Sep 29, 2022 - Sale 2615

Sale 2615 - Lot 261

Price Realized: $ 1,875
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 1,000 - $ 1,500
(GIDEON WELLES.) Engraved invitation to a White House dinner with "The President & Mrs. Lincoln." Printed card, engraved by Philp & Solomons, 3 3/4 x 5 1/2 inches, completed in manuscript for "Mrs. Welles . . . Wednesday Feb. 8th at 7" in an unknown hand; light mat toning, mounting tape on verso. [Washington], 8 February [1865]

Additional Details

The Washington Evening Star of 9 February 1865 describes this White House event, which went from about 7 to 10 in the evening: "The dinner, which was a magnificent one, was furnished by a celebrated French cook, and the Marine Band enlivened the occasion with excellent music." The published guest list did not include the recipient of this invitation, Mary Jane Hales Welles, who was a close friend of Mary Todd Lincoln and doubtless attended other dinners at the White House--but she was apparently forced to turn down this invitation with regret. The newspaper reported that the same evening, "Secretary Welles . . . gave his second evening reception. . . . The spacious parlours were thronged at an early hour." Both Admiral Farragut and Postmaster General William Dennison managed to attend both dinners, probably sneaking out awkwardly from the Welles event before its conclusion.

Provenance: from the collection of Thomas Welles Brainard, great-great-grandson of Lincoln's Secretary of the Navy Gideon Welles.