ABBOTT, Lyman, and Samuel Byram HALLIDAY. Henry Ward Beecher: A Sketch of his Career: With Analyses of His Power as a Preacher, Lecturer, Orator and Journalist, and Incidents and Reminiscences of His Life … Characterizations and personal Reminiscences, contributed by thirty-nine eminent writers. Also Mr. Beecher's Life as sketched by himself shortly before his Death. Hartford, Conn., American Publishing Company, 1887.
8vo. Original brown cloth, spine lettered in gilt, front cover with Beecher's facsimile signature in gilt, ornamented in blind, patterened endpapers; pp. [ii]-xii, , -670, lithographic plates, steel-engraved portrait-frontispiece with loose tissue guard, light spotting to frontispiece and title, otherwise near-fine.
First edition of the substantially enlarged version (first, and shorter, 1883). Beecher, brother of Harriet Beecher Stowe, was an effective American nineteenth century orator, noted for his support of the abolition of slavery and the suffrage of women, as well as his friendship with some of the century's most famous writers, including Henry Thoreau, Mark Twain, and Walt Whitman. Among his many daring exploits were the Beecher Bibles, trunks of guns sent to abolitionist settlers for self defence, marked as Bibles. In 1863 Lincoln had sent Beecher on an extensive lecture tour to Europe, where he shifted popular support away from the Confederate States. When the war drew to a close, in April 1865, Beecher was invited to speak at Fort Sumter, South Carolina, where the first shots of the war had been fired in 1861. Lincoln, who had chosen Beecher to deliver the speech, stated, 'We had better send Beecher down to deliver the address on the occasion of raising the flag because if it had not been for Beecher there would have been no flag to raise' (Debby Applegate, The Most Famous Man in America. The Biography of Henry Ward Beecher, p. 6). Among the contributors to the testimonies about Beecher's life and work are one Rabbi, and several Scottish ministers.