ALS signed “Mary Lincoln,” three pages on two adjoining sheets, 5 x 8, September 28, . Letter to Rev. James Smith, pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Springfield, Illinois; the Lincoln family joined Smith’s congregation in 1849 and were members for the next seven years. In part: “Such a long time has elapsed since I last wrote you & I am sure you must have wondered at my long silence! I was about visiting E—under protection of Mr. Johnson when I last wrote you, illness seized upon me, in Baltimore detaining me & I was then urged to remain to witness the marriage of my son, with a little girl, whom I had always dearly loved, Mary Harlan, daughter of Senator Harlan of Iowa. The marriage took place in Washington three days since and I am here again thinking of sailing, in the same steamer for Bremen next Thursday. I proposed placing Taddie, in school immediately, in Germany, and going myself to Carlsbad, for the benefit of the baths. I am in a very nervous state & really in very poor health. Next spring, I hope to see you in Scotland…I have passed the summer in the Allegheny mountains. I tremble lest we may have a rough voyage, yet we are all in the hands of that great Being, who rules over the Universe & has our lives in His hands. I have a very charming little daughter in law, who will be a great solace to me in the future. And in return, I may be, more of a comfort to her, than with present ill health & great depression of spirits, I could possibly be…I will write you on my arrival, in Germany.”
Also includes a leatherbound Bible published in London by George E. Eyre and William Spottiswoode in 1852, bearing a signature of Mrs. Lincoln clipped from a letter affixed to a free end page, “Your friend, Mary Lincoln.” A presentation inscription entirely in another hand reads, “Presented as a token of respect and regard to her Pastor, Revd. Dr. Smith, by his friend, Mary Lincoln, Springfield, Illinois, January, 1857.” The letter is in fine condition, with a few light stains near the edges; the signature in the Bible is closely-cropped and in very good condition, with light toning and soiling. Accompanied by an old stationery envelope labeled “Warren Wood,” on which is written a pencil note: “The enclosed letter was written to the Revd. James Smith D.D. by Mrs. Lincoln (widow of President Lincoln). Dr. Smith was US Consul in Dundee, & I acted for him for some time. I have a Bible given to me after Dr. Smith’s death by his widow which was given to him by Mrs. Lincoln & I think belonged to Presdt. Lincoln.”
Also includes a two-page draft copy of a letter in which Smith sets forth his recollection of a homily that Lincoln gave to his congregation on “the Dialogues,” as well as a four-page manuscript letter from Smith to Lincoln’s early law partner W. H. Herndon. In it, Smith comments on Lincoln’s religious beliefs, remarking that he “did avow his belief in the Divine Authority and Inspiration of the Scriptures.” The bulk of the letter expresses indignation against Herndon for his assertions that Lincoln was still in love with Anne Rutledge at the time of his marriage to Mary. Closely associated with the great president’s religious beliefs and offering insight into Mary Todd’s troubled personal life, this unique grouping offers some of the most interesting Lincoln material that we have encountered in quite some time. Pre-certified PSA/DNA.
Terms and abbreviations used in our descriptions.