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New Lincoln document poses a mystery

Papers of Abraham Lincoln finds political motive behind cryptic note with missing sectionLincoln to Swett

March 8, 2014

SPRINGFIELD – The note is scrawled in Abraham Lincoln’s distinctive hand and carries his signature, but little else is clear. When was it written and to whom? What are the views that Lincoln wants to know more about? And, above all, why was a key name cut out of the note?

Historians at the Papers of Abraham Lincoln believe they’ve solved the riddle of this new Lincoln document. It was a note asking one of Lincoln’s allies to maintain a secret relationship with a notorious political insider during the election of 1860.

Manuscript dealer David Lowenherz of Lion Heart Autographs, Inc., in New York City recently contacted the Papers of Abraham Lincoln about the document, which says:

My dear Sir,
      I thank you for the copy of [clipped section] If you can keep up a correspondence with him without much effort, it will be well enough. I like to know his views occasionally.
                                                                       Yours in haste
                                                                       A Lincoln

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Abraham Lincoln and the Case of the Mysterious Letter

Johnston to Lincoln letter fragmentPapers of Abraham Lincoln determines who wrote mouse-eaten letter found in walls of Lincoln home

January 3, 2014

SPRINGFIELD – More than 25 years ago, workers repairing Abraham Lincoln’s former home found part of a letter in the walls. Although stained by time and damaged by mice, the letter had clearly been sent to the future president in 1846. But just who had written it was a mystery.
Not anymore. The Papers of Abraham Lincoln, thanks to research by Associate Editor Stacy Pratt McDermott, has discovered the letter was written by Andrew Johnston, a newspaper editor, lawyer and fan of Lincoln’s poetry.
McDermott compared the handwriting on the letter found in Lincoln’s home to another letter Johnston wrote to Lincoln in 1865 and to a note Johnston wrote in 1872 on an old letter from Lincoln. The handwriting was a perfect match.

“Discovering the identity of the author and connecting the letter to a part of Lincoln's life about which we know very little illustrates the importance of the editing work we are doing at the Papers of Abraham Lincoln, and it is an example of why I love my job,” McDermott said.

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Lincoln documents found in world's oldest republic

Images obtained by Papers of Abraham Lincoln include 1861 letter granting San Marino citizenship to Lincoln

December 9, 2013

SPRINGFIELD – Even the world’s oldest and smallest republic shares in Abraham Lincoln’s legacy. Two Lincoln-related documents – including one granting citizenship to the new president – have been found in the Republic of San Marino.

Images of the 1861 letters have been added to the collection of the Papers of Abraham Lincoln, a project dedicated to tracking down all documents to and from America’s 16th president.

The first of the two letters was sent to Lincoln by San Marino’s Regent Captains, the nation’s joint heads of state. In English and Italian, they said that as a “mark of high consideration and sincere fraternity” for the United States, citizenship in the Republic of San Marino had been conferred on Lincoln. They also acknowledged America’s “political griefs” and prayed that God would “grant you a peaceful solution.”

In his response dated May 7, 1861, Lincoln thanked the Council of San Marino “for the honor of citizenship” and assured them that “although your dominion is small, your State is nevertheless one of the most honored in all history.” He explained that the Civil War “involves the question whether a Representative republic, extended and aggrandized so much as to be safe against foreign enemies, can save itself from the dangers of domestic faction.”

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Grant will help safeguard images of Lincoln papers

Papers of Abraham Lincoln receives ‘AWS in Education Grant’ to store images in secure environment

September 3, 2013

SPRINGFIELD – The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum announced today that Amazon Web Services has awarded the Papers of Abraham Lincoln an “AWS in Education Grant” of $24,000 in storage services. This will allow the Papers of Abraham Lincoln to store more than 35 terabytes of master image files in a secure environment.

For the past decade, the staff of the Papers of Abraham Lincoln has been collecting images of documents written by or to Abraham Lincoln from repositories and private collections around the world. The project has scanned more than 90,000 documents from more than 400 repositories and 180 private collections in 47 states and 5 foreign countries thus far. The archive will likely top 150,000 documents when complete.

From 2006 to 2013, the National Center for Supercomputing Applications at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign housed the growing archive of master image files. The retirement of their Mass Storage System has forced the project to look for a new storage solution for its 35 terabytes of files. (Thirty-five terabytes is roughly equivalent to a digital music file that would play non-stop for 68 years, or to 10.8 million photographs.)

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New Abraham Lincoln document found in Switzerland

Letter from clergyman recommends female journalist who ended up covering the Lincoln White House

July 23, 2013Beecher to Lincoln 1

SPRINGFIELD –The Papers of Abraham Lincoln, a research project based at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield, has identified a previously unknown Lincoln document in Switzerland. The document is a letter of introduction for a female journalist written by famous clergyman Henry Ward Beecher and includes a note from the president at the bottom.

The document came to light as a result of global contacts made by the Papers of Abraham Lincoln during its search for any document written by or to the 16th president. One of those contacts, Tim Verhoeven, a Lecturer at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, remembered seeing what he thought was a Lincoln document while doing research in Switzerland. He sent a digital image to the experts in Springfield, who then contacted the Bibliothèque de Genève. The Papers of Abraham Lincoln was able to confirm the two-page letter as a previously unknown Lincoln document. 

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