Rare Lincoln WH Invitation to Grand Presidential Party

Unique Lincoln White House Invitation 5.25” x 2.5” to the Grand Presidential Party, which the Washington Star called the “Most superb affair of its kind ever seen.” The party was thrown so Mrs. Lincoln could show off the White House, whose redecoration had cost more than $20,000. Very good with edge toning.

A similar ticket to the same event, made out to a less important individual, recently sold for $8,750 in Heritage.

The engraved invitation reads:

"The President & Mrs. Lincoln request the honor of Mrs. Gov. Andrew's company on Wednes [sic] evening Feb. 5 [1862] at 9 o'clock."

Mrs. Lincoln received some backlash for hosting this extravagant affair during the Civil War, in her effort to show off the recently redecorated White House. No dancing was permitted, but the Marine Band played throughout the evening. Unfortunately, Willie Lincoln was ill with cholera and on this night which was supposed to be an extravagant evening for the President and Mrs. Lincoln, the Lincoln's spent a great deal of time in their boy's bed-chamber. Willie Lincoln would succumb to the illness just a few days later.

The event was described by residential aide John G. Nicolay as a “very respectable if not a brilliant success. Guests came from congressional, military and diplomatic circles and were admitted only with their invitations in hand. It was almost strictly ‘official,’ few, indeed, obtaining admission, who had no official claim to an invitation.” Nicolay noted that begging for tickets was such that attendees “will be forever happy in the recollection of the favor enjoyed, because their vanity has been tickled with the thought that they have attained something which others have not.”

The invitation to the Lincoln’s Grand Presidential Party was issued to Governor John Andrew, the “War Governor” of Massachusetts. Lincoln and Andrew had a thorny relationship. Fundamentally, the two stood for the same things but they were polar opposites in personality and in their political tactics. This led to considerable frustration and drama.

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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February 16, 2022 10:30 AM EST
Wilton, CT, US

University Archives

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Bid Increments
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