The Abraham Lincoln Association purchased “The Life of Abraham
Lincoln” at auction earlier this year specifically to donate it to
the presidential library.
“We are incredibly grateful to the Abraham Lincoln Association.
Their generosity ensures this amazing find will be preserved for
public study,” said Alan Lowe, executive director of the Abraham
Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum.
The biography, by congressman and Chicago anti-slavery leader Isaac
Arnold, was first published in 1885 as a single volume. A few
special editions with additional illustrations were issued for
collectors. Most of these special editions were two volumes.
A three-volume edition is extremely unusual. Only the Lincoln
Financial Collection in Ft. Wayne, Ind., is known to have a similar
set, and that version does not include any manuscripts.
The presidential library’s three-volume version was issued with fine
illustrations as well as original, handwritten documents. They
include two written by Lincoln and 17 written to him. It also
contains items by Mary Lincoln, the Lincolns’ son Robert, political
rival Stephen A. Douglas, other politicians and high-ranking
The documents include personal letters, business correspondence, job
requests and job recommendations. Some are merely autographs. The
oldest is from 1788 and the newest is from 1887.
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The special edition also came with manuscripts from presidents John
Quincy Adams, Millard Fillmore, Franklin Pierce, James Buchanan,
Andrew Johnson, Ulysses S. Grant, Rutherford B. Hayes, James
Garfield and Chester Arthur.
Endpapers in the three volumes indicate they were once owned by Illinois Gov.
Frank O. Lowden, who served from 1917 to 1921.
“Thanks to generous donors who recognized the importance of this biography, a
bid was submitted on behalf of the Abraham Lincoln Association. Happily, it was
the winning bid. We are pleased that these volumes will be added to the
presidential library's nationally recognized Lincoln Collection, where they will
be accessible to the citizens of Illinois and to scholars worldwide,” said
Kathryn Harris, president of the ALA.
The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, a division of the Illinois
Historic Preservation Agency, holds an unparalleled collection of Lincoln
documents, photographs, artifacts and art. It uses that collection, modern
technology and traditional story-telling techniques to connect visitors to the
16th president. Learn more at www.PresidentLincoln.illinois.gov.
The Abraham Lincoln Association is a private group that celebrates the
anniversary of Lincoln’s birth, encourages preservation of landmarks associated
with his life and helps collect and disseminate information about his life and
career. For more, visit
[Shanta Thoele, Abraham Lincoln