Press-Republican

November 25, 2012

Lincoln artifacts on display at Miner Museum

By JEFF MEYERS
Press-Republican

---- — CHAZY — Abraham Lincoln’s legacy has enjoyed renewed focus, thanks in part to the recently released Steven Spielberg film “Lincoln,” starring Daniel Day-Lewis.

But the nation’s 16th and perhaps most popular president has always played a prominent role in the Alice T. Miner Museum collection.

“Of course, Alice Miner’s husband, William, was a big fan of Lincoln,” said Amanda Palmer, director and curator of the museum. “Anything she could get her hands on about Abraham Lincoln, she pretty much jumped on.”

ABE’S HANDWRITING

One of those Alice Miner purchases now sitting in the museum’s Lincoln Library is a simple note the president wrote several days after he was elected to his second term in office on Nov. 8, 1864. The note, penned on a piece of paper the size of a business card, was a job recommendation for an unnamed woman: “I shall be glad if any Department or Bureau can give this woman employment. A. Lincoln. Nov. 14, 1864.”

“Alice purchased it for the collection, but we don’t have a receipt for it,” Palmer said. “We do not know which year she bought it nor from where.

“Imagining him taking the time to write that for someone is amazing,” she added.

A second example of Lincoln’s signature can be found hanging in a wall display of a military rank certificate for Capt. George E. Gouraud, who was promoted to major following the Battle of Honey Hill in South Carolina on Nov. 30, 1864.

The certificate is dated March 22, 1865, and is also signed by Secretary of War E.M. Stanton.

Of interest, the certificate dates the battle as occurring on Dec. 31, 1864, but with subsequent research on the document, Palmer found that date was in error.

Again, the museum has no record of when or where Alice Miner purchased the certificate.

INKWELL, FOOT BATH

“There are a lot of engravings of Lincoln and other items related to Lincoln and the Civil War,” Palmer said of the Lincoln Library collection.

One item purchased from cousins of Lincoln’s wife, Mary Todd Lincoln, is an inkwell with quill pen. Alice Miner’s friend Frank Gonzales acted as an agent for her and purchased such items during his travels across the country, Palmer noted.

Another item is a ceramic foot bath that for a long time was thought to have been a wine cask.

“Doing research, we found that it was part of a 12-piece toilet set Mary Lincoln purchased to use privately,” Palmer said. “We like to believe that at one time President Lincoln used this foot bath. We don’t know for sure.”

The item is attractively designed and includes an engraving of an eagle, shield and arrow with the words “E Pluribus Unum” beneath.

PHOTOS, LETTERS

The collection also includes a photo album of Lincoln, with images taken from 1848 to the president’s funeral procession.

The Civil War exhibit also features several letters from local soldiers who served during the war.

Email Jeff Meyers: jmeyers@pressrepublican.com

+++++

IF YOU GO 

The Alice T. Miner Museum, located on Route 9 in Chazy, is open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays, except for Christmas Day, until the end of December. Guided tours are held at 10 a.m., noon and 2 p.m. and last about an hour. For more information, call the museum at 846-7336 or email director@minermuseum.org.