1861 Abraham Lincoln Signed Presidential Appointment with 1905 Jacques Reich Etching

This is an original document signed by Abraham Lincoln as President, dated October 10, 1861. The document is a partly-printed official document appointing Warren Thornberry as “Surveyor of the Customs of the Port of Paducah, in the State of Kentucky”. The appointment is countersigned by Salmon Chase, Secretary of Treasury.

The document reads, in part:

Abraham Lincoln
President of the United Stated of America
Know Ye; That, reposing special trust and confidence in the integrity, diligence, and discretion of Warren Thornberry, I DO APPOINT HIM Surveyor of the Customs for the Port of Paducah, in the State of Kentucky and do authorize and empower him to execute and fulfill the duties of that office according to law; and to have and hold the said office, with all the rights and emoluments thereunto legally appertaining, unto him, the said Warren Thornberry during the pleasure of the PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES for the time being, and until the end of the next session of the Senate of the United States, and no longer.
In testimony whereof, I have caused these Letters to be made Patent, and the Seal of the Treasury Department of the United States to be hereunto affixed.
Given under my hand, at the CITY OF WASHINGTON, this tenth day of October in the year of OUR LORD, one thousand eight hundred and Sixty one and of the INDEPENDENCE OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA the Eighty-sixth.
BY THE PRESIDENT, Abraham Lincoln
S. Chase, Secretary of the Treasury.


Paducah, Kentucky was platted out and named in honor of the largest nation of Native Americans that ever roamed North America, the Padouca Indians. Lewis and Clark had met many of the Padouca while on their trek west. Paducah thrived due to its port facilities along the waterways that were used by steamboats. A factory that manufactured red bricks was established and a foundry for making rail and locomotive components was built, ultimately contributing to a river and rail industrial economy.

In 1856, Paducah was chartered as a city. The community continued to capitalize on its geographic location by becoming the site of dry dock facilities for steamboats and towboats and, in turn, headquarters for various barg-line companies. Paducah also became an important railway hub for the Illinois Central Railroad (ICRR) due to its proximity to the coalfields in Kentucky and Illinois.

Framed above the Surveyor of Customs appointment is an original, pencil-signed Jacques Reich etched portrait of Abraham Lincoln. Reich completed the portrait in 1905. Reich was Hungarian-born portrait etcher, active mainly in the United States. After studying at the National Academy of Design in New York and the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia, Reich established a studio in New York City in 1885. Working on private commissions and portrait designs for Appelton’s Cyclopaedia of American Biography and Scribner’s Cylodaedia of Painters and Paintings, Reich honed his portraiture technique and skill. In the early 1890s, Reich began working on copper plates, etching a series of 14 portraits of American and English artists, writers, and poets.

Reich completed a series of etched portraits titled “Famous Americans”, which number 25 subjects, and include Hamilton, Franklin, Carnegie, Curtis, Roosevelt, Washington, Jefferson, and Abraham Lincoln, as displayed here.

The Lincoln portrait is a beautifully executed etching, printed in 1905. It is a strong impression on creamy paper. Reich based his portrait off the famous Matthew Brady photograph of Lincoln. The photograph was taken in 1864, as the nation was in the final throes of the Civil War. Lincoln is depicted from the shoulders up, in partial profile, and wears a black topcoat, white shirt, and black bowtie. His brow is slightly furrowed and his expression collected. The overall result is a stoic, insightful and skillful rendering of our 16th President. The bottom paper margin includes a pencil signature of Jacques Reich as well as a pencil inscription which reads “Remarque Proof No. 23”. AT center bottom margin is a facsimile etched Lincoln signature, reading “A. Lincoln.” The print also has a small remarque portrait in the lower right paper margin. The remarque depicts Lincoln in side profile, from the shoulders up. 


The signed appointment is in very good condition, consistent with age and gentle use. The paper is healthy. Light toning and soft expected folds in both horizontal and vertical directions. Two pin dots of paper loss. Lincoln’s signature is incredibly crisp and in black ink. Chase’s signature is also in black ink, and in good condition

The Presidential appointment and etching have been artfully housed in a custom black wooden frame, with linen top mats and windows cut to display each item. They have been framed to highest conservation standards, with acid-free mats and backing and UV conservation clear glass.

Framed dimensions: 46"H x 28"W x 1.5"D. 

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