Our Collection

At the Institute’s core is the Gilder Lehrman Collection, one of the great archives in American history. More than 70,000 items cover five hundred years of American history, from Columbus’s 1493 letter describing the New World to soldiers’ letters from World War II and Vietnam. Explore primary sources, visit exhibitions in person or online, or bring your class on a field trip.

Lincoln, Abraham (1809-1865) [Presidential pardon of Arthur O'Bryan, who had been convicted in the District of Columbia of attempted bestiality in August 1857].

High-resolution images are available to schools and libraries via subscription to American History, 1493-1943. Check to see if your school or library already has a subscription. Or click here for more information. You may also order a pdf of the image from us here.

Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC04335 Author/Creator: Lincoln, Abraham (1809-1865) Place Written: Washington, D.C. Type: Document signed Date: 19 August 1861 Pagination: 2 p. 42.2 x 25.7 cm

Summary of Content: Pardoned by Lincoln near the end of his sentence because of his exemplary behavior in prison, because he had been decent and well-behaved, but was drunk when he committed the offense, and at the request of a large number of respected citizens. Countersigned by Secretary of State William H. Seward.

Background Information:

People: Lincoln, Abraham, 1809-1865
Seward, William Henry, 1801-1872

Historical Era: Civil War and Reconstruction, 1861-1877

Subjects: PresidentGovernment and CivicsPardonCrimeCriminals and OutlawsPrisonerSexuality

Sub Era: The American Civil War

Order a Copy Citation Guidelines for Online Resources