs. F. P.) Ide. These items were stated by affidavit to have belonged to Mrs. Lincoln. Their Lincoln provenance is logical; however, when objects change hands several times, there is a greater chance of the original item being separated from its documentation. In this case, the artifacts appear to be the ones discussed in the affidavits.

Mrs. Ide purchased these items from a Springfield antiques dealer, Lucy Rhea, who collected Lincoln Home furnishings. Mrs. Rhea purchased the furnishings from Annie Kavanaugh, the daughter of Hugh Gallagher, expressman for J. Hough's cabinetmaking shop. Annie Kavanaugh wrote the affidavit. In her statement about the rocking chair dated August 21, 1926, she claimed:

...on one occasion when Mrs. Lincoln visited at the home of Hugh Gallagher she identified this rocking chair by saying "that is the little rocking chair that I rocked my babies in" and that affiant was present and heard Mrs. Lincoln make this remark; that said rocking chair came into the possession of affiant's immediate family on the occasion of Mrs. Lincoln refurnishing her home some years prior to 1861.

The affidavit for the side chair has not been located; however a list of items acquired from Mrs. Ide, which includes this chair, states that it was accompanied by one. Also, according to this list, two other cane seated side chairs "of the Lincoln period" were acquired from Mrs. Ide because of their similarity to the Lincoln one. An examination of the catalogue cards shows a pair of chairs (LIHO 26 and 27) to be those chairs. They have been mistakenly catalogued, however, as also having a history of Lincoln ownership. An examination of the chairs shows that they are not from the same set as the one with a Lincoln history (LIHO 28).

Furthermore, there is a possibility that chairs in the style of LIHO 28 were not available at the time the Lincolns lived in Springfield. These chairs were factory made, inexpensive, and very popular during the 1870s. The earliest suggested date for this style is 1865. [46] Although dating according to style is not conclusive, until further evidence becomes available, this chair (LIHO 28) should not be exhibited in the Lincoln Home.

Fancy Painted Chairs (LIHO 59, 66, 77, 79, 92, 98, 1061, 1190) A set of eight rush seated painted fancy chairs has been returned to the Lincoln Home by at least four different sources, each with a possible history of Lincoln ownership.

In 1958, Mrs. Elizabeth Pasfield of Springfield donated two fancy chairs (LIHO 59 and 66). At the time, Richard Hagen, Historical Consultant for the Division of Parks and Memorials, wrote Mrs. Pasfield saying:

The chairs are absolutely identical to four other Hitchcock chairs, Catalogue Nos. 77, 79, 92, 98, which have been in the house for some time;... this makes them doubly important to us because they help to establish the authenticity of the chairs we had previously.

Hagen's use of the word "authenticity" implies that these chairs, as well as the set of four previously acquired, were Lincoln chairs.

The files on these chairs are incomplete. Only one letter was located which referred to the Pasfield gift and no information was found on the other four chairs.

In 1976, two chairs (LIHO 1061 and 1062) and two couches (LIHO 1059 and 1060) from the Oldroyd Collection at Ford's Theater were transferred to the Lincoln Home. The rush bottomed fancy chair (LIHO 1061) from this collection is identical to those chairs previously acquired by the Lincoln Home.

According to Charles H. Coe's Descriptive Catalogue of the Oldroyd Collection the rush bottomed chair (LIHO 1061) was presented to the Oldroyd Collection by Mr. and Mrs. L. H. Coleman who bought it from the Lincolns in 1861.

The chair also appears in the stereoscope view of the Oldroyd Collection taken in 1885.

Although the evidence on six of these chairs is very slim, the history of the Oldroyd chair appears reliable and its similarity to the other chairs suggests that all are from a set owned by the Lincolns.

An eighth chair (LIHO 1190), identical to LIHO 1061, was acquired by the Lincoln Home in 1983. Its history, although not complete, indicates that it was originally a Lincoln chair. The donor was Dr. Kane Zell, of Glen Arbor, Michigan. His affidavit dated June 9, 1983 reads:

In 1855 or 1856, Mrs. Lincoln refurnished the Lincoln home. At that time a number of dining chairs were taken from the home to the Lincoln-Herndon Law Office, where they remained until Mr. Lincoln went to Washington as President.

My great-grandmother, Mrs. Caroline Kane, lived on South Second Street on or adjacent to the present site of the Illinois Supreme Court Building. She and her family were close friends of Lincoln's law partner, Billy Herndon.

When Lincoln went to Washington, Billy Herndon asked Mrs. Kane if she would like to have one of Mr. Lincoln's chairs. On her agreement, the chair, first used in the Lincoln home and later in the Lincoln-Herndon Law Offices, was given to Mrs. Kane by Billy Herndon.

Upon Mrs. Kane's death, the chair went to Judge Charles Filo Kane of Springfield. Upon Judge Kane's death in 1918, the chair went to a cousin, Mr. Henry Kane Tully, of New York City. It remained in his possession until 1946. At Mr. Tully's death, the chair went to Dr. Kane Zelle of Springfield, the greatgrandson of Caroline Kane. The chair has been in the possession of Dr. Zelle since that date, except for a period of time when the chair was displayed at Hugh Garvey's Lincoln Museum on Eighth Street, near the Lincoln home.

Rocking Chair, mahogany, upholstered in black haircloth

This chair does not appear in the stereoscope view taken of the Oldroyd Collection in 1885, [47] but Coe's 1896 Inventory of the Oldroyd Collection states:

Rocking Chair, black haircloth, mahogany; a favorite with Mr. Lincoln. Sold by him in 1861 to Miss Lydia Rockhill, of Springfield, Illinois. [48]

Oldroyd himself (in an interview) mentions that he acquired the chair from "some dressmaking sisters named Rockhill who purchased it at the Lincoln sale in 1861." [49]

In 1896, the Oldroyd Collection was housed in the House Where Lincoln Died (Petersen House) on 10th Street, Washington, D. C. The present location of the chair is not known, although the National Park Service acquired the Oldroyd Collection in the early 1930s. Presumably the chair was separated from the collection between 1896 and 1930. Since Oldroyd purchased the chair directly from the Rockhill family, who were residents of Springfield at the time of Lincoln's sale, its provenance appears reliable.


E. Howard and Co. Wall Clock (LIHO 54)

The Lincoln Home acquired the E. Howard and Co. Wall Clock in 1953 from Minnie Smith Johnson, Mary Todd Lincoln's niece. According to Mrs. Johnson, the wall clock was given by Abraham Lincoln to his brother-in-law, Clark M. Smith, just before his departure for Washington. The E. Howard Company introduced this model of clock about 1857. [50] It is illustrated in their 1874 catalogue (reprinted in 1972 by The American Clock and Watch Museum). [51] The clock was intended to supply jewelers, railroad stations, dispatcher's offices, and other areas needing a large, durable and reliable clock.

Although the history of this clock indicates it was owned at one time by Lincoln, it is not a very plausible item for him to have placed in his home. A clock such as the Kegwin and Alsop one, or a French clock, would be more in keeping with the taste displayed by the Lincolns' other furnishings. The possibility that Lincoln purchased this clock for his office or that it was a presidential gift is a more likely explanation for Lincoln's ownership of this large regulator clock. The fact that he gave the clock to his brother-in-law, who owned a store, suggests he may have had the store in mind as a possible location for the clock, when he made the gift.

Kegwin and Alsop Clock (Present location unknown)

The Historical Society's catalogue record on this clock indicates it contains a paper label identifying the clock as one manufactured by Kegwin and Alsop of Springfield who were in business during Lincoln's residence there.

According to the Lincoln Home Files, at the Illinois State Historical Society Library, the clock was returned to the Lincoln Home by gift of Mr. H.D. Holt of Dunedin, Florida. He had acquired it from Emily Jackman Dawson, along with an affidavit (a copy of which is now in the Lincoln Home Files at the Illinois State Historical Society Library) signed by her October 19, 1960, giving the Dawson family history of the clock:

...That my husband [Walter Lincoln Dawson] always stated that the above mentioned clock was purchased by his father [Charles Dawson] at an auction in which some of Mr. Lincoln's household possessions were sold when he moved from Springfield to the White House.

The identification of the clock as a Springfield make manufactured between 1840 and 1860, and Dawson's position as both a Sangamon County resident and client of Lincoln's tends to confirm the family history that Dawson purchased it at the Lincoln 1861 sale.


Hall Stand (LIHO 51)

A combination hat and umbrella stand was presented to the Lincoln Home in 1950 by Mrs. Bert Wheeler, the grandaughter of Dr. Newton Bateman, a friend of Lincoln's and State Superintendent of Public Instruction 1859-1862 and 1864-1874. According to the Bateman family tradition, Lincoln offered this friend his choice of the furniture before the 1861 sale. Bateman selected the hall stand and there is some evidence that Bateman also chose a hall chair which accompanied the stand. An article in Lincoln Lore (No. 1318, July 12, 1954) on "Chairs used by the Lincolns" listed the following item:

Bateman -- Springfield Hall Chair: Newton Bateman purchased from Mr. and Mrs. Lincoln a hat tree and hall chair. The hat tree was returned to its former location in the Lincoln Home at Springfield but the tall attractive hall chair apparently did not accompany it. [52]


The Lincolns' purchases in Springfield indicate that they used both candles and lamps. On April 16, 1844, Mrs. Lincoln purchased two lamps from Irwin & Co. for $1.50 and on November 29, 1849, the Lincolns purchased a wall lamp from J. Bunn & Co. A wall lamp appears in one of the Waud drawings, ca. 1865 (See illustration No. 5). [53] It is not clear from the drawing which room is illustrated. The placement of doors and windows indicates the room shown may be either the south front bedroom or the sitting room.

Girandoles [54]

The Leslie's Illustrated drawings of the double parlor and sitting room show girandole sets on every mantelpiece and do not indicate any other lighting devices in those rooms. The Lincolns, however, did purchase several lamps as mentioned above. The available accounts of the Lincoln family purchases at local Springfield stores show that for the winter and spring of 1859 the Lincolns purchased an average of four pounds of candles per month. (See pp. 114-118 for a listing of the Lincolns' numerous candle purchases.) These purchases indicate a regular usage of candlelight in the Lincoln home.

Two sets of girandoles, one of which is now at the Lincoln Home, have a history of Lincoln ownership.

Girandoles (LIHO 150-152), a set consisting of two single-arm candleholders and one three-stick candleholder.

Stylistically, these girandoles are appropriate for the period and they are very similar to those on the mantel in the Leslie's Illustrated drawing of the Lincolns' front parlor. The provenance of these girandoles indicates that they were originally owned by the Lincolns.

They were given by Mr. and Mrs. John Herndon of Springfield to the Lincoln home in 1964. According to the Herndon family, the girandoles had been given by Mrs. Lincoln as a farewell gift to Mr. and Mrs. Stephen Smith before the Lincolns left for Washington. The girandoles became part of an inheritance Mrs. Kate Herndon received from Nettie Smith, daughter of the Stephen Smiths. John Herndon then inherited them from his mother, Mrs. Kate Herndon. A newspaper article in a 1927 Bloomington Pantograph pictures the girandoles and outlines this history. John Herndon signed an affidavit dated March 8, 1965, also recounting the history. [55]

Mary Edwards Brown, grandniece of Mary Todd Lincoln, signed an affidavit on May 2, 1925, which outlined the history of another girandole set. She stated:

.... when preparing to leave Springfield for Washington, Mr. Lincoln presented them [girandoles] to Mrs. Mary Black Remann, a friend and neighbor of the Lincoln family. That upon the death of Mary Black Remann, they came into the possession of her daughter, Miss Mary Julia Remann, and, upon her death, into the possession of the affiant, Mary Edwards Brown [niece of Mary Julia Remann].

The provenance appears reliable; however, the location of this girandole set is unknown.


Mirror (LIHO 1115)

This mirror was one of nine items purchased by Mr. Allen Miller of Springfield from the Lincolns at their 1861 sale. These furnishings were accompanied by an affidavit dated April 10, 1886, written by Mr. and Mrs. Lafayette Smith, also Springfield residents who verified the Miller history of these items. (See pp. 53-55, 72-73, 138 for discussion of other Miller furnishings.) The mirror then became one of the Lincoln artifacts acquired by the "Lincoln Memorial Collection" in 1886. In the 1894 Henkels auction catalogue of the Lincoln Memorial Collection, the mirror was described as a "Large French-plate mirror, gilt frame." This mirror was later donated to the Historical Society of Pennsylvania (1914) and purchased by the National Park Service for the Lincoln Home in 1974. This mirror appears to be the one shown in the 1861 Leslie's Illustrated drawing of the Lincolns' sitting room, above a two-drawer sewing table.


Secretary-Desk (Location unknown)

The available evidence, outlined below, indicates the original Lincoln home secretary was one of the furnishings purchased by the Tiltons, the family who rented the Lincoln home after the Lincolns moved to Washington. An account written at the time of Lincoln's funeral in Springfield mentions the secretary in the back parlor as one of the few original Lincoln pieces left in the house. (See p. 38 for full account.) It is also illustrated in a stereoscope view of the Tilton parlor taken at the time of the funeral. [56]

A comparison of the secretary that appears in the Tilton stereoscope view with the one in the Leslie's Illustrated drawings (with some allowance for artistic license in the latter) indicates they are the same piece of furniture. Both the drawing and the stereoscope view show a large piece of furniture, with a deep desk top and curved side supports on the base. The location of this secretary is unknown; however, the Tiltons moved to Chicago from Springfield and their belongings are believed to have been destroyed in the Chicago Fire.


Sewing Basket (LIHO 278)

Information found on the catalogue card states that the basket belonged to Mrs. Lincoln. The provenance was not included on the card. However, an affidavit found in Accession File No. 1, signed on May 2, 1925, by Mary Edwards Brown [who was the granddaughter of Elizabeth Todd (Mrs. Ninian Edwards), Mary Lincoln's sister] lists a sewing basket. It is Item No. 6 of 26 items she lists and the entry reads "work basket of Mrs. Abraham Lincoln."

LIHO 278 is very likely the basket which Mrs. Edwards mentions. Several items from Mrs. Edwards' list are now located at the Lincoln Home (the sewing basket and a few pieces of furniture). Other identifiable items on the list, such as the tablecloth used at the Lincolns' wedding, were acquired by the State. (See Appendix II for complete list.) The Illinois State Historical Society Library also has two sewing baskets with a history of ownership by Mary Lincoln.


Pictorial and written evidence show that the Lincolns had at least two sofas in their home at the time of Mr. Lincoln's election.

Two sofas appear in the 1861 Leslie's Illustrated drawings of the Lincoln parlors, and one of the newspaper's correspondents who visited the Lincoln home in 1860 recorded that he sat on a sofa in the parlor while talking with Mr. Lincoln. (See p. 35 for a full account.) One of the Lincoln sofas was new a few months before the Lincolns moved to Washington, according to a letter written by Mrs. Lincoln, who expressed concern about the storage of belongings they left behind. [57]

Four sofas and one lounge have a history of being associated with the Lincoln home. While it is possible that all of these sofas were owned by the Lincolns (assuming they bought new ones and discarded old ones over the years), it is unlikely they would have gone through so many. The best documented sofa is in the Chicago Historical Society. Affidavits, beginning with the purchaser who attended the 1861 Lincoln sale, trace it to the Gunther Collection and the Chicago Historical Society. (See pp. 71, 85-86, 87, 91-92, 98, 105 for discussions of Lincoln furniture, including this sofa, at the Chicago Historical Society.)

Sofas (LIHO 1059, 1060)

The following entries from Charles Coe's 1896 Descriptive Catalogue of the Oldroyd Lincoln Memorial Collection briefly present the provenance of two sofas from the Oldroyd Collection, now at the Lincoln Home. One of the sofas (LIHO 1059) was described:

No. 2. Sofa, black haircloth mahogany; 6 ft. 9 in. long, scroll ends. This was the first sofa owned by the Lincoln family, and was purchased by Mr. Lincoln when he commenced housekeeping in Springfield, Illinois in 1844. When he broke up housekeeping, previous to his departure for Washington in 1861, it was sold to Miss Lydia Rockhill, of Springfield. [58]

It also appeared in the 1885 stereoscope view of Oldroyd's Collection. This sofa was catalogue no. 4495 of the Ford's Theatre Collection (purchased as part of the Oldroyd Collection in 1926) before its transfer in 1977 to Lincoln's Springfield home.

Sofa (LIHO 1060) described in 1896 by Coe:

No. 3. Sofa, black haircloth, solid rosewood; 5 ft. 3 in. long; a more modern pattern than the preceding, regarded by the family as a choice parlor piece. Sold by Mr. Lincoln in 1861 to the father of Richard S. Burch, Springfield, Illinois. [59]

This sofa was catalogue no. 4496 in the Ford's Theatre Collection.

Lydia Rockhill and Burch were both Springfield residents contemporary with the Lincolns. According to a letter written by Mary Lincoln (May 29, 1862), the Lincolns left some of their belongings, including a sofa, with William S. Burch, father of Richard Burch. Mrs. Lincoln wrote, "I see by the papers that Mr. Burch [William S. Burch] is married---we have some pieces of furniture still remaining at his house. The sofa, at Mr. Burch's was new, a few months before we left..." [60] Mrs. Lincoln's description of the sofa as "new" would correspond with the one from the Oldroyd Collection. It is in the rococo revival style, the newest fashion for the 1850s and 1860s. Mr. Burch's marriage may have been the occasion for his purchase of this sofa.

Both Oldroyd sofas have fairly strong histories of Lincoln ownership; however, neither resembles the sofas illustrated in Leslie's 1861 drawings of the parlors. Several explanations may account for this. The north wall of the sitting room was not pictured and a sofa may have been against that wall. There is also the possibility that the Presidential candidate was given a sofa as a gift, and the sofa was never used.

Sofa mahogany, serpentine, arched top rail with a fan shaped design in center (Chicago Historical Society, Accession No. 1920. 246)

This sofa, covered in "mohair cloth," was bought at the Lincoln 1861 sale by J. M. Forden, a neighbor of Lincoln's. In 1887, it was sold by J. M. Forden to George W. Forden, who, in 1888, sold it to Charles F. Gunther. Affidavits signed by both Fordens accompanied the sofa. This sofa is one of the best documented pieces of furniture from the Lincoln Home. Its similarity to the sofa illustrated in the Leslie's drawing of the back parlor suggests that the sofa was in this room before the Lincoln sale. (See Appendix I for a copy of the affidavit, and Plate VIII.)

Lounge, [61] single arm, with turned legs (LIHO 13)

This sofa was acquired from Julius Kuecher in 1953. Kuecher stated in a notarized affidavit that he inherited it from his father, John B. Kuecher, a Springfield resident and contemporary of Lincoln's. The family tradition about the sofa as described by Julius Kuecher (and also mentioned later in another affidavit by his nephew, Robert Watson Kuecher, see Appendix IV) is that Lincoln gave the sofa to Kuecher in 1861 before his departure for Washington. The Kuecher provenance appears reliable, for the sofa descended directly in the Kuecher family from father to son.

A note on the catalogue card states that this sofa was specially made for Lincoln; the source of this note is not mentioned however, and there are no unusual features about the sofa to suggest it was specially made. Sofas of this style and description were made between 1840 and 1875 by furniture factories. Standard sizes ranged from six feet to six feet six inches long. The Kuecher sofa measures six feet seven inches (according to the catalogue card). It is the largest of the standard sizes. One inch is not a significant enough difference to confirm that the sofa was specially made.


Side Table (LIHO 1114)

Two tables with a strong claim to LIHO provenance were returned to the home from the "Lincoln Memorial Collection" (see p. 53 for history of the Lincoln Memorial Collection). The 1894 Henkels catalogue of the sale of the Lincoln Memorial Collection provides the earliest identification of these tables. The catalogue described the tables and summarized their history. The first table listed, Number 1592 (LIHO 1114), was described as "An Antique Mahogany Side Table with white marble top (Marble broken)." [62] The same table was pictured with the caption "Antique Mahogany Table from Lincoln's Parlor." The Lincoln Memorial Collection acquired the table and several other furnishings (see pp. 53-54, 65-66, and 138) from Allen Miller, a Springfield neighbor of the Lincolns. According to an affidavit written by other neighbors, Mr. and Mrs. Lafayette Smith (April 10, 1886), the Millers purchased these items at the Lincolns' 1861 sale.

The Henkels catalogue also recounted the following story told by the Miller family about the table (Henkels Number 1592 - LIHO 1114):

As Mr. Miller was about to take them from the Lincoln residence, Mr. Lincoln requested that the table and one of the chairs remain, as he had some very important writing that he must attend to before leaving Springfield. Consequently, the very last writing that Mr. Lincoln did before leaving Illinois was upon this identical table and seated in one of these chairs.

The Miller history is supported by the fact that this table is very similar to the one shown in the Leslie's Illustrated drawing of the front parlor (see illustration No. 1).

Work Table (LIHO 1123)

Table No. 1603, an "Antique Mahogany work table, with pedestal base and two drawers," came from J. M. Forden, a Springfield resident who acquired them at the Lincolns' 1861 sale. According to the accompanying affidavit, [63] the table was purchased by Forden, and remained in Forden's possession until 1887 when it was acquired by the Lincoln Memorial Collection.

Forden signed the affidavit as did several others who attested to his truthfulness. The work table went on to become a part of the Lincoln Collection owned by the Historical Society of Pennsylvania (see p. 54), and is now in the Collection of the Lincoln Home (LIHO 1123). This table, with its tapered pedestal and bracket feet, closely resembles the one pictured in the Leslie's Illustrated drawing of the Lincolns' sitting room. The resemblance confirms the Forden history.

Walnut Tete-a-Tete Table and Walnut Table (Washstand)

Two other tables were listed in the 1894 Henkels sale catalogue but their locations are now unknown. No. 1604 was listed as an "antique walnut tete-a-tete table," also owned by J. M. Forden. No. 1605 was listed in Henkels catalogue as a "walnut table, from the bedroom of Abraham Lincoln," evidently used as a washstand. This table was purchased by E. Figueri from Mr. and Mrs. Lincoln in 1861. See pp. 129-131 for discussion of lot 1602, a mahogany bureau from the same source.

Card Table (LIHO 29)

This table has a strong Lincoln provenance because it was acquired by the Lincoln Home from the granddaughter of Mary Lincoln's sister, Frances Jane Todd (wife of Dr. William S. Wallace). Frances Todd Wallace Bulkley made the following statement about the table, June 24, 1965:

After my grandmother's death (Frances Wallace), August 14, 1899, my father received a shipment of personal belongings which had been in my grandmother's home in Springfield. My older sister, Elsie Lincoln Wallace, (now deceased), was given several pieces. I was told, since I was her namesake, the card table (pictures enclosed) belonged to me, together with a miniature portrait painted on ivory of my grandmother. The portrait depicts her holding her first child, Elizabeth, who died in infancy. I was also told the table was given to my grandmother by her sister Mary when the Lincolns moved to Washington. In our home, it was always referred to as the "Lincoln" table.

The card table was a fairly common furniture form often used in the hall or sitting room as a side table and occasionally for the same purpose in the dining room. Its presence in a home did not necessarily indicate that the family owning it played cards.

Drop-Leaf Table (LIHO 25)

The drop-leaf walnut dining room table was acquired for the Lincoln Home from Mrs. F. P. Ide. (See pp. 55-57 and 93 for discussions of other items acquired through Mrs. Ide.) Mrs. Ide purchased the table from a Springfield antiques dealer, Lucy Rhea, who, in turn, had bought it from Annie Kavanaugh. Mrs. Kavanaugh inherited the table from her father, Hugh Gallagher, a Springfield resident from 1855 until his death in 1897. In an affidavit written August 21, 1926, at the time of Mrs. Ide's purchase, Mrs. Kavanaugh explained the Gallagher family tradition about the table. The following excerpts from the affidavit outline this history of the table:

... the said Hugh Gallagher...from the year 1855 to 1865 was associated with Jack Hough, the leading furniture dealer of Springfield, Illinois during that period. Affiant further says that the family of Abraham Lincoln bought much furniture for use in their home on the northeast corner of Eighth & Jackson Streets in Springfield, Illinois from the said Jack Hough and that many of the articles of furniture replaced by the said furniture so purchased was sold or given by Mrs. Lincoln to the said Hugh Gallagher and remained in his possession until his death. Affiant further says that the drop-leaf, waxed, walnut table purchased in August 1924 by Mrs. Francis P. [sic] Ide from Mrs. Lucy Rhea was purchased by the said Mrs. Rhea from me;... it came into the possession of my immediate family on the occasion of Mrs. Abraham Lincoln refurnishing her home... some years prior to 1861; that she then bought new furniture for her dining room; that the said drop-leaf, waxed, walnut table ... had... been used for a number of years in the Lincoln home as her dining room table ....

Sewing Table (LIHO 46)

This two-drawer pedestal table was given to the Lincoln Home in 1956 by the family of Mrs. Harrison Blankmeyer. According to a statement by Mrs. Blankmeyer, the table was originally owned by Lincoln. Lincoln gave the table to Benjamin Burch in return for Burch's assistance in crating furniture before the Lincolns' departure for Washington. The table descended in the Burch family to Benjamin's granddaughter, Mrs. Eunice Moorehead. Mrs. Moorehead then gave the table to Dr. Harrison Blankmeyer in return for professional services. A letter dated February 12, 1926, from Mrs. Moorehead in the Lincoln Home Files, at the Illinois State Historical Society Library, confirms Mrs. Blankmeyer's story.

Stylistically, the Blankmeyer table closely resembles the sewing table mentioned above from the Lincoln Memorial Collection and the one pictured in the Leslie's Illustrated drawing. Because the Lincoln Memorial Collection table has a stronger history of ownership (it went directly from the original purchaser into the Lincoln Memorial Collection with an affidavit), the Lincoln Memorial Collection table (LIHO 1123) should be placed on display in the sitting room, and the Blankmeyer table used as a side table on the second floor.


A wide range of mid-to-late nineteenth century artifacts were excavated from old privy pits at the Lincoln Home. [64] The records that document these excavations have been transferred from the State to the Lincoln Home, but the records do not distinguish among artifacts according to period of manufacture and use. Some of the ceramic shards, however, are identifiable and it is possible to say which ceramics and glass could date from the Lincoln period.

Transfer printed Staffordshire, creamware, and blue-edged ironstone could be examples of Lincoln household ware. Plain white ironstone--some with decoration in relief, one dish cover with an acorn knob handle, some marked by Bridgewood and Clarke of Burslem--also was found. The large number of plain white ironstone shards, including pieces of plates, covered dishes, cups, and chamber sets, indicates the presence of at least one set of ironstone.

The luster tea leaf pattern of ironstone now on display in the Lincoln Home has been said mistakenly to be a pattern owned by the Lincolns. The pattern dates from about 1880 and reached a height of popularity around 1890. The justification for the acquisition of this china appears from the available records to be based on a tea leaf pattern soap dish (LIHO 335) thought to have been Lincoln's. [65] This soap dish is stamped underneath: "Royal Ironstone/Alfred Meakin/England." The Alfred Meakin potteries were not founded until 1873, and this particular mark was used by the company in the 1890s. [66]

Parts of pressed glass goblets (hexagonal and octagonal fluted) and tumblers (hexagonal fluted) were in the privy excavations (see LIHO Acc. No. 23, list by Ruthanne Heriot). Most table glassware owned by middle-class families in America at this time was pressed glass.

Five Intact Bottles (LIHO 301-305) of the type in use at midcentury for medicine, castor oil, blacking, etc., were also found in the privy. (See purchase records of the Lincoln family, pp. 98-100, 112-119, 142-144 for examples of bottled items the Lincolns bought.)

Wooden Tooth Brush [67]; Two Broken Combs; Three Brush Handles; Curved Top of an Alabaster Pin Box Tortoise-Shell Pin Six Amber Glass Marbles Four All-Slate Pencils [68]

These items were found during the archeological investigations and are of an appropriate date to have belonged to the Lincolns.

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Last Updated: 08-Feb-2004