In 1880, Osborn Oldroyd invited Frederick Douglass to write something for a collection of tributes to Abraham Lincoln, published two years later as The Lincoln Memorial: Album-Immortelles. Douglass was uncharacteristically brief, but in a mere sixty-eight words he captured many of the elements of character that he believed made Lincoln “a great man.” Lincoln was tender but strong, patient, a man of broad sympathies, and above all a patriot. At once unpretentious and impressive, Lincoln was, to Douglass, “one of the noblest wisest and best men I ever knew.”
Before he became president, Abraham Lincoln supported himself and his family as an attorney. For nearly a quarter of a century, he was a country lawyer, who frequently traveled for up to six months a year through Illinois’s 8th Judicial Circuit, which spanned fourteen counties. He handled more than 400 criminal and civil appeals before the Illinois supreme court. Altogether, Lincoln probably handled some 3,000 legal cases.