Abraham Lincoln Springfield Brick
Above: Front of the Specimen Card
During his life, Abraham Lincoln only owned one home: 413 South Eighth Street in Springfield, Illinois. The Lincoln family moved to the property in 1844 and the building would be their home through highs and lows in both family and political life. This specimen is a fragment of brick from the walkway of that home. The brick was removed during renovation work in 1954.
Originally, part of the First Edition of the Mini Museum we are proud to offer it once more as a stand-alone item.
Above: Macro image of brick specimen preparation in-process.
Each hand-cut brick fragment is encased inside an acrylic specimen jar and presented in one of our classic, glass-topped riker display boxes. The size varies but on average the fragments measure 1 x 0.5 x 0.5 cm. The riker display box measures 4 1/2" x 3 1/2". A small information card is also included, which serves as the certificate of authenticity.
About Abraham Lincoln
"O Captain! My Captain!" ~ Walt Whitman
Born into the poverty of the early 19th-century frontier, Abraham Lincoln had a childhood of hard labor with little opportunity for schooling. However, young Lincoln was obsessed with reading, with a special love for poetry. As a young man, he left his father’s home and made a life for himself in the town of New Salem, Illinois. Lincoln’s political career began early, first running for state legislature at only the age of 23. Though this first attempt would be a failure, he ran again and won two years later.
Above: Abraham Lincoln in 1846 as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives.
Lincoln would eventually come to win the Republican nomination for the 1860 presidential election. He was an unorthodox pick, with few outside of Illinois (which was effectively still a frontier state) respecting the choice of a politically unaccomplished lawyer. However, Lincoln would prove himself to be an incredibly clever political strategist. When building his cabinet, he brought together his own political rivals in order to strengthen the bonds of the Republican Party. His presidential victory would eventually lead him to cement the Union leading up to the Civil War.
Above: Lincoln presenting the first draft of the Emancipation Proclamation to his cabinet on July 22, 1862. Left to right: Secretary of War Edwin Stanton, Secretary of the Treasury Salmon P. Chase, Lincoln, Secretary of the Navy Gideon Welles, Secretary of the Interior Caleb Smith, Secretary of State William H. Seward, Postmaster General Montgomery Blair, and Attorney General Edward Bates. Engraving by A. H. Ritchie.
During his time in office, President Lincoln masterfully guided significant legislation through a very complicated Congress. In addition to winning the Civil War and ending slavery through the passage of the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, Abraham Lincoln signed the Homestead Act of 1862, making millions of acres of Western lands available for purchase, and the Pacific Railway Acts of 1862 and 1864 which made the first Transcontinental Railroad possible and opened the West for dramatic expansion.
Above: "Pickett's Charge", part of Peter Frederick Rothermel's Battle of Gettysburg series (1870)
Four months after the Battle of Gettysburg, President Lincoln delivered remarks at the dedication of the Solider's National Cemetery in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. It is said that Lincoln was rather quiet as he delivered the speech. Most researchers believe he may have been suffering from a case of smallpox. Regardless, this short speech summarizes one of the most tumultuous events in American history:
"Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.
"Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.
In a larger sense, we can not dedicate, we can not consecrate, we can not hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."
~ Abraham Lincoln, November 19th, 1863
President Lincoln was assassinated in office while attending a play at Ford's Theater in Washington, DC on April 15, 1865. His assassin was John Wilkes Booth, a well-known actor of the time and Confederate spy. The President's death sealed his memory as a national martyr and in the years since his legend has grown.
Lincoln only owned a single house during his lifetime: a one and a half story building at 413 South Eighth Street in Springfield, Illinois. The Lincoln family moved to the property in 1844 and the building would be their home through highs and lows in both family and political life. Three of Lincoln’s children were born here and unfortunately, three would pass away here as well. In 1860 after Lincoln was elected President of the United States, the family moved their best furniture from the property and rented the home out, intending to return at the end of his term in office.
Above: 1866 etching of the Lincoln home from the Library of Congress.
After the death of her husband, Mary Lincoln would not return to the Springfield house. She wrote that she “could not bear to return to the scenes of the happiest times in my life without my family.” In 1887, the family’s only living son, Robert Todd Lincoln donated the property to the State of Illinois in order to preserve it as a historic site. In 1954, the state-organized a refurbishing of the house, replacing any broken material in the brickwork. Today the house is managed by the National Parks Service, which holds many historical activities on site that are open to the public.
Above: Back of the Specimen Card