Monday, June 10th, 2013...11:48 am

Adding a page to Lincoln’s oldest manuscript

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One of the highlights of our 2009 exhibition Harvard’s Lincoln was this early leaf of mathematics exercises in Abraham Lincoln’s hand. Now, two researchers at Illinois State University have announced confirmation that this Houghton item (MS Am 1326) is the long-separated 11th leaf of a “cyphering book” Lincoln prepared in 1825, at the age of 16. It is the earliest surviving work in Lincoln’s hand.

Abraham Lincoln. Exercise book fragment: manuscript (recto), [ca. 1825] MS Am 1326

Abraham Lincoln. Exercise book fragment: manuscript (verso), [ca. 1825] MS Am 1326

The original manuscript was separated by Lincoln’s friend and law partner William Herndon, and the Houghton leaf is accompanied by a presentation letter from Herndon. Two fragments of another leaf, one held at Brown University and the other at the University of Chicago, were digitally reunited at the Papers of Abraham Lincoln project in 2010.

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