Ray, Medill and Company to Abraham Lincoln, 29 June 18581
My Dear Sir,–
We want an autobiography of Abraham Lincoln, the next U.S. Senator from Illinois, to be placed at our discretion, for publication if expedient.2 "A plain unvarnished tale" is what we would desire. You are the only man who can furnish the facts. To save the imputation of having done so to us, you might give Herndon the points, and he would send them to us. We do not care for a narrative— only a record of

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dates, place of nativity parentage, early occupation, trials, disadvantages, &c[etc.] &c— all of which will make, if we are rightly informed, a telling story.
Will you oblige us if you can?4
The consolidated "Press & Tribune" appears on Thursday morning as a nine column sheet.5 The report is that we are coming out for Douglas!6
Yours Very TrulyRay, Medill & Co
by Ray,

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[Envelope]
CHICAGO Ill[Illinois]
JUN[JUNE] 29 1858
Hon Abraham Lincoln,Springfield,Ills.
1Charles H. Ray wrote and signed this letter, including the address on the envelope.
2Ray references Abraham Lincoln's candidacy for U.S. senator in 1858. Lincoln was the Republican Party's candidate against Stephen A. Douglas, the Democratic Party's candidate and the incumbent. See the 1858 Illinois Republican Convention; 1858 Federal Election.
Michael Burlingame, Abraham Lincoln: A Life (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2008), 1:457-85.
3Each "ONE" is encompassed in an ornate border and stacked vertically on the page. They appear to be stamped and are in a different color ink than the text of the letter.
4No biography or autobiography of Abraham Lincoln appeared in the Chicago Press and Tribune in 1858 or 1859. Lincoln may have turned down Ray, Medill, & Company's request, or simply did not find the time to fulfill it. On July 27, 1858, Ray wrote to Lincoln, explaining that interest in Lincoln's biographical story had become national. Ray insisted to Lincoln that everywhere he went, people craved more information on him. Ray pleaded, "You may have sent me those notes which I have teased you about so frequently. If you have not, I beg you, do not delay their preparation an hour beyond the time necessary to give them completeness and an intelligible shape." Ray wrote another letter that July to Lincoln, explaining, "It was my suspicion that Abe Lincoln was not born with a silver spoon in his mouth; and that suspicion more than anything else impelled me to make the request which I did," later adding, "Had you not better reconsider your refusal?"
5Thursday morning was July 1, the first day that the Chicago Tribune and the Democratic Press published a consolidated edition named the Chicago Press and Tribune. The Tribune and the Democratic Press had consolidated operations.
Chicago Press and Tribune (IL), 1 July 1858, 1:1, 2:1; Franklin William Scott, Newspapers and Periodicals of Illinois, 1814-1879, vol. 6 of Collections of the Illinois State Historical Library (Springfield: Illinois State Historical Library, 1910), 59, 63
6Under Ray's influence, the Tribune became one of the first papers to endorse the formation of the Republican Party in Illinois, and Ray contributed much to the ascendancy of the party. The Press & Tribune was a known Republican paper and supported Lincoln for the U.S. Senate. Despite the support of the Press & Tribune, Lincoln would fail in his bid to unseat Douglas. See the 1858 Federal Election.
Chicago Press and Tribune (IL), 20 July 1858, 2:2; Franklin William Scott, Newspapers and Periodicals of Illinois, 1814-1879, 59; Michael Burlingame, Abraham Lincoln: A Life, 1:546-47.
7Lincoln wrote this docketing.

Autograph Letter Signed, 5 page(s), Abraham Lincoln Papers, Library of Congress (Washington, DC).