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150 years after Lincoln assassination, massive online archive in the works

Lucas Mearian | April 13, 2015
The documents range from official to personal, even a letter about that famous beard to an 11-year-old girl

The archives also contain documents illustrating a more personal side to the Civil War-era president and his constituency -- no matter how old they were.

abraham lincoln by nicholas shepherd 1846 crop
Quarter plate daguerreotype of Abraham Lincoln, then Congressman-elect from Illinois in 1846-47.

For example, the archive contains a Letter to 11-year old Grace Bedell on Oct. 19, 1860 who had suggested Lincoln grow a beard because his face was so thin. And there's a note to U.S. Sen. Charles Sumner (R-Mass.), who lead anti-slavery forces in that Commonwealth, that simply asks him to swing by because Mrs. Lincoln needed his help.

Documents include a hand-written pass dated April 29, 1964 for someone named Mrs. William R. Smith to cross enemy lines so she could get to New Orleans.

There's also the report of Dr. Charles A. Leale on the assassination of the President.

More recently discovered letters and documents are also being added to the digital archive as time passes. For example, as an attorney, Lincoln penned a letter in 1847 to the 11th President of the United States, James K Polk.

"President Lincoln's legacy as a statesman has marked him as one of the most important and influential leaders our country and the world have ever known," Daniel Stowell, director and editor of The Papers of Abraham Lincoln, stated in a news release.. "He was also perhaps the most well-written, and written to, presidents in history, with thousands of personal and political documents, all of which tell the story of our country during one of the most pivotal times in history."


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