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Trove of original Abraham Lincoln documents found in Japan

One more than 100 documents thresearchers from Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum Library recently discovered Japan.  The document is part

One of more than 100 documents that researchers from the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum and Library recently discovered in Japan. The document is part of a trove of papers discovered at a university near Toyko, including this short bio (at bottom of document) that Lincoln penned in the 1850s in response to a query on former members of Congress.

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Updated: May 18, 2012 10:18PM



Asked in the 1850s for a bio, Abraham Lincoln wrote:

“Born Feb. 12, 1809, in Hardin county Kentucky. Education, defective. Profession, a lawyer. Have been a Captain of Volunteers in the Black Hawk War; Post-Master at a very small office, four times a member of the Illinois Legislature; and once a member of the lower House of Congress. Yours &c A. Lincoln.”

The document is part of a trove of Lincoln papers discovered in Japan that are shedding new light on one of Illinois’ favorite sons, a top Lincoln researcher said Tuesday.

The more than 100 documents compiled at a university near Tokyo amount to a microcosm of Lincoln’s career, with some of the most compelling finds ranging from his early professional life in New Salem all the way to his presidency.

There are “these nice pieces that pull together different aspects of Lincoln’s life,” said Daniel Stowell, editor of The Papers of Abraham Lincoln, a project run by the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum and Library in Springfield.

Stowell said researchers have known about many of the documents in the collection for decades but were surprised to learn last month about an additional 51 that help make it one of the largest Lincoln collections anywhere.

One of the previously-unknown documents was a note regarding an overdue account that Lincoln wrote for tavern owner James Rutledge, the father of who many believe to be Lincoln’s first love, Ann Rutledge.

Researchers knew about the short bio Lincoln penned in response to a query about former members of Congress but didn’t know what had happened to the original. Said Stowell: “It’s just great to have that, not only what was asked but the way he responded in the format he responded. That’s very telling.”

Images of some of the documents will be posted on online at the project’s website, www.papersofabrahamlincoln.org. Copies will also be available for inspection at the presidential museum in Springfield.



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