We are always happy to have visitors to the book shop. We will do our very best to find exciting items for you when you visit.
We are proud to be one of the few remaining open shops in Chicago. Many of our colleagues are online only now; being a brick-and-mortar shop is a testament to our customer’s devotion. We are also a micro-business-there are less than five people working at the book shop.
If you are coming to visit and are seeking something special or a specific item it’s to your advantage to make an appointment. There are many exciting items that are put away-some off site-so if we know you are coming we can have a better array of items for you, tailored to your specific needs. We want you to have the opportunity to make your best selection.
History of Abraham Lincoln Book Shop
Established in 1938, the Abraham Lincoln Book Shop serves the needs of collectors and scholars, professional historians and independent writers, dedicated first edition hunters and casual history enthusiasts.
Ralph Newman, a master promoter, raconteur, one time Merchant Marine, minor-league baseball player and hopeless bibliophile, founded the shop in part to serve the passionate collecting needs of a small circle of friends devoted to the study of the Civil War and the Great Emancipator. Among that small circle were poet Carl Sandburg, authors Bruce Catton, Otto Eisenschiml, E. B. ‘Pete’ Long, Stanley Horn, Lloyd Lewis, and T. Harry Williams, Illinois Governor Otto Kerner and William O. Douglas, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States.
Also among Newman’s circle of friends were the fifteen men who became the charter members of The Civil War Round Table, the first chapter in a movement of Civil War Round Tables that meet monthly across the U.S. and around the World. Round Table members from around the globe still visit the Book Shop and sit at the original “round table” while reviewing Lincoln autographs, manuscripts, artwork, or rare books.
In 1971 Daniel Weinberg entered into a partnership with Ralph Newman, and in 1984 purchased Newman’s interest to become the sole proprietor.
As suggested by our name, the Book Shop specializes in Lincolniana, material related to the Civil War and material related to U.S. presidents. Rare books, autographs, manuscripts, works of art, statuary, and other treasures grace our shelves and our walls. In-print books, pamphlets, historic broadsides, cartes de visite, and magnificent reproductions of Lincoln and Civil War photographs are available to those who share our love of history. Among our staff we number experts in U.S. history, publishing and bookbinding, art history, photographic history, and handwriting.
While we take pride in our ability to obtain some of the rarest historic collectibles, our wide selection of in-print and out-of-print books provide a ready resource for the new student looking to start an American history library with reasonably priced first editions of standard works. We provide assistance to those developing new collections with our carefully assembled lists of recommended titles on Lincoln, The Essential Lincoln Book Shelf, and on the U.S. Presidency, The Essential Presidential Book Shelf.
In addition to our well-stocked shelves and collecting lists, we supply important services to the history collector. We offer expert appraisal services for those who wish to establish the monetary worth of family heirlooms for donation, insurance, or tax reasons.
Even though we have about the longest history of any commercial venture in our field, the Abraham Lincoln Book Shop continues to develop new and exciting items for the walls and book shelves of our friends and customers. In recent years we have brought to the market contact prints of President Lincoln from Alexander Gardner’s original collodion wet-plate glass negatives, including the most vivid image yet of the famous “Gettysburg Lincoln,” and a magnificent Imperial Salt Print of the same view. We are also proud to celebrate the 2001 publication of Lincoln’s Assassins: Their Trial And Execution, by James Swanson (a long time customer) and Daniel Weinberg.