Description

    Abraham Lincoln Endorses His Chiropodist in an Autograph Statement Signed "A. Lincoln", one page, 6" x 3.5", n.p. [Washington, D.C.], 22 September 1862, reading "Dr. Zacharie has operated on my feet with great success, and considerable addition to my comfort." Dr. Isachar Zacharie, an English Jew, practiced at times in Washington and New York and was a leading authority on foot problems and cures. His extensive use of testimonials from the president and other notables apparently prompted the New York Herald (3 October 1862) to joke that Lincoln "has been greatly blamed for not resisting the demands of the radicals; but how could the President put his foot down firmly when he was troubled with corns?" Lincoln's note, inlaid on a large leaf, has been bound in a 4to album (full blue morocco, raised bands, gilt title on spine, hand-lettered title page) along with autograph letters signed of poet and newspaperman William Cullen Bryant, Union General Nathaniel P. Banks, New York mayor George Opdycke, and Gen. Rufus Andrews, all testifying to Zacharie's skill. Bryant, writing to Lincoln from New York, 21 August 1862, introduces the chiropodist as a man "of marvelous skill, as I have had occasion to experience. . . . If you or any of your family are incommoded with any disease whatever of the feet, he will be happy to give proof of his skill." Another letter by Bryant, same date, to Sec. of War Stanton, suggests that Zacharie be made head of a proposed "corps of chiropodists, for the army, to inspect the feet of the men and keep them in order for marching. . . . A soldier who cannot march is a useless incumbrance." Banks, writing on his headquarters letterhead from Washington to Gen. (John A.) Dix at Fortress Monroe, Va., 6 October 1862, advises that Zacharie "has permission from the Secretary of War to operate upon the troops." Opdyke, writing on his mayoral letterhead to Lincoln, 28 August 1862, also introduces Zacharie and opines that it is "unquestionably very important that all our soldiers . . . should be able at all times to command the use of their feet." Andrews, writing to Lincoln on letterhead of the New York Custom House, avows that: "If you . . . give him a hearing & examine his testimonials . . . you will put him in the way of doing the country a good service in providing for the comfort of the soldier." Also bound in are engraved portraits of each of the testimonial writers. Accompanied by a rare copy of Zacharie's Surgical and Practical Observations on the Diseases of the Human Foot (New York, 1860), slim 8vo, original gilt titled brown cloth (repaired; hinges reinforced), inscribed in pencil on the front free endpaper "Presented to C.W. Hale by the author June 5, 1864".

    Provenance
    : Barrett, lot 409; Sang; Sotheby's, New York, sale of 27 March 1985, lot 196.


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    November, 2008
    20th Thursday
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