Grace Bedell’s letter to Lincoln

David Bedell brought Grace to my attention, and sent the following 2 letters, quoted from Kunhardt, Lincoln: An Illustrated Biography (1992), p.13.

Jim Tennant’s web pages have more information about Grace Bedell’s neighborhood. Jim warns “what I wrote … is family oral tradition which may have been embellished through the years. Grace was said to live on Brewer Place, a short dead-end street next to the Brewer manse, directly across Main Street from the Tennant house.” There is a photo of the Tennant house on Jim’s homepage and more about Lincoln’s visit to the Tennant house on another page.

Who knows more about Grace or her family?

Hon A B Lincoln…Oct. 15, 1860

Dear Sir

My father has just home from the fair and brought home your picture and Mr. Hamlin’s. I am a little girl only eleven years old, but want you should be President of the United States very much so I hope you wont think me very bold to write to such a g reat man as you are. Have you any little girls about as large as I am if so give them my love and tell her to write to me if you cannot answer this letter. I have got 4 brother’s and part of them will vote for you any way and if you let your whiskers gr ow I will try and get the rest of them to vote for you you would look a great deal better for your face is so thin. All the ladies like whiskers and they would tease their husband’s to vote for you and then you would be President. My father is a going to vote for you and if I was a man I would vote for you to but I will try and get every one to vote for you that I can I think that rail fence around your picture makes it look very pretty I have got a little baby sister she is nine weeks old and is just as cunning as can be. When you direct your letter dir[e]ct to Grace Bedell Westfield Chatauque County New York

I must not write any more answer this letter right off Good bye

Grace Bedell


Springfield, Ill., Oct. 19, 1860Miss Grace Bedell

My dear little Miss,

Your very agreeable letter of the 15th is received.

I regret the necessity of saying I have no daughters. I have three sons–one seventeen, one nine, and one seven, years of age. They, with their mother, constitute my whole family.

As to the whiskers, having never worn any, do you not think people would call it a piece of silly affection if I were to begin it now?

Your very sincere well-wisher,

A. Lincoln

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