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Lincoln letters and manuscripts exhibit coming to Sacramento

Exhibit featured in the California Museum this spring and summer

Posted: March 19, 2009 6:01 p.m.
Updated: March 19, 2009 3:06 p.m.
LOS ANGELES, Calif. - In celebration of the 200th birthday of America's 16th President, the Benjamin Shapell Family Manuscript Foundation has loaned 18 rarely seen autographed letters from its Lincoln Collection to the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C.

"With Malice Toward None: The National Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Exhibition" is a landmark exhibit of letters, photographs, documents, and artifacts, which opened on Lincoln's 200th birthday, Feb. 12, 2009.

The exhibit travels to the California Museum in Sacramento this spring and summer.

Among the treasured items on display will be two handwritten passages from Lincoln's Second Inaugural Address delivered on March 4, 1865, one from the beginning of the address:

"Both parties deprecated war; but one of them would make war, rather than let the nation survive, and the other would accept war rather than let it perish. And the war came."

And the other from the soaring conclusion, from which the title of the exhibit is taken:

"With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right..."

Also on exhibit will be the first ever public pairing of 11-year old Grace Bedell's letter to Lincoln suggesting that he grow a beard, and Lincoln's reply just four days later; Lincoln's humble acceptance of the 1860 presidential nomination; and his famous condolence letter to Miss Fanny McCullough on the death of her father at the battle of Fredericksburg.

Two extraordinary assassination-related pieces from the collection will also be featured: a John Wilkes Booth letter written weeks before the assassination mentioning Ford's Theater; and the blood-stained notes of Lincoln's family physician describing the President's tragic final hours--his decline, death, and autopsy.

While the scope and outreach of the Shapell Manuscript Foundation has included the lending of manuscripts to international exhibitions, this will be the first time that so many of its Lincolniana treasures have been publicly displayed in one place.

With Malice Toward None: The Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Exhibition runs at the Library of Congress through May 9, after which it will travel to five U.S. cities: the California Museum in Sacramento, (spring/summer 2009); the Newberry Library in Chicago (fall 2009); the Indiana State Museum in Indianapolis (winter/spring 2010); the Atlanta History Center, Atlanta, GA (fall 2010); and the Durham Western Heritage Museum in Omaha, Nebraska (winter 2011).


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