Select Contents of Historic Helm Place

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  • AddressThe address for this sale in Lexington, KY 40505 will no longer be shown since it has already ended.
Dates
Sun
Feb 17
1pm to 8pm

Terms

TERMS: See www.bluegrassauction.com for complete auction terms and conditions. Chuck McKee, Auctioneer

Select Contents of Historic Helm Place

 

February 17th at 1:00PM
Preview Friday Prior to Auction 10:00am till 6:00pM
Doors open at 11:00AM

Auction to be held our Gallery
1163 Floyd Drive, Lexington KY 40505

We are pleased to present a very special offering of selected contents of historic Helm Place.

Originally called Cedar Hall, this property is steeped in Bluegrass area history, and is perhaps best noted as the home of Emilie Todd Helm, Mary Todd Lincoln's half-sister, Emilie's daughter and artist Katherine Helm, and later owned by William H. Townsend, noted Lexington attorney and nationally recognized expert on Abraham Lincoln. It was originally owned (while part of Virginia) by General Levi Todd, Emilie's grandfather, and was also owned by the notable Bowman family. It is truly a property woven in the history of the region.

We will be offering select contents of the property to the general public, giving buyers a rare chance to purchase items from this historic property and the historic Helm and Townsend families.

Items in the catalog are noted with their provenance. Items from the Helm Place mansion will come with a letter of authentication. Items that have been authenticated as having belonged to the Helm family (notably Emilie and her daughter Katherine) will come with a letter stating the family as well as Helm Place provenance. A few select additional items placed in the sale not originating from Helm Place are so noted.

While items of notable historic significance have been retained by various Kentucky museums, a great number of items with provenance will be offered, including a wide array of furnishings, fine art, elegant glass, sterling silver, rugs and other finery. Many pieces have been authenticated as belonging directly to the Helm family, and others trace to the Townsend family as well. Of course every piece from this property is part of a long and prominent history of Lexington and the region, with a succession of very prominent families that have ties dating to the earliest history of the Bluegrass region.
 

History of Emilie Todd Helm

Emilie Todd Helm was a notable figure with an interesting historical story to tell. Half sister of Mary Todd, she married Benjamin Hardin Helm in 1856 who would later become a Confederate General. Helm was given command of the First Kentucky Brigade, also called the "Orphan Brigade", and was killed at the Battle of Chickamauga. Widowed, Emilie was then invited to spend the winter of 1863-64 with the Lincoln's in the White House.

This proved to be controversial as Emilie was a Confederate, and was called "The Rebel in the White House". Later disputes between Emilie and the Lincoln's led to a falling out and they would cease communication.

Emilie returned and lived for many years in Elizabethtown, but in 1912, Benjamin Hardin Helm Jr., fulfilling a pledge to bring his mother home to Lexington, bought Cedar Hall as it sat on ground once owned by General Levi Todd, Emilie's grandfather. She lived there until her death in 1930.

Katherine Helm

Emilie's daughter Katherine also lived at Helm Place with her mother, and she was a noted artist working mostly in oils. We are pleased to be offering some of her original works in this sale, a unique chance to enjoy works of art that also are part of the history of the area. Katherine also wrote a book about her aunt Mary Todd, of which a copy will be offered in this event.

 

We have thousands of pictures, a complete and detailed catalog and all terms on our website.

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