Gihon, J. & L. [publishers],
Autograph letter Signed, Philadelphia, November 12, 1850 to Brichall & Owen, Springfield, Illinois

Quarto, two pages plus stamp-less address leaf, some light toning to paper, else in good, legible condition.

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      Sends a bill of lading for $ 568.20 in books purchased, including the “Barn Book” [Clater, “Farmer’s barn-book: containing the causes, symptoms, and treatment of all the diseases incident to oxen, sheep, swine… horses”, 1850], sent for Leary & Co. in Philadelphia. Also sends a bill for 33 Chambers Information [probably William and Robert Chambers, Information for the People, Philadephia, 1847] “a book which you ought to sell cords of.” The other titles in the shipment are: Remarkable Events in the History of America, Lovechild’s Nursery Stories, Hart’s Spenser’s Faerie Queen, White’s History of the World, Songs for the People, Gems from Moore’s Melodies, Gems of Art and Beauty, Ballad of Lord Bateman, Pollok’s Course of Time, Baron Trenck, Robinson Crusoe, Don Juan, and Childe Harold.


Caleb Brichall opened his first Springfield store in 1837. In the following years, he was partners with various printers and bookbinders, (and published Goudy’s Illinois Farmer’s Almanac) and from 1848 to 1855, with druggist Thomas Jefferson Vance Owen, a veteran of the Mexican War, in which he served as assistant surgeon. Their thriving business, on the Capitol Square in Springfield sold books, stationery, patent medicine, medical and dental supplies, shipped from Philadelphia, Boston and Chicago. Brichall was an ardent Whig and a supporter of the group that sent free Blacks to “colonize” Liberia. Abraham Lincoln had a long history of connection to the book-store, both as customer and politician. He purchased his law office ledgers there (but not his cough medicine, which he bought from another druggist) and once delivered to the store 23 copies of a steamy novel written by the daughter of a fellow lawyer and state legislator which was read appreciatively by Mary Lincoln.