Mr. Lincoln was clean-shaven while living in Springfield. He used this ornate but small mirror to shave every morning. Shortly before the 1860 election, he received a letter from an eleven year-old girl suggesting that if he would grow a beard it would make him look better and then ladies could tease their husbands into voting for him. He waited until after the election before taking her suggestion and met the girl on his way to Washington.
A wardrobe was essential to hold clothing and other personal articles since it was not customary to have closets in homes in the mid-1800s. Mr. Lincoln used this walnut wardrobe in his bedroom. He sold it at the 1861 moving sale held shortly before leaving for Washington.
The Lincolns purchased a parlor suite of mahogany furniture upholstered in black horsehair fabric in the mid-1850s. They put most of it in storage to use when they returned from the White House. Lincoln stretched out on this long sofa to read or think about his next law case. Upholstered sofa with wooden crest rail, open scroll carved at midpoint, narrow arms, casters.
Mahogany veneer, wood, horsehair. H 97.2 cm, W 219.6 cm, D 67 cm
This chair stood in the front hall of the Lincoln Home for many years next to a matching hat rack. Lincoln gave or sold both in 1861 to the Superintendent of Schools who had an office down the hall from his law office. The upholstery is made up of 31 different velvets in a tumbling block pattern. The Superintendent’s descendants gave both artifacts back to the Lincoln Home.
Wood, velvet, ceramic. H 112.1 cm, W 42.6 cm, D 38.2 cm
Mary Lincoln’s brother-in-law, Ninian Wirt Edwards, gave this to Abraham Lincoln. It is mentioned in newspaper accounts and appears in photographs and drawings of the rooms. It held a wide variety of books since Lincoln often met with law clients in the Back Parlor where this secretary stands. Mr. and Mrs. Lincoln also retired to this room to read Shakespeare, Dickens and the poetry of Robert Burns.
Walnut, wood, glass, felt. H 210 cm, W 133 cm, D 57.5 cm
This pressed glass dish may have been used by Mary Lincoln to serve small items such as nuts or pickles. The pattern on this dish is called “Hobnail” for it’s resemblance to medieval hobnail patterning used on wood furniture.
The Lincolns bought this stove in June 1860 from Eli Kreigh’s store in Springfield. It is said that Mrs. Lincoln was so happy with the way the stove worked she wanted to take it to Washington with her. Mr. Lincoln convinced her to leave it behind.
Cast iron. H 68 cm, W 82 cm, D 113 cm (minus stove pipe)