Leaf from Sum Book
Abraham Lincoln, 1824-1826. Lincoln Miscellaneous Manuscripts Collection
The earliest surviving sample of Lincoln’s handwriting is found in a boyhood “sum
book” that he kept while he was intermittently attending local frontier schools in Perry
County, Indiana. In 1866, Lincoln’s step-mother gave the sum book to his former law
partner, William H. Herndon, and the volume was subsequently broken apart. Ten
leaves from the sum book are known to survive in different institutions, including this
example from the William E. Barton collection.