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The centerpiece of Long9 Studio is the Lincoln Desk, which has a unique history.

Abraham Lincoln used this desk when he served as an Illinois State Representative during the first three of his four terms in office. At that time, the state capitol was in Vandalia—about 75 miles southeast of Springfield.

Lincoln helped lead the effort to move the capitol to Springfield, and the desk followed him there as they met in a church building while the new capitol building was being built. When the legislature convened in the new capitol for the first time on December 7, 1840, they did so with brand new desks. Lincoln’s new desk is on display in the Hall of Representatives in what’s now called the Old State Capitol in Springfield.

Lincoln’s old desk was taken by his friend, John G. Graham. Graham was a member of the Illinois House of Representatives from 1858-1864. When Graham died, his landlady stored the desk, not knowing what it was, in an old chicken house. In 1898, a man by the name of C.E. Kuhlthau asked his landlady—this same woman—if she had a desk he could use to do his writing on. She produced the desk from storage.

After using the desk for a bit, Kuhlthau went to send it to a repair shop, and in the process turned it over. There, pasted to the underside, he discovered a piece of paper that was now over forty years old, dated 1857. It read in part: “This desk was used by Abraham Lincoln…as a member of the Illinois Legislature…”

Now knowing what he had, Kuhlthau convinced the landlady to sell him the desk, which she did for a mere $2. Kuhlthau brought the desk with him to his home in Alton, then to Dayton, OH, where he stored it in his stable. In 1920, he donated it to Henry E. Buck, Curator of the Museum Department of the Delaware Public Library, where it was put on display.

The desk made its way into several private collections over the next hundred years, until appearing at auction in Dallas, TX, in December of 2022 where we purchased it and brought it back to Illinois.