Lavish Legacy


NEARLY HALF A CENTURY AGO Illinois schoolchildren donated pennies—$45,000 worth in all—to help purchase a handwritten copy of Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address for the state’s official history collection in Springfield. At last Lincoln’s towering call for “a new birth of freedom” would be on view in his old hometown.

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The House At Eighth And Jackson

Clues uncovered during the recent restoration of his house at Springfield help humanize the Lincoln portrait

One good measure of our apparently inexhaustible interest in Abraham Lincoln is that this year eight hundred thousand of us will be led through his house at the corner of Eighth and Jackson streets in Springfield, Illinois. So many people edge past the horsehair furniture and stomp up and down the narrow stairs that the National Park Service had to close the place down in 1987, take much of it apart, and put it back together again, newly decorated and sturdily reinforced with steel, to withstand the next generation of pilgrims. Read more »

The Plot To Steal Lincoln’s Body

Jack Hughes was an outstanding passer of phony bills. A thoroughly honest-looking man, respectably bearded and always well dressed, he spent his working day going from store to store, making one small purchase at each, and paying for it with crisply persuasive counterfeit money.

If his currency ever was questioned and the police called, no case could be made; he never had more than one bad bill in his possession. Read more »

Lincoln As Poet

In the fall of 1844 a thirty-five-year-old lawyer from Springfield, Illinois, returned after an absence of nearly fifteen years to Spencer County, Indiana, to campaign in behalf of Presidential candidate Henry Clay. He had lived in the county—in the Pigeon Creek neighborhood—from the time he was almost nine years old until he was twenty-one, years of his life that later became legendary when the gangly, rustic youth himself became President of the United States. His mother and only sister were buried there.Read more »