Abraham Lincoln collection  1856-1902 (bulk 1856-1865)
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Abraham Lincoln (February 12, 1809-April 15, 1865) was born near Hodgenville, Kentucky, the son of carpenter and farmer Thomas Lincoln and his wife, Nancy Hanks. In 1816, the family moved to Indiana, where Nancy died in 1818. The next year, after returning to Kentucky, Thomas Lincoln married a widow, Sarah Bush Johnson, who encouraged young Abraham's intellectual pursuits. The Lincolns then moved to New Salem, Illinois, where Lincoln joined a debate society and began his political career. After an unsuccessful run for the Illinois legislature in 1832, he was elected as a Whig in 1834, 1836, 1838, and 1840. In 1842, he married Mary Todd (1818-1882), with whom he had four children: Robert, Edward, William, and Thomas ("Tad"), of whom only Robert survived to adulthood. After serving a term in the U.S. House of Representatives (1847-1849) and developing his law practice, Lincoln returned to politics in opposition to the Kansas-Nebraska Act in 1854 and made an unsuccessful bid for the U.S. Senate. In 1856, he assisted in the creation of the Republican Party and campaigned on behalf of presidential candidate John C. Fremont. In 1859, he again ran for the U.S. Senate, participating in the famed Lincoln-Douglas debates against Democratic candidate Stephen A. Douglas, but the Illinois legislature selected Douglas for the seat. In 1860 and 1864, Lincoln was elected President of the United States, and he led the Union through the Civil War until he was assassinated by John Wilkes Booth on April 15, 1865.