Illinois’ Lincoln treasures

Staff Writer
Mount Shasta Herald

List and comments by James Cornelius, curator of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum

1. Stovepipe hat

Purchased by Abraham Lincoln from Josiah H. Adams’ shop on the west side of the Old State Capitol square, probably during 1850s. Made of felted beaver fur. Inside band stretched a bit — evidence of letters, etc., carried there. Finger-wear on brim from regular tipping. Only two other Lincoln top hats, both silk, are known to exist. They belong to Robert Todd Lincoln’s Hildene estate (the hat is now on loan at Disney World) and the Smithsonian. But silk hats were White House possessions. Ours, worn by Lincoln in Illinois, is iconic. (Gift from the Louise Taper collection)

2. Lincoln’s bloodstained gloves from Ford’s Theatre

In the left coat pocket when Lincoln was shot, Lincoln’s kid-leather gloves were soaked with his blood dripping down onto them. Used formally when shaking hands upon entering public buildings, they are now slightly shrunk, we presume. (Taper collection)

3. Gettysburg Address, the Edward Everett Copy

The third one Lincoln wrote out of five by request and the first one to contain the words “under God,” the state paid $60,000 for it in 1944. We also have the leather notebook Everett placed it in that includes Everett’s own Gettysburg speech, maps, photos, etc. The leather hinges are being repaired right now and probably will be displayed in the near future.

4. Emancipation Proclamation

One of the two dozen known signed presentation copies, of the 48 originally printed. (The original burned in Chicago in 1871.) Known as the Leland-Boker copies. (A gift to the Illinois State Historic Library in 1937)

5. 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution (ending slavery)

The U.S. House resolution dated Feb 1, 1865, with signatures of Lincoln, Vice President Hannibal Hamlin and Speaker Schuyler Colfax, plus the more than 100 House members who supported the measure. Copies, along with the signed Senate resolution, were then sent to each governor. (Purchased by the state for $3,000 in 1941.)

6. Presidential seal

From Lincoln’s second administration, it shows 36 stars around the American eagle. Still has the red sealing wax on the ivory handle and in the brass die, which is about the size of a penny. (Taper collection)

7. Presidential portfolio

Dark green leather, with gold-stamped decorative border and the name “Abraham Lincoln” also stamped. Red wax smeared on inside of flap. Some evidence that this carried his drafts of the Emancipation Proclamation, as he used it to travel to and from the White House and the Soldiers’ Home cottage each day during summers. (Heyser family gift, 2004)

8. Mary Todd Lincoln’s blood-stained fan, from Ford’s Theatre

Includes ornately carved ivory sticks, silk blades and ostrich-feather plumes on the tips of the blades. (Taper collection)

9. Tad Lincoln’s toy cannon

Bronze model of a real cannon used by U.S. Navy Ordnance Department. Lincoln requested it for Tad. The firing pin is bent so Tad couldn’t “hurt himself.” (Purchased in the 1950s)

10. Abraham Lincoln photo album

Initials “AL” gilt-stamped in cover, the album contains dozens of visitors to White House and other notables of the day, including family members, senators and Gen. and Mrs. Tom (Charles Sherwood Stratton) Thumb.