406. Grace Bedell to William H. Herndon.

Albion, Orleans Co. N.Y. Dec 14th. 1866

Hon. L. R. Herndon:

Hearing that you were preparing for press the Life of the noblest of men, and that you wished all unpublished letters of his composing sent to you, I concluded that I would ask if a letter which he once wrote me would prove acceptable. I do not know that it would answer your purpose or I would send a copy of it now. however, I will tell you its subject and you shall judge. Before Mr Lincoln's election in 1860, I, then a child of eleven years, was presented with his lithograph. Admiring him with my whole heart I thought, still, that his appearance would be much improved should he cultivate his whiskers. Childish thoughts must have utterance, so I proposed the idea to him, expressing, as well as I was able, the esteem in which he was held among honest men. A few days after I received an answer to my communication. a kind and friendly letter which is still in my possession. It appears that I was not forgotten, for, after his election to the presidency, while on his journey to Washington, the train stopped at Westfield, Chautauque Co, at which place I then resided. Mr Lincoln said "I have a correspondent in this place, a little girl, her name is Grace Bedell, and I would like to see her." I was conveyed to him, he stepped from the cars extending his hand and saying, "You see I have let these whiskers grow for you, Grace." kissed me shook me cordially by the hand and, was gone. Afterward I was frequently assured of his remembrance. If this letter would be of any service in completing your book, I should be pleased to send you a copy. Asking pardon for consuming so much of your valuable time. I remain

Grace. G. Bedell.

Springfield, Oct 19th, 1860.

Miss Grace Bedell,
My Dear Little Miss:

Your very agreeable letter of the 15th is received — I regret the necessity of saying that I have no daughter — I have three sons — one seventeen, one nine, and one seven. They, with their mother, constitute my whole family. As to the whiskers, as I have never worn any, do you not think that people would call it a piece of silly affectation, if I were to begin wearing them now?

I am, your fine friend
and sincere well-wisher
A. Lincoln.

Library of Congress: Herndon-Weik Collection. Manuscript Division. Library of Congress. Washington, D.C. 2899 — 2900