Lincoln Presidential Library opens
its vault in the name of love
Showcase of romantic artifacts on Feb. 13
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[February 12, 2020]
SPRINGFIELD – History doesn’t always mean treaties, speeches and
battles. It can also mean romantic letters, love songs and reunions
with loved ones, as the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and
Museum will demonstrate the day before Valentine’s Day.
A special “Tales from the Vault” session on Feb. 13 will showcase
materials from the presidential library’s collections that connect
to love and romance. Manuscripts curator Christopher Schnell will
explain each item and discuss what historians can learn from them.
Visitors will see gorgeous vintage Valentine’s Day cards, including
one made by hand by Springfield socialite Susan Lawrence Dana, whose
home is now a state historic site. There will also be “vinegar
valentines” that people sent to tease or just plain insult others.
Schnell will also show some love letters, including one from a Civil
War soldier to his fiancée back home. “How often have I thought of
that time when you placed your dear little head upon my shoulder and
whispered in my ear that you loved me—it was the happiest moment of
my life,” he wrote.
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The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum has a tremendous collection
of historic sheet music. Some of the songs focus on loved ones who are away at
war – or who died in battle – for instance, “My Sweetheart Went Down with the
Maine” from the Spanish-American War.
The free presentation, offered in conjunction with the Illinois State Museum and
the Lincoln Home National Historic Site, takes place at noon, Thursday, Feb. 13,
at the presidential library (112 N. Sixth St., Springfield).
The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum uses a combination of
rigorous scholarship and high-tech showmanship to immerse visitors in Lincoln’s
life and times. The library holds an unparalleled collection of Lincoln books,
documents, photographs, artifacts and art, as well as some 12 million items
pertaining to all aspects of Illinois history.
For more information, visit