On this day, 2/12—212 years ago!—Abraham Lincoln was born at his family's "Sinking Spring Farm" in Kentucky. Raised to perform hard physical farm labor, he and his family moved several times during his childhood, eventually to Illinois when Abraham was 21. Lincoln was not a pampered child, born to comfort and luxury; he faced difficult challenges throughout his life—the most difficult, no doubt, as the 16th President of the United States. Lincoln was handed a country on the brink of civil war. Conservatives in the South were outraged at the election of this gangly, progressive leader (and alarmed that he would challenge their economic prosperity, based on enslavement). The month after his inauguration, the Civil War began.
In the late Nineteenth Century, Julius Francis from Buffalo, New York, campaigned to have 12 February declared a National Holiday. Ultimately, he did not succeed; even today, only some states recognize the holiday (and others combine it with Washington's Birthday or Presidents' Day). But the holiday was recognized in Buffalo in 1873 (or 1874) a few years after Julius Francis's death.
Today, on 12 February, a memorial wreath is laid at his birthplace in Kentucky, at his tomb in Springfield, Illinois and at his Memorial in Washington, DC (built 1914-1922).
The bookends, above, were made in the 1920's or 1930's by Bradley & Hubbard. They provide a solemn and handsome tribute to the great man who died trying to make America great. Please click on the photo above to learn more about them.
Though our Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed, LEO Design is still alive and well! Please visit our on-line store where we continue to sell Handsome Gifts (www.LEOdesignNYC.com).
We also can be found in Pittsburgh's historic "Strip District" at Mahla & Co. Antiques (www.mahlaantiques.com) or in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania at The Antique Center of Strabane (www.antiquecenterofstrabane.com).
Or call to arrange to visit our Pittsburgh showroom (by private appointment only). 917-446-4248