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Sale 2486 Lot 3
(AUTOGRAPHS.) Commission of William O. Stoddard as secretary to the president, signed by Lincoln. Partly-printed Document Signed by Abraham Lincoln as President and Caleb B. Smith as Secretary of the Interior, with embossed Department of the Interior seal. One page, 14 3/4 x 20 inches; folds, toning, 1-inch closed tear in top margin, short closed separation along fold in bottom margin. Washington, 17 July 1861
Estimate $7,000 - 10,000
William O. Stoddard (1835-1925) had met and campaigned for Lincoln in his days as editor of the Central Illinois Gazette. He hoped for a position on Lincoln's staff after the election, but the budget only allowed for one private secretary, and that position was held by John Nicolay. However, an increased crush of routine work soon made apparent the need for additional staff. Stoddard was officially placed on the Department of the Interior payroll; his job as given on this commission was "secretary to the President to sign patents for lands." As one of Lincoln's three personal secretaries, he signed hundreds of documents a day, often on behalf of the president (see lot 10 below for an example), and handled the presidential correspondence until his health gave out in 1864. His pay was $1500 per year. See: Stoddard, Inside the White House in War Times; Stoddard, Lincoln at Work: Sketches from Life; and Holzer, Dear Mr. Lincoln: Letters to the President, pages 14-17. Provenance: sold by granddaughter Eleanor Holden Stoddard (1921-2014) to the consignor in 1988. See also lots 55 and 134.