Abraham Lincoln’s courting couch has been restored to its former glory, thanks to an incredibly successful Kickstarter campaign, supported by Sofa Workshop, and was unveiled by the Springfield Art Association last week.
The couch in question happens to be the very couch where Abraham Lincoln once sat as he courted future wife Mary Todd. The couch was even witness to the wedding in 1842 but, even after outliving the very house it once occupied, it was in dire need of repair, until recently.
Fortunately, the historical significance of the couch did not go ignored and after a successful campaign on crowdsourcing website Kickstarter, the funds needed to restore the couch were raised and exceeded as donations flooded in.
It’s a good thing the campaign was so popular because it was not a straightforward process. During the early stages of the restoration, a closer examination of the Lincoln Courting Couch revealed that the original horsehair upholstery was still intact after all these years, hidden under a layer of replacement fabric.
The greatest care would be needed if the couch was to be restored correctly but, with all the necessary funds raised, The Conservation Center in Chicago was able to completely restore it by the end of January this year. The process involved stabilising the frame, patching up the fabric and steaming the upholstery flat where it had crumpled over the years. Finally the mahogany was waxed until it all looked good as new.
The grand unveiling took place on February 11 at Edwards Place in Springfield and it was a huge success. An excited crowd of guests gathered as a talk was given about the courting couch and the story behind it. Guests in attendance included members of the Springfield Art Association, living history interpreters of the 10th Illinois Cavalry and other historians, as well as other supporters of the project. Finally, the cover was removed and everyone was able to see the fully restored couch close up.
But the restoration won’t end there. The campaign was so successful that the amount needed to fund the restoration was greatly exceeded. That extra money is being put to good use and will all go towards the restoration of Edwards Place itself, as well as many of the objects stored within.
Other items of furniture include an 1831 mahogany sideboard, an 1850s centre table, an incredibly rare 1830s upright piano and many more, all of which would have been seen by Abraham Lincoln and his peers. These objects too have taken some damage over time but additional funding will contribute towards their preservation.