The Theory and Practice of Surveying, Robert Gibson, 1814

Surveyor of Sangamon

In his 1860 campaign autobiography, Lincoln chronicled his varied employment history as a merchant, a postmaster, and surveyor in Sangamon County, Illinois. In each of these jobs, as well as during his career as a lawyer, he educated himself through avid reading. Lincoln read this copy of The Theory and Practice of Surveying along with A System of Geometry and Trigonometry, by Abel Flint. During the mid-1830s, Lincoln began to read law books, including Blackstone’s Commentaries on the Laws of England.