Staten Island: 1927. 4to, seven letters totaling 10 pp. With five original envelopes and a postal receipt. Very Good. Item #List113
A series of letters, sometimes confused but entertaining in nature, written by a descendant of the Francis family of Springfield, relating to Lincoln-related relics from the Simeon Francis Home, where Abraham and Mary Todd Lincoln met. The specifics of the courtship have been debated by Lincoln’s biographers, with Carl Sandburg asserting that Mrs. Francis had played matchmaker for Lincoln and Mary Todd unbeknownst to either of them by inviting them to a party in her parlor at the same time. Simeon Francis was a close friend of Lincoln, Lincoln’s tutor and eventually his appointee as Paymaster of all Federal troops in the Pacific Northwest.
In these letters, Allen Francis Edgar - the great grandson of Allen Francis - writes with much embellishment of his collection of Lincoln artifacts obtained from the Francis house including the knife that cut Lincoln’s wedding cake, and relates anecdotes about Lincoln: “I have quite a historical collection of relics of the Francis Home that are historical in the life of Lincoln and never published. Two large oil paintings painted By Mr. Darling an artist who came from Boston in the year 1851. He painted Lincoln’s portrait and Mary Todd’s… the paintings I have are of Allen Francis and her daughter Huldah Francis. Huldah is holding a rose in her had placed there by A. Lincoln, old antique candle holders by which Lincoln read books and played cards Favorite game was whist, knife that cut Lincoln’s wedding cake, cup and saucer Lincoln drank tea out of and silver tea pot… I have the diary of Allen Francis which contains a volume of historical fact...In speaking of Stuart do you know when Lincoln went to practice with Stuart, Stuart told Lincoln we can’t have you around the office Abe you don’t dress well enough. Lincoln came to Allen Francis and asked him could he fix him up with some clothes. Picture Lincoln his toes were sticking out of his shoes. It certainly is wonderful to think he became President of the U.S.” Several of the other letters concern the loaning of artifacts and photographs.
Some of Edgar Allen Francis’s letters were collected by Lincoln’s biographer Ida Tarbell and are held in the Allegheny College Special Collections. Though we can’t confirm the specifics of the artifacts he mentions: the journal, the knife that cut the wedding cake, Lincoln’s preference for whist or any of the other claims laid out by Francis, this remains an interesting collection that shows, if nothing else, the space that Lincoln and the relics of his life could occupy in the imagination of those with any connection to him.
A very good collection, well preserved with minimal normal wear.