- From the Publisher
- Ford’s Theatre Ticket Voucher
- A Cup Half-Empty
- Who Were the Lincoln Life Guards?
- Kepi Controversy
- Primary Source Material: Manuscripts
- Overlooked Evidence: Lincoln in Pioneer Chicago
- “THE UNION Is DISSOLVED” The Charleston Mercury Broadside: Points of Authenticity and Variations
- Lincoln Letter Fraud on Ebay
- What He Really Thought of Lincoln: The Discovery of an Unpublished Letter by William F. Herndon
- The Sanitary Fair’s Gifts to President Lincoln
- Behind the Scenes At Federal Hall
- In The Marketplace
- LINCOLNPHILE (book reviews)
- The Annotated Lincoln
- Lincoln’s Campaign Biographies
- Lincoln’s Code: The Laws of War in American History
- “Lincoln” Hits the Screens
- We Have The War Upon Us: The Onset of the Civil War, November 1860-April 1861
- Homefront & Battlefield: Quilts and Context in the Civil War
- President James Buchanan and the Crisis of National Leadership
- Giant in the Shadows: The Life of Robert T. Lincoln
- Lincoln Legends: Myths, Hoaxes, and Confabulations Associated With Our Greatest President.
- Abraham Lincoln: The Image of His Greatness.
- Letters to the Editor
- The Obvious Lincoln
- DeWitt Deaccession Debate
- Fake Lincoln Endorsement
- Historical inaccuracies found in CDV
- More on the Lincoln Avengers
- Cartoon Artist Identified
- Kepi Commentary
- An Item in Search of a Story
- Show & Tell
- Replicas For Sale
- Dueling Blogs
- Lincoln Artwork or Just Artwork?
- Devil with a Blue Dress On
- Breyer Model Horses
- Kudos on the new site!
- This daguerreotype looks like Lincoln, but is it Lincoln?
- What Is Lincoln’s Embalmer Worth?
- New Lincoln Stuff on the Market
- Rail Splinters
- Suspect Lincoln
- Amateur Historians
- A Worthless Ribbon and a Worthless C.O.A.
- A Note from the Great Beyond
- ‘A. Lincoln’ Money Pit
- Added Cachet Value
- A Constant Flow of Fakes
- Problematic Copy Images
- Fraudulent Tintype
- If Only It Were Real!
- Rip-Off Ribbons
- Bogus Ballot
- “Ay, tear her tattered ensign down”
- Legit and Illegitimate Theater: The Ford’s Theatre Ticket
- Implausible Provenance
- Twice As [Not] Nice
- These Have Age, But Not Enough
- The Real and the Unreal
- Great Finds!
DeWitt Deaccession Debate
I have been reading with interest the various articles and opinions on the decision by the University of Hartford to dispose of the DeWitt political collection. Before I begin I want to put forward several disclaimers, first I am a collector so I might have an interest in several of the items should they become available, second, I have never seen the collection but have heard from friends who have (and they say it is wonderful!) , third, I have no affiliation with the University.
This situation should have never occurred for a number of reasons but first and foremost it illustrates why an institution should be careful not to go beyond their core mission, in this instance, education, and venture into an area beyond their expertise, i.e. becoming a museum.
Second, if a collector is going to donate something of value they must make the proper provisions for its long term care. It is not enough to donate an item and allow others to care for it. There should be provisions for cataloging, proper care (and storage) and where and how to display it. One without the other leads to these types of problems.
It is hard to blame the University for what is happening. Who knows what pressure they were under to accept it in the first place? But the bigger problem is that without the dedicated funding for preservation and display what resources can/should they use? If they began to divert University funds I could see the criticism from students and faculty alleging misuse of funds. In addition, to preserve and display a collection of this size requires an annual budget. How is this money to be raised? Very few grants support ongoing ventures and continue from year to year. So the University is in a quandary. Without the funds they can do nothing and yet are open to the criticism that they are allowing the collection to deteriorate over time.
It appears that they decided that the more prudent approach is to remove the financial burden (and moral responsibility for the collection’s well-being) by selling it. It has been reported that they have tried to keep the collection intact by selling it as a whole. But to date there have been no takers. So the only reasonable option is to auction it as individual items. While breaking up the collection may sound like a horrible alternative it is probably better then keeping it in storage and out of sight.
Unless some of the deep-pocket collectors could acquire, preserve and display it, what is the benefit to leaving it in storage? Let it go to auction where it will be sought-after by those who will treasure and protect it! And imagine the outcry if a select few where to cherry pick items of interest while the remainder stays out of view.
I note that a number of individuals have criticized the proposal to sell. But if the only goal is to keep it stored away for years to come what’s the point? Is it not better to disperse it then store it? If individuals are going to fight the sale then come up with a plan to fully fund the collection so that others can enjoy it for years to come.
NOW AVAILABLE FROM THE RAIL SPLITTER PRESS:
Book Review Archive
- Act of Justice: Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation and the Law of War.
- The Dark Intrigue: The True Story of a Civil War Conspiracy.
- President Lincoln: the Duty of a Statesman.
- Lincoln’s Men: The President and His Private Secretaries.
- The Lincoln’s: Portrait of a Marriage.
- The Madness of Mary Lincoln.
- Lincoln the Inventor.
- Lincoln and New York.
Rail Splinters Archive
- Stereo view photographs of Abraham Lincoln statue damaged in 1906 San Francisco earthquake
- Lincoln in Film
- John Wilkes Booth? Probably not.
- Answer to the question “Whatever became of the Gillett collection?”
- What happened to the Gillette Collection?
- This Train is Bound for Glory
- Lincoln Ballots 1834-1864
- Lincoln Museum in Boise
- Lincoln at the Abolition Ball
- Where East Meets West
- A Prince of a Guy
- In Memoriam: C. Peter Scanlan
- Portrait of Lincoln Legal Associate Unearthed
- Thomas T. Eckert Archive: Telegraphic History of the Civil War
- Beethoven’s medium channels news of Lincoln’s Death by composing “The Funeral March”
- Where is Mary Todd Lincoln’s 1861 Inaugural Ball dress?
- The Meatball does The Sauceman (and The Rail Splitter) proud
- Lincoln “apparently not” a sexist
- Campaign woodcuts in illustrated magazines, symbolism or adornment?
- 1890 Wide-Awake Reunion program
- Baltimore Coin & Currency Convention Highlights
Past Print Issues