map to hidden ‘Treasures’
New book celebrates historic items at
Lincoln Presidential Library; book-signing to be held Sept. 23
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[September 13, 2014]
– A letter from a lonely congressman named Abraham to his absent
wife, Mary. The key, literally, to one of the biggest scandals in
Illinois history. Medieval paperwork from the bishop of London.
These and dozens of other historic items are celebrated in a new
book, “Treasures of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library.”
The book looks back at the 125-year history of the library, which
began in 1889 as the Illinois State Historical Library.
Published by Southern Illinois University Press, “Treasures” is now
on sale at the gift shop of the Lincoln Presidential Library and
Museum. It also can be ordered at www.SIUpress.com and online
sellers such as Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
A book-release party – with music, hors d’oeuvres and many of the
book’s contributors on hand to sign copies – will be held at the
presidential library on Sept. 23 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. To reserve
space, go to the “special event reservations” section at
“Treasures” offers readers a taste of the library’s vast collection.
It includes dozens of photographs and short essays about items in
the collection, which goes far beyond Abraham Lincoln.
Library staff decided which treasures to highlight. “In many cases
it was as difficult as choosing a favorite child because the Library
has so many great things,” writes the book’s editor, Glenna R.
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The items can be touching or surprising or simply amusing. Among
- Lincoln’s 1848 letter telling Mary how “exceedingly
tasteless” his work in Washington has become without her at his
- The key to room 546 of Springfield’s St. Nicholas Hotel,
where hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash was found after
the death of the man staying there, Illinois Secretary of State
- A grant issued in 1274 by Johannes I, bishop of London. This
is the oldest item in the library’s collection.
- A 1926 directory of African-Americans living in Sangamon
County, with a section on their painful history in the area.
- The 1875 jury verdict declaring Mary Lincoln legally insane.
- The signature of Joseph Smith, founder of the Church of
Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, on a document authorizing
1,500 copies of the Book of Mormon.
[Text received; CHRIS WILLS, ABRAHAM
LINCOLN PRESIDENTIAL LIBRARY & MUSEUM]