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    Description

    A Pair of Spectacles that Belonged to Abraham Lincoln, made of a zinc-colored metal, adjustable frames, open loop terminals on the bow ends; stamped "18" on each bow. The bows can be pulled out or pushed in to adjust their length. Together with the original leather-covered paper case, gilt stamped "C.R. Smith & Sons / 1510 Market St. / Philadelphia." Analysis has shown that, judging by these, Lincoln was mildly far-sighted, a characteristic shared by the two pairs given to the Library of Congress by his granddaughter in 1937. Overall condition is excellent; the case is somewhat worn, especially at corners, with small tears, and a piece has been roughly torn away at foot. This pair of glasses was presented to Joseph Leisenring, a Mount Pleasant, Iowa, photographer who was a neighbor and friend of the Harlan family. Mary Harlan Lincoln, the president's daughter-in-law, often spent long vacations in Mount Pleasant with her children, and many of their few known youthful photographs were taken at the Leisenring studio; some of the very few portraits of Abraham ("Jack") Lincoln II, the President's only grandson, who died at the age of 17, were done by him. The spectacles are accompanied by extensive documentation, the single most significant item being a Mary Harlan Lincoln Autograph Letter Signed "Mary Lincoln", Mt. Pleasant, 26 February [18]94, written to Leisenring upon hearing that "you are going to leave us. Will you please accept this little book in remembrance of our dear Jack - you see he has written his name on the fly-leaf. You can put it away with the 'A.L.' spectacles which I gave you a long time ago, & so have a little memento of the grand-son as well as the grand-father." The letter is subscribed "With all good wishes for your future." Together with a notarized affidavit signed by David Rowland (Leisenring's great-great grandson), Morgan Co., Ill., 23 August 1985, describing the spectacles and setting out the chain of family ownership until their acquisition by Dr. Lattimer; and numerous other papers, 1936-80s, concerning the Leisenring family, these glasses, and Lincoln's eyesight and other spectacles which he owned. Most of the documentation is in fine condition; the Mary Harlan Lincoln letter is somewhat faded, with scattered stains, and minuscule holes along some folds. Unfortunately, not-so-magic tape has been used to reinforce weak or broken folds and has begun to transluce; ideally it should be removed by an expert conservator, and proper preservation methods applied. Simple, yet intimate, - and truly stunning - Lincolniana.



    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    November, 2008
    20th Thursday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 20
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 5,624

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