Tour guides, again!
My sister visited Washington, D. C. on business. She was told that Abe
Lincoln used to stay at the hotel (I forget which, or maybe it was A hotel
that USED to be there), and Lincoln spent much time in the lobby. It was from
Lincoln's time spent in the 1860s in that lobby that we have our word "lobby"
I've found "lobby" especially common in the 1850s. It was somewhat rare
in the 1840s, and I haven't found it at all (OED has one citation) in the
1830s. This is from the New York American, 18 February 1843, pg. 2, col. 2:
Albany, Wednesday, Feb, 15th.
The struggle for the "spoils" is intense beyond all description. Never,
within the memory of man, was the Capital so overrun by office-seekers. The
_lobby_ daily in attendance upon the Governor and Legislature is several