You may not have heard about the courting couch but it has a lot more historical importance attached to it than the average sofa. At roughly 180 years old the couch has seen better days, but back when it was in its prime it was witness to the beginning of American President Abraham Lincoln’s relationship with Mary Todd.
Back in 1840, the couch could be found in the parlour of Ninian Edwards’ house in Springfield, Illinois, and it was on this very couch that Lincoln would court his future wife. Sure enough, the couple married in that very parlour in 1842. Unfortunately, that house no longer stands as it was torn down in 1917, but the couch lives on.
It is now in the possession of the Springfield Art Association at Edwards Place in Springfield, but, although it remains in remarkably sturdy shape, the years have not been kind to it. After years of wear and tear, it is now rather damaged and worn out. However, the couch is not irreparable and restoration has already begun on it.
These things cost money though, and an antique like the courting couch requires only the best professional care, which is where Kickstarter comes in. This popular crowdfunding website has been a source of support for many different projects and causes so, with so much historical significance behind it, the courting couch was the perfect subject for a fundraiser.
The campaign kicked off on November 21, offering various perks to those who contributed, depending on how much money they pledged. For example, anyone who pledged $5 or more would receive an invitation to the Restoration Reveal Reception in February, while a pledge exceeding $1000 would entitle the contributor to an original pastel painting of Abraham Lincoln and Mary Todd on the couch, in addition to all the other perks below it.
Since then many people, including ourselves here at Sofa Workshop, have contributed towards the $4500 goal, and the efforts of the association have not gone unrewarded. The target was met and exceeded within a few days of the January 20 deadline for the campaign. Needless to say, the association is thrilled with the overwhelming support it has received and continues to post updates on the campaign page.
The courting couch is currently undergoing restoration at the Conservation Center in Chicago and the process is expected to be completed near the end of January. There was an interesting development during the early stages of the restoration as it turned out that the seat back and arms of the couch were in fact covered with a replacement fabric and on its removal, the original horsehair upholstery was discovered underneath.
With the project nearing completion, the grand unveiling of the newly restored couch will take place on February 11 at Edwards Place in Springfield. Until then, it is still possible to contribute towards the project on its Kickstarter page.