Manuscript Collection

Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln "Wanting to Work" Letter - Accession 1399 - M691 (747)


Abraham Lincoln



Accession 1399 - M691 (747)

Inclusive Dates



Open under the rules and regulations of the Louise Pettus Archives and Special Collections

Collection Size

1 piece



Scope and Content Note

This collection consists of a copy of former President Abraham Lincoln’s famous “Wanting to Work” letter to Major George D. Ramsey dated October 17, 1861. The Archives copy of the letter is most likely a forgery, as the “real” letter was supposedly sold at auction in the late 1970s to the Forbes Magazine. The Archives’ copy of the “Wanting to Work” letter was given to Dr. Alta Y. Forbess and her husband in the 1950s as payment for a debt from a man while they lived in the Midwest. The man said that he had purchased the letter at an auction. The letter later changed hands to her sister, Carolyn Yelvington of York, SC who in turn donated it to the Winthrop Archives. The name of the man who claimed to have bought the letter at auction in the 1950s is not known.


Abraham Lincoln “Wanting to Work” Letter was given to the Archives by Carolyn Yelvington on April 27, 1983.


For information concerning copyright please contact the Louise Pettus Archives and Special Collections at Winthrop University.

Abraham Lincoln

LC Subject Headings

Lincoln, Abraham, 1809-1865--Correspondence; Ramsay, George Douglas, 1802-1882--Correspondence