Gordon Block collection of Lincolniana
Held at: University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts [Contact Us]3420 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6206
This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.
Overview and metadata sections
Gordon Alexander Block (1885-1964) was a Philadelphia lawyer and collector of Lincoln documents and memorabilia. Born on January 4, 1885 in Philadelphia, Block attended the University of Pennsylvania and graduated with a bachelor of laws in 1905. He went on to become a successful Philadelphia lawyer and eventually a partner in the firm Wolf, Block, Schorr and Solis-Cohen. In 1911 he married Reba Fleisher and they had two children, Ida (b. 1911) and Gordon Jr. (b.1914). He died in Philadelphia on October 19, 1964. He left his extensive collection of Lincolniana to the University of Pennsylvania in his will and it was received by the library in 1965.
The collection includes twenty-three documents either signed by Lincoln or in his hand including a number of pleadings and court documents from his years as a lawyer in Illinois. The collection also contains a variety of ephemera from the Civil War era, including campaign ribbons and songbooks from 1860 and 1864 as well as broadsides, ribbons, and mourning cards issued after Lincoln's assassination. In addition, researchers will find a rich selection of visual representations of Lincoln in the collection, including lithographs, prints, photographs, and engravings of the sixteenth president. Among these are a series of signed prints of Lincoln made by Timothy Cole in 1919 as well as the woodblock itself used to produce them. The collection also contains a rare set of original documents concerning Lincoln's election in 1860 and 1864. Found amongst a paper dealer's stock, these documents are certificates and ballots from the Pennsylvania Electoral College which chose Lincoln as president in both elections. In addition to the items listed in this finding aid, the collection includes an additional 126 items, largely printed books and pamphlets which are cataloged separately. Block had an acute interest in Lincoln's personal library and acquired three books owned by Lincoln himself which are now in the collection. He also collected over a dozen other early titles representative of books Lincoln likely read. Among the pamphlets relating to Lincoln and his legacy are items in 14 languages, including Hawaiian, Dakota, Chinese, Russian, and Yiddish. In addition there is a printed ticket to Andrew Johnson's impeachment housed and cataloged separately. To see all of these items search for the Gordon Block Collection of Lincolniana.
Many of the materials in this collection were housed in scrapbooks or other volumes. These have been removed and are now foldered separately. The original location of items is noted in the folder descriptions. An inventory of the collection as it was received is available in Box 5, folder 36.
- University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts
- Finding Aid Author
- Mitch Fraas
- Finding Aid Date
- Access Restrictions
This collection is open for research use.
- Use Restrictions
Copyright restrictions may exist. For most library holdings, the Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania do not hold copyright. It is the responsibility of the requester to seek permission from the holder of the copyright to reproduce material from the Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts.