For Immediate Release:
January 23, 2006
Contact: Jill Burwitz (ALPLM)
(217) 558-8970 office
(217) 299-6165 cell
Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum to unveil
new temporary exhibit Mr. Lincoln's Attic
Exhibit showcases recent acquisitions of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum
SPRINGFIELD, IL: On January 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 ALPLM. What makes this exhibit unique is that several of the items in Mr. Lincoln's Attic reflect how Abraham Lincoln is still an inspiration to many - even 140-years after his death. Publicity generated by the construction and opening of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum over the past few years 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 to the ALPLM. 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. The last year has been among the most fruitful since the establishment of the Old Illinois State Historical Library in the 19th century," said Richard Norton Smith, Executive Director of Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum.
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. He produced many life sketches of Lincoln and companion
portraits of him and Mary during his stay at the White House.
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 life-long 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 ALPLM.
Personal artifacts of Grace Bedell: Just eleven years-old
in the autumn of 1860, Grace Bidell 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 February 16, 1861 as Lincoln's inaugural train
passed through Grace's hometown of Westfield, New York.
Items on display in this collection include Bedell's ring and bible.
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 twentieth century—was that earlier era's version of the View Master, a devise 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.