University Archives

Lot 224

Previous image preload Next image preload


Abraham Lincoln Collector Frederick H. Meserve ALS Re: Supplementing 1911 "Photographs of Abraham Lincoln"

1p ALS inscribed overall, and signed by notable Lincoln collector Frederick H. Meserve (1865-1962) as "F.H. Meserve" at bottom. Written in New York City on March 23, 1955. The watermarked cream stationery has "Frederick H. Meserve / 148 East 78th Street / New York 21, N.Y." letterhead. Expected light paper folds, and a few scattered ink blots, else near fine. 8.5" x 11".

Frederick H. Meserve, a world-renown collector of Lincoln and Civil War-era photography, ephemera, maps, and books, wrote Arnold F. Gates (1914-1993), fellow Civil War enthusiast and author:

"Upon my return to the City I find the January issue of The Round Table which which [sic] you edit so ably. If you have two extra copies could I have them for my daughter and another friend. Because of my engagements I often find it impossible to be present at the meetings, but my interest is unabated. You will be interested to know that I am working on Supplement No. 4 to my book 'The Photograph [sic] of Abraham Lincoln' of 1911 which will contain 6 more or less known portraits, not published by me."

Frederick H. Meserve's The Photographs of Abraham Lincoln was published in New York in 1911. It was the first catalog raisonne of Lincoln photographs assembled from Meserve's and others' private collections. Photographs of Abraham Lincoln, his family, and his cabinet were included, as well as views of the president's Address at Gettysburg and his interment in Springfield, Illinois. The original 1911 printing was funded by subscribers and limited to 102 copies. Supplement No. 1 was printed in 1917, No. 2 in 1938, No. 3 in 1950, and No. 4 in 1955. The last supplement, which Meserve anticipated would contain 6 photos, actually contained 8 photos.

Meserve, who was then 89 years old, did not allow his advanced age to slow him down. Instead, he complained that numerous "engagements" prevented him from attending Civil War Round Table meetings. The mission of Civil War Round Table organizations--still very much active today--is to increase understanding of the war's context, battles, participants, and effects. The Chicago chapter was the first such organization established in 1940; Milwaukee followed in 1947, and the District of Columbia in 1951. The New York chapter was co-founded by Meserve and a few others on January 24, 1951. Besides Meserve, another celebrated member of the New York chapter of the Civil War Round Table was Allan Nevins (1890-1971), whose 8-volume Ordeal of the Union examined the causes and denouement of the Civil War.

The New York chapter of the Civil War Round Table was just one of the ways that Civil War devotees connected. Members of a specialized community that developed in the mid-twentieth-century United States, they included historians, collectors, autograph dealers, veterans' descendants, freelance writers, history buffs, and reenactment fans. These enthusiasts created a dynamic and rigorous academic environment in which to discuss their favorite subject; they wrote and shared articles and books, met regularly at symposia, and frequently collaborated.

Meserve began collecting Lincolniana in 1897, with the intention of illustrating his father's Civil War diary. Meserve continued collecting over the next sixty years, eventually amassing 200,000 pieces including some previously "lost" or unknown images of Lincoln. Meserve's collection was so esteemed for its completeness that he essentially became the custodian of "Lincoln's image." For example, Meserve was approached by medal and currency engravers, as well as by the sculptors of Lincoln's Memorial Monument, for direct access to his presidential photographs. In 2015, the Meserve-Kunhardt Collection was acquired by the Yale Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library in New Haven, Connecticut.

In the letter, Meserve requested a Civil War Round table issue for his daughter. Dorothy Meserve Kunhardt (1901-1979) helped research, catalog, and curate her father's enormous Lincoln collection, and she herself became a respected authority in the field.

Arnold F. Gates also had a lifelong interest in the Civil War. Gates edited and published works relating to the Civil War period, contributing to such works as the anthology Lincoln for the Ages. His independent monographs include Amberglow of Abraham Lincoln and Joshua Speed and The Rough Side of War: The Civil War Journal of Chesley A. Mosman, First Lieutenant, Company D, 59th Illinois Volunteer Infantry Regiment.

This item comes with a Certificate from John Reznikoff, a premier authenticator for both major 3rd party authentication services, PSA and JSA (James Spence Authentications), as well as numerous auction houses.


Online Payments Accepted

Accepted Forms of Payment

American Express, Discover, MasterCard, Money Order / Cashiers Check, Paypal, Personal Check, Visa, Wire Transfer


We do our own in-house worldwide shipping!

Applicable shipping and handling charges will be added to the invoice. We offer several shipping options, and remain one of the few auction houses who proudly provides professional in-house shipping as an option to our clients. All items will ship with signature required, and full insurance. Most items are sent via Federal Express, with P. O. Box addresses being sent through USPS. We insure through Berkley Asset Protection with rates of $.70 per $100 of value, among the lowest insurance rates in the industry. Our shipping department cameras document every package, both outgoing and incoming, for maximum security. In addition, we compare our shipping and handling rates against those of other auction houses, to ensure that our charges are among the lowest in the trade.

Upon winning your item(s), you will receive an invoice with our in-house shipping and handling fees included. ***We will ship to the address as it appears on your invoice, unless you inform us otherwise, immediately upon your receipt of invoice***

International shipments: In order to comply with our insurance provider, all international shipments will be sent via Fed Ex and customs paperwork will show a value of $1.00. International buyers should contact our office directly with any questions regarding this policy.

Third Party Shipping Option: If a third party shipper is preferred, the buyer is responsible for contacting them directly to make shipping arrangements. For your convenience, we have provided some recommended shippers. For your protection, we will require a signed release from you, confirming your authorization for us to release your lots to your specified third party Please copy and paste this following link into your browser: http://universityarchives.com/UserFiles/ShippingInfo.pdf. At that point, our responsibility and insurance coverage for your item(s) ceases. Items picked up by third party shippers are required to pay Connecticut sales tax. Items requiring third party shipping due to being oversized, fragile or bulky will be denoted in the item description.

Please see our full terms and conditions for names of suggested third party shippers.

After payment has been made in full, University Archives will ship your purchase within 5 business days following receipt of full payment for item.

Please remember that the buyer is responsible for all shipping costs from University Archives' offices in Westport, CT to the buyer's door. Please see full Terms and Conditions of Sale.

August 19, 2020 10:30 AM EDT

Westport, CT, US

You agree to pay a buyer's premium of up to 25.0% and any applicable taxes and shipping

View full terms and conditions

From: To: Increments:
$0 $99 $10
$100 $299 $20
$300 $499 $25
$500 $999 $50
$1,000 $1,999 $100
$2,000 $2,999 $200
$3,000 $4,999 $250
$5,000 $9,999 $500
$10,000 $19,999 $1,000
$20,000 $49,999 $2,500
$50,000 + $5,000