George Bancroft was an eminent and learned figure in the American political landscape of the 19th century. In light of his many roles as historian, naval officer, diplomat, and tireless advocate for higher education, it seemed only natural that Congress would choose him to eulogize President Abraham Lincoln in a special address. This eulogy is immensely powerful; it stands both as an eloquent and poignant remembrance of Lincoln and as a representation of Bancroft as a thinker and writer. Bancroft’s Memorial Address on the Life and Character of Abraham Lincoln was published several times and is really a wonderful inclusion in any collection concerning American history or Lincoln specifically.
Copies of George Bancroft’s Memorial Address on the Life and Character of Abraham Lincoln are still frequently available at auction and through online retailers. First editions of the 1866 publication by the Government Printing Office in Washington, D.C. are frequently valued between $100 and $350, although they sometimes sell for slightly less than that at auction. A subsequent republication by the Government Printing Office in 1903 is not valued quite as highly as the 1866 edition—generally it sells between $50 and $200. Some of the factors in the price fluctuation are condition, demand, and unique features. A large format copy with illustration has previously sold at auction for $4,200.