- From the Publisher
- A Cup Half-Empty
- Who Were the Lincoln Life Guards?
- Kepi Controversy
- Primary Source Material: Manuscripts
- Overlooked Evidence: Lincoln in Pioneer Chicago
- “THE UNION Is DISSOLVED” The Charleston Mercury Broadside: Points of Authenticity and Variations
- Lincoln Letter Fraud on Ebay
- What He Really Thought of Lincoln: The Discovery of an Unpublished Letter by William F. Herndon
- The Sanitary Fair’s Gifts to President Lincoln
- Behind the Scenes At Federal Hall
- In The Marketplace
- LINCOLNPHILE (book reviews)
- The Annotated Lincoln
- Lincoln’s Campaign Biographies
- Lincoln’s Code: The Laws of War in American History
- “Lincoln” Hits the Screens
- We Have The War Upon Us: The Onset of the Civil War, November 1860-April 1861
- Homefront & Battlefield: Quilts and Context in the Civil War
- President James Buchanan and the Crisis of National Leadership
- Giant in the Shadows: The Life of Robert T. Lincoln
- Lincoln Legends: Myths, Hoaxes, and Confabulations Associated With Our Greatest President.
- Abraham Lincoln: The Image of His Greatness.
- Letters to the Editor
- The Obvious Lincoln
- DeWitt Deaccession Debate
- Fake Lincoln Endorsement
- Historical inaccuracies found in CDV
- More on the Lincoln Avengers
- Cartoon Artist Identified
- Kepi Commentary
- An Item in Search of a Story
- Show & Tell
- Replicas For Sale
- Dueling Blogs
- Lincoln Artwork or Just Artwork?
- Devil with a Blue Dress On
- Breyer Model Horses
- Kudos on the new site!
- This daguerreotype looks like Lincoln, but is it Lincoln?
- What Is Lincoln’s Embalmer Worth?
- New Lincoln Stuff on the Market
- Rail Splinters
- Suspect Lincoln
- A Note from the Great Beyond
- ‘A. Lincoln’ Money Pit
- Added Cachet Value
- A Constant Flow of Fakes
- Problematic Copy Images
- Fraudulent Tintype
- If Only It Were Real!
- Rip-Off Ribbons
- Bogus Ballot
- “Ay, tear her tattered ensign down”
- Legit and Illegitimate Theater: The Ford’s Theatre Ticket
- Implausible Provenance
- Twice As [Not] Nice
- These Have Age, But Not Enough
- The Real and the Unreal
- Great Finds!
Suspect Lincoln: A Real Conundrum
We picture a broadside that recently sold for $900 at an auction in southwest Wisconsin. When we first saw this, our initial reaction was that it was no good. Like the ubiquitous Western reward posters, it had been mounted to a wooden board and varnished. It also had a distressed look about it with numerous areas of loss. The sale had a few Civil War vintage pieces and everything else in the sale seemed legit. We tried keeping an open mind on the subject and did a little research. Lincoln did, in fact, speak at the DeSoto House on July 23, 1856. And, he was a candidate for Republican Presidential Elector on the Fremont Ticket. If real, this was a piece of great historical importance, despite the flaws. We couldn’t view the item in person, so had to weigh the good and the bad. The good included:
1. The size. The board measured 20″ x 24″. Reproductions typically aren’t this large.
2. It didn’t look like it was printed on that crinkly parchment paper so often used with reprints, with artificial loss and singing around the perimeter, but no damage in the main body of the poster. The loss was scattered and random.
3. The event in question is so obscure that it is an unlikely candidate for a reproduction or fantasy piece.
4. Lincoln’s speech was a planned event, not an impromptu one. It is entirely plausible that it was advertised at the time in newspapers and through handbills or broadsides.
Now, the bad points:
1. Some of the type fonts, especially the “July 23, 1856″ more closely resemble type fonts used in the 1930s.
2. The use of the slogan “Rally Round the Flag!” was used extensively during the Civil War. We cannot recall any instances of it being used in the pre-1861 period. A more appropriate slogan might have been “Fremont and Freedom!” or something of that ilk.
3. The paper used on broadsides in the 1856 period generally tends to be fairly thick with a high rag content. It is unlikely that such paper could deteriorate to such a point that mounting to a wooden board was deemed necessary. Wood pulp paper of the post-1890 period is more apt to be brittle and subject to chipping.
4. The ink spread on the large, block letters appears uniform. Because of uneven distribution of ink, the large lettering on original broadsides typically show lighter and darker areas.
5. There doesn’t appear to be any ghosting or bleeding, as sometimes seen on original broadsides.
In conclusion, there are two possible scenarios. The first… the piece is authentic and a “Great Find!” The second… it is a total fantasy piece produced by residents of Galena at some celebratory event (possibly a 50th anniversary) to commemorative their day of glory when Abraham Lincoln came to town and gave a campaign speech. It could also have been copied from a newspaper announcement which it certainly “sounds” like. In that case, it truly belongs in the “Suspect Lincoln” category. Which one is it? We may never know. You “pays your money and you takes your chances.”
NOW AVAILABLE FROM THE RAIL SPLITTER PRESS:
Book Review Archive
- Act of Justice: Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation and the Law of War.
- The Dark Intrigue: The True Story of a Civil War Conspiracy.
- President Lincoln: the Duty of a Statesman.
- Lincoln’s Men: The President and His Private Secretaries.
- The Lincoln’s: Portrait of a Marriage.
- The Madness of Mary Lincoln.
- Lincoln the Inventor.
- Lincoln and New York.
Rail Splinters Archive
- Stereo view photographs of Abraham Lincoln statue damaged in 1906 San Francisco earthquake
- Lincoln in Film
- John Wilkes Booth? Probably not.
- Answer to the question “Whatever became of the Gillett collection?”
- What happened to the Gillette Collection?
- This Train is Bound for Glory
- Lincoln Ballots 1834-1864
- Lincoln Museum in Boise
- Lincoln at the Abolition Ball
- Where East Meets West
- A Prince of a Guy
- In Memoriam: C. Peter Scanlan
- Portrait of Lincoln Legal Associate Unearthed
- Thomas T. Eckert Archive: Telegraphic History of the Civil War
- Beethoven’s medium channels news of Lincoln’s Death by composing “The Funeral March”
- Where is Mary Todd Lincoln’s 1861 Inaugural Ball dress?
- The Meatball does The Sauceman (and The Rail Splitter) proud
- Lincoln “apparently not” a sexist
- Campaign woodcuts in illustrated magazines, symbolism or adornment?
- 1890 Wide-Awake Reunion program
- Baltimore Coin & Currency Convention Highlights
Past Print Issues