Photograph album of Abraham Lincoln’s funeral procession leads American History Auction

CINCINNATI – A one-of-a-kind album of 97 carte de visite photographs featuring 25 images of Lincoln’s funeral procession will be offered in Cowan’s Dec. 9, 2009, American History Auction. Never before has such a comprehensive collection of images related to Lincoln’s funeral been offered by Cowan’s, an international leader in auctions of historical Americana.

The album is comprised of images from three of the nine cities on the funeral route – Columbus, Ohio, and Chicago and Springfield, Ill. While valuable for its rarity as a whole, the album includes several cartes de visite which are exceptional individually, including an image of the processional arch in Chicago, and an image of Lincoln’s bedroom in his Springfield home. Additionally, several photographs are not illustrated in Twenty Days, Kunhardt and Kunhardt’s comprehensive 1965 account of Lincoln’s assassination and funeral.

Also among the images of three of the cities on the route are the railroad car used to transport his coffin, the hearse, the crepe-draped city hall in Chicago, and a view of Lincoln’s horse “Old Bob” and his African-American groom, the Reverend Henry Brown, standing before the Lincoln home in Springfield. Rounding out the album are interior scenes of the funeral, a tinted image of the Lincoln’s boyhood home, and a number of copy views of Lincoln and his family. The album is estimated to bring between $8,000 and $10,000.

Joining the Lincoln album is a group of 47 albumen photographs illustrating the 1884 rescue of the members of Adolphus W. Greely Expedition to Fort Conger (Lady Franklin Bay, Ellesmere Island, Canada). The tragic expedition, though a success scientifically, resulted in the deaths of 18 of the 25 crew members after ships carrying supplies failed to reach Fort Conger. Finally, after a public outcry for the rescue of the doomed expedition, three American ships were sent to attempt to locate the group of explorers. An important archive documenting the golden age of Arctic exploration, the group of photographs is estimated to bring $10,000-$15,000.

What is believed to be the earliest known photograph of the Confederate Vice President Alexander Stephens is to be offered as part of a rare archive of Stephens’ family photographs, estimated to bring $10,000-$15,000. The collection of 17 images, which descended through Stephens’ heirs via Mary Corry, his great niece, includes a tintype of Stephens’ slave, Pierce, as well as images of Stephen’s extended family and other slaves.

A Georgian by birth, Stephens was elected to Congress in 1843. He supported slavery and the Kansas-Nebraska Act. Although as a Democrat, he opposed the election of Lincoln in 1860, and he argued against secession. Lincoln wrote to Stephens emphasizing their similarities in views, other than on that critical issue of slavery. With the formation of the Confederate States of America on Feb. 8, 1861, Stephens was elected Jefferson Davis’ Vice President. However, theirs was an uneasy relationship; Stephens had little respect for Davis and opposed his determination to fight until the end. Stephens made several attempts to talk to Lincoln about ending the war. After the war he was briefly imprisoned before being pardoned by Andrew Johnson. He was elected again to Congress, resigning in 1882 to serve as Governor of Georgia until his death in 1883.

The full catalog for the Dec. 9 American History Auction is available on Printed catalogs are available for purchase by calling or e-mailing Cowan’s.

Live bidding, absentee, phone, or bidding live online via Cowan’s new proprietary service iCowans are all available for this auction.

Photos courtesy Cowan’s Auctions.


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