SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WCIA) — The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum is opening a new exhibit, featuring a recently added a new artifact.
It’s a letter Lincoln wrote in 1843 to Martin Morris, a friend from his days living in New Salem, Illinois. At the time, Lincoln was 34 years old, newly married and had served four terms in the Illinois legislature.
Lincoln was trying to land a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, but his prospects were not good. He poured out his political frustrations in the letter.
The letter has remained in the hands of Morris’s family ever since. Previously, the public’s only access to the letter, which included many spelling errors, has been through a copy that Morris made and gave to Lincoln’s law partner and biographer William Herndon.
Scott Terry of Bellevue, Wash. is Morris’s great-great grandson. He donated the original letter to the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum.
“It is indeed an honor to present this important letter to the museum,” Terry said. “After I inherited it from my dearly departed mother, Bette Nance Terry, in 2016, I began to research the story behind it. The more I learned, the more it became clear to me that this historically significant document needed to be placed in an institution that would protect it, properly care for it and make it available to everyone, from scholars to the general public, to study and enjoy.”
Now, scholars and the public will be able to see for themselves exactly what Lincoln wrote in the letter.
“After searching for potential recipients for the letter, one place stood out above all the rest: the Lincoln Museum,” Terry said. “It is truly heartwarming to know this wonderful place in Springfield will hold this treasure in perpetuity.”
The letter will be featured in a new exhibit at the museum that explores a key period in Lincoln’s life as a part of the Treasures Gallery.
“This is a fascinating letter that reveals a side of Lincoln we don’t often see,” said museum Executive Director Christina Shutt. “Lincoln enthusiasts everywhere owe Mr. Terry a debt of gratitude for making the letter available to the world.”
Other artifacts in the new exhibit include Lincoln’s contract to purchase his Springfield home, the skirt his wife Mary Todd wore when she married Lincoln, a campaign ribbon for the presidential candidate Lincoln backed in 1844 and letters between the Lincoln family.
The exhibit opens on Nov. 1 and will be on display until May 17.
More information regarding the exhibit and the museum can be found here.