Finding the earliest mention of notable people in period newspapers, long before they would become national figures, is a quest of many. Such nuggets–when found–can become treasured pieces for any collection.
We recently discovered what, by our research, is the earliest letter signed by Lincoln to appear in a newspaper. The “New York Weekly Tribune” of July 8, 1848  printed a letter signed A. Lincoln from when he was a representative from Illinois in the national legislature (see photos).In our 44 years of experience this is the earliest we have encountered. One would think letters may have appeared in his local Springfield, Illinois newspaper but lacking the holdings to do such research we can only speculate.
Are any collectors out there aware of an earlier published letter signed by Lincoln? Let the collecting world know!