Hard Cover. Chicago: Belford, Clarke & Company, 1889. First Edition. Near Fine.
Three volumes. First edition. Illustrated with photographs of the Lincoln family and facsimiles of autograph letters by Lincoln. Publisher's navy blue cloth, stamped with Lincoln's facsimile signature to front boards in gilt, lettered in gilt to spine and stamped with small circular portrait of Lincoln and asterisks indicating the volume number in gilt, green and white floral endpapers, top edges gilt. A near fine set, with light wear to the spine ends and corners, and a former owner signature to first blank. Housed in a custom folding box. Overall, a beautiful copy of this scarce set. Herndon's Lincoln is an unofficial biography of Abraham Lincoln by his close friend and law partner William H. Herndon. After graduating from Illinois College, Herndon moved to Springfield to work before attending law school, at which point he met the future president. Both men were members of the Whig Party and joined the fledgling Republican Party after the Whig's collapse. While John Nicolay and John Hay wrote the official Lincoln biography, Lincoln: A History (1890), Herndon believed that their account presented an overly glorified image of the national hero. To counter their text, Herndon endeavored to write "the whole truth" with "nothing colored or suppressed; nothing false either written or suggested," which would allow the reader and future generations of Americans to determine their own opinion of the sixteenth president, without being biased by a biographer's exalted opinion. After spending years gathering his correspondences with Lincoln and other significant documents, Herndon collaborated with Jesse William Weik, who helped the lawyer organize the materials into these three volumes. Herndon's Lincoln was met with mixed reviews and was heavily criticized by members of the Lincoln family, especially by widow Mary Todd Lincoln, with whom Herndon had never gotten along with. Despite these criticisms, Herndon's Lincoln remains an informative and exciting text as well as one of the most celebrated of Lincoln's biographies.