A letter sent from Abraham Lincoln to his fiancee Mary Owens in December, 1836 is to star in a sale of books and manuscripts at Sotheby's New York.
It's expected to sell for around $300,000-500,000 on December 14.
Lincoln half-jokingly agreed to marry Owens in 1836 and soon found himself trapped. While he and Owens were intellectual equals, she was often described as "matronly" in contemporary accounts - something that clearly bothered Lincoln.
Equally Owens, a member of a wealthy family, increasingly found Lincoln gauche as she got to know him better. When he grudgingly proposed to her in 1837 she turned him down.
He went on to marry Mary Todd. Their relationship was often marred by mutual animosity.
Lincoln's junior law partner William Herndon would later describe the marriage as "a burning scorching hell" and as "terrible as death and as gloomy as the grave."
At one point though, Lincoln seemed quite keen on Mary Owens. In this letter he finishes: "Write back as soon as you get this, and if possible say something that will please me for really I have not [been] pleased since I left you.
"This letter is so dry and [stupid] that I am ashamed to send it, but with my present feelings I can not do any better."
The letter offers a fascinating insight into Lincoln's love life, a factor that could substantially inflate its value at auction.
Sotheby's explains: "Lincoln letters with any significant personal content are very scarce and are particularly rare in the market. Consequential letters from his twenties are even less common.
"The present letter is the only courting or romantic letter that is obtainable. Lincoln evidently never wrote to Ann Rutledge [his first love], and no pre-marriage letters of his to Mary Todd are known."
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