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Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum
to unveil new temporary exhibit,
'Mr. Lincoln's Attic'
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Exhibit showcases recent acquisitions of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum

[JAN. 26, 2006]  SPRINGFIELD -- On Jan. 28, the Illinois Gallery will open its doors to the public to reveal "Mr. Lincoln's Attic," an exhibit that will showcase recent acquisitions to the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum. What makes this exhibit unique is that several of the items reflect how Abraham Lincoln is still an inspiration to many -- even 140 years after his death.

Publicity generated over the past few years by the construction and opening of the library and museum has motivated a number of individuals to rummage through their own attics, looking for Lincoln-related items. The result has been an increase in donations of especially rare and historically significant artifacts. Some of these gifts will be on public display for the first time.

"Since the ALPLM has never had an acquisitions budget, we are dependent, like Blanche Dubois, on the kindness of strangers for donations of Lincolniana," said Richard Norton Smith, executive director of the presidential library and museum. "The last year has been among the most fruitful since the establishment of the Old Illinois State Historical Library in the 19th century."

Items on display include:

Portrait of Lincoln by Francis Bicknell Carpenter: Lincoln granted the prominent New York portrait painter unprecedented access to the White House for six months, February-July 1864. During that time, Carpenter transformed the state dining room into a White House studio and produced many life sketches of Lincoln and companion portraits of him and Mary.

Judge Abraham Lincoln Marovitz collection: The son of Jewish Lithuanian immigrants, Abraham Lincoln Marovitz's parents gave their son this name out of their admiration for Lincoln. Abraham Lincoln Marovitz was a lifelong student of Lincoln and had great respect for him. Appointed in 1963 by John F. Kennedy as a federal judge in the Northern Illinois U.S. District, Judge Marovitz owned every book ever written about Abraham Lincoln's legal career. His judge's chamber was a small museum of Lincoln-related items. Upon his death in March 2001, at the age of 95, his estate donated the judge's extensive collection to the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum.

Personal artifacts of Grace Bedell: Just 11 years old in the autumn of 1860, Grace Bedell wrote a letter to Lincoln after seeing his image on a campaign poster. Saying Lincoln's image was "rather disappointing," she wrote a letter to Lincoln suggesting he might "look a great deal better" with whiskers. Lincoln responded with a letter that became a treasured item to Grace. The two eventually met on Feb. 16, 1861, as Lincoln's inaugural train passed through Grace's hometown of Westfield, N.Y. Items on display in this collection include Bedell's ring and Bible.

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Albert Emile Bachelet stereoscope: Albert Emile Bachelet suspected he was seeing more than doubles of various Lincoln photos at the National Archives in Washington, D.C. This Bell Labs scientist -- holder of 36 patents in the field of long-distance broadcasting and satellite communication technology -- was also a Lincoln aficionado. When he learned that famed Civil War photographer Matthew Brady sometimes used multiple-lens cameras, he became convinced that what appeared to be multiple copies of Lincoln poses were really stereoscopic pictures shot simultaneously by the special lens cameras to produce a three-dimensional image. He built a stereoscope in the Bell Labs model shop and tested his theory during the mid-1940s. He concluded that Brady had intended more than just the rapid production of commercial images.

The stereopticon -- popular from Lincoln's time up through the early 20th century -- was that earlier era's version of the View-Master, a device for producing a three-dimensional effect from a two-dimensional image. Bachelet's widow, Janet Bower Bachelet, generously donated her husband's stereoscope, negatives and research notes to the Illinois State Historical Library, predecessor of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library.

Other items on display include oil paintings, Lincoln busts, books, vases, fine china, collectables and more -- all enriching the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum for countless visitors to come.

For more information see

[Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum news release]

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