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    Abraham Lincoln Autograph Legal Brief Signed "Lincoln & Herndon Jr." One page, 8.25" x 8", on blue stationery, n.p., n.d. [March 1853]. An outstanding lawyer, Lincoln rose to prominence in his home state of Illinois. He was initially associated with John Todd Stuart, then with Stephen T. Logan, and finally with William H. Herndon. This legal brief, executed entirely in Lincoln's hand, was written during his successful partnership in Springfield with William Herndon. As a partner, Lincoln prepared cases for the federal courts, the Illinois Supreme Court, and the state's Eighth Judicial Circuit, which covered most of east-central Illinois. Lincoln, gaining important exposure throughout the state, rode the circuit for six months during the year, but Herndon usually stayed at their law office in Springfield.

    The brief reads in full: "And for further plea on this behalf said defendant says actus non because he says that heretofore to wit, on the _____ day of _____ at the county aforesaid, he, the said defendant fully paid the note in the declaration mentioned; and this he is ready to verify. Lincoln & Herndon Jr." Lincoln has added a docket on verso which reads, "Allen McDonald / Pleas." Below this, in the hand of one of his clerks: "Filed March 22, 1853, JH Martin, Ck."

    Lincoln's partnership with Herndon was not officially dissolved until Lincoln's death in 1865. In his celebrated Lincoln biography, Herndon reported that just before Lincoln left Springfield to become president he told Herndon, "If I live I'm coming back some time, and then we'll go right on practicing law as if nothing had ever happened." Document is faintly toned and has been professionally tipped to a larger backing sheet which measures 8.5" x 9.5". A wonderful piece from Lincoln's days as a working attorney.


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    Auction Dates
    June, 2010
    8th-9th Tuesday-Wednesday
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