Lot 105

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Lincoln, Garfield, Grant & 140 Others Sign Autograph Album, With Amazing Eyewitness Account of Lincoln Signing, Incomparable!

An autograph album assembling more than 140 signatures and inscriptions by various statesmen, military officers, and other prominent figures of the Civil War era, including three present, past, or future presidents, including 16th U.S. President Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865); 18th U.S. President Ulysses S. Grant (1822-1885); and 20th U.S. President James A. Garfield (1831-1881). A remarkable survival of an item signed by the only two assassinated nineteenth-century presidents, Lincoln and Garfield, and probably one of only a few of these combinations to exist. Provenance: From the personal collection of Robert Caldwell Scanland (1825-1895), a Civil War veteran from Peoria, Illinois. Provenance material is included.

The autograph album is bound in contemporary morocco and gilt-decorated on the covers and spine, featuring the album owner's name, "R.C. Scanland" recessed in gilt on the front cover. With elegant marbled pastedown endpapers. The inner blank pages feature various autographs and the occasional three-dimensional object, such as cartes de visite, embossed stickers, 1875 Illinois Volunteers Reunion ribbons, newspaper clippings, and other ephemera. Autograph collection began in the 1860s and most are nineteenth century though some autographs in the album date as late as the 1950s. Expected wear to the paper including toning, edge darkening, foxing, and minor soiling from adhesives, acid burn, ink ghost impressions, etc. Expected wear to the album covers including scattered loss and repair, otherwise very good to near fine. The album measures 4.625" x 7" x 1.25." Housed in a custom clamshell case gilt-embossed "A. Lincoln J. Garfield U. Grant" along the spine.

We know of no other autograph album with such detailed, contemporaneous accounts of when, where, and how some of the more memorable signers autographed the book. Dr. Robert M. Scanland (1854-1930), the autograph album owner's son, recalled and recounted the exact circumstances behind several important signings, including that of Lincoln, Grant, and John A. Logan. A February 18, 1896 article published in the "Peoria Journal" gives us more information about these signing events:

Abraham Lincoln

"One of the first signatures in the book was that of Abraham Lincoln. It was on a visit to Washington in 1862 that this was secured, and Dr. Robert M. Scanland, of this city, then a boy in his teens [genealogical records indicate that R.M. Scanland was then about 8 years old], accompanied his father on the visit. Mr. Scanland, senior, had been well acquainted with Lincoln when he was a struggling lawyer at Springfield. When he sought an interview with the great Illinoisan it was readily granted. On entering the President's room at the White House Mr. Lincoln came forward and grasped the extended hand of Mr. Scanland in both his own, and shaking it vigorously said: 'Well, how are you, Robert? I am glad to see you.' Then turning to the son, said: 'Ah, my boy, how are you? I have a little fellow just about your size, Tad, and I am proud of him. Just look around and have a good time while I talk to your paper.' Dr. Scanland says he cannot recall any more of the conversation, but remembers that when Mr. Lincoln was asked for his autograph, he readily responded, placing his foot on the seat of a chair and resting the book on his knee while marking the signature…" - "Valued Family Heirlooms," as published in the "Peoria Journal," February 18, 1896

U.S. Grant

"There are officers of the army galore in the collection including generals, major generals and colonels on down the grade to captains and lieutenants. But among all the signatures of military men none is so highly prized as that of Gen. U.S. Grant. This was given by the general while on board one of the boats in charge of Mr. Scandland [sic], and he was at the time on his way to that world famous battle ground at Vicksburg. Gen. Grant [probably more likely R.C. Caldwell] added to his signature these words, 'On board steamer "City of Alton" en route for Vicksburg, 1863…' - "Valued Family Heirlooms," as published in the "Peoria Journal," February 18, 1896

Important signers include:

- Abraham Lincoln, as "A. Lincoln"
1862, Washington, D.C.

- U.S. Grant, as "U.S. Grant / Maj. Gen. / U.S.A."
1863, Cairo, Illinois aboard the "City of Alton"

- James A. Garfield, as "J.A. Garfield / Hiram, Ohio"
n.d., Hiram, Ohio

Select signers include, in alphabetical order:

- Brigadier General Napoleon Bonaparte Buford

- Schuyler Colfax

- Major General Napoleon J. T. Dana

- Chauncey Lawson Higbee

- John A. Logan

- John G. Nicolay, Lincoln's secretary (found on same page as the Lincoln signature)

- John M. Palmer

- James M. Tuttle

Also included are numerous other signers, many from the Illinois area (Pittsfield, Cairo, Alton, Hiram, etc.). Definitely deserving of hours of further study!

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.


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March 15, 2023 11:00 AM EDT
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