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F. Ray Risdon Collection of Lincolniana and American Political Life COL-039
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  • Related Materials
  • Access
  • Publication Rights
  • Biographical and Administrative History
  • Preferred Citation

  • Title: F. Ray Risdon Collection of Lincolniana and American Political Life
    Identifier/Call Number: COL-039
    Contributing Institution: Occidental College Library
    Language of Material: English
    Physical Description: 85.0 Linear feet 175 document boxes 3248 monographs
    Date: 1799-1972
    Abstract: F. Ray Risdon collected Lincolniana for almost fifty years. His collection passed to Occidental College Library in 1957, by which time he had amassed 3000 monographs, 1500 pamphlets, and 85 linear feet of non-book items. Of special interest to Mr. Risdon were the myriad ways in which people choose to commemorate President Lincoln, and this collection includes not only a wide variety of commemorative material, but also correspondence regarding the creation of a Lincolniana collection between Mr. Risdon, the Lincoln Society of Los Angeles of which he was a member, and the booksellers who helped Mr. Risdon locate the items.
    creator: Risdon, F. Ray, 21 Jan 1888-7 Oct 1958

    Related Materials

    William Jennings Bryan Collection, F.D.R. Collection, John Lloyd-Butler Railroadiana Collection, Elizabeth Chevalier Collection, Collection of U.S. Army rolls


    Collection is open for research.

    Publication Rights

    All requests for permission to publish or quote from holdings must be submitted in writing to the Special Collections Department. Permission for publication is given on behalf of Special Collections as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained.

    Biographical and Administrative History

    Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865) was the 16th president of the United States. Before his election to the presidency in 1860, he had been a lawyer, a member of the Illinois state legislature and the U.S. House of Representatives, and had failed in two attempts at gaining a seat in the U.S. Senate. His career tracked the major political movements of the mid-nineteenth century, as his support of the Whigs shifted to the anti-slavery Republican Party after the former party split along sectional lines in the wake of the compromises on slavery in legislation of the early 1850s. Shortly after his triumph in the 1860 election, and even before his inauguration, the Southern states began the process of secession in reaction to the first election since 1848 (of Zachary Taylor) of a president who would not favor the pro-slavery faction in Congress. Lincoln’s conduct during the Civil War has placed him among the most renowned of presidents. John Wilkes Booth assasinated him on the night of April 14, 1865, and he died the next day.
    F. Ray Risdon (1888-1958) was a Los Angeles lawyer, Republican party booster, and member of the Lincoln Fellowship of Southern California. Between 1910 and the mid-1950s he amassed what Lincoln bibliographer Jay Monaghan called, “the largest private collection of Lincolniana on the Pacific Coast.” Occidental Library Special Collections purchased these materials in 1957. Risdon’s primary source for Lincolniana and other rare books and manuscripts was Dawson’s Book Shop, which opened in 1905 and is the oldest continuously operating bookshop in Los Angeles. He collected broadly, buying, in addition to books and pamphlets, art, letters, legal documents, and many items not directly relating to Lincoln, but which provide contextual information about American politics of the nineteenth century. Risdon kept records of his purchases, and these receipts, along with his correspondence with other Lincoln collectors, are also housed in the collection. After his death, the collection received funding of approximately $500 per year until the late 1960s. This money was primarily directed to the purchase of new books, so that the date range of items in this collection runs from the late-eighteenth century to Richard Nixon’s first administration.

    Preferred Citation

    Suggested citation of records contained in this collection is: [Identification of item], F. Ray Risdon Collection of Lincolniana and American Political Life, Special Collection Department, Mary Norton Clapp Library, Occidental College.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Carman, Ezra Ayers, 1834-1909 -- Correspondence
    Lincoln, Abraham, 1809-1865 -- History
    Morse, Ephraim W., 1823-1906 -- Correspondence
    Welles, Gideon, 1802-1878 -- Correspondence
    Elections--United States
    Presidents--United States--Election
    Presidents--United States--Miscellanea
    United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Correspondence
    United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Equipment & supplies
    United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Pictorial works
    United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Regimental histories--Massachusetts Infantry--34th
    United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Songs and music
    United States--History--Civil War--1861-1865--Collectibles
    United States--Politics and government