The documents titled “Autographs of the PRESIDENT AND CABINET, 1864” were created to help raise money for wounded soldiers and were given to various Sanitary Fairs to sell. The narrow pieces of paper had Lincoln’s signature as well as those of his seven Cabinet members.
At the fair held in Cleveland, Elisha N. Sill bought one of the documents and had it bound into a two-volume history written by abolitionist and newspaper publisher Horace Greeley. And then it disappeared for the next 148 years ... until it showed up at the Raab Collection, a Philadelphia historical autograph sales business.
The books and the page of signatures had only two owners since 1864. They stayed with the Sill family for about 50 years until they were sold about a century ago to Summit County, Ohio, Probate Judge Lewis D. Slusser, a Lincoln scholar. They remained in his family until a relative approached Raab about buying the books and document, according to the company.
The document is believed to be one of only five known to exist. The document and the set of books, titled “The American Conflict,” are priced at $35,000.
According to information supplied by Raab, Sill was one of the organizers of the Sanitary Fair where he purchased the page of signatures. He was an Akron banker, abolitionist, state senator and a friend of John Brown, whom he met in the 1850s. Hoping to help Brown avoid the death penalty, Sill testified at Brown’s trial for treason that he thought the man was mentally unbalanced.