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Who Were Lady Day and Mister?

In the case of Abraham Lincoln, the contents of his pockets on the night of his assassination on April 14, 1865, are both revealing and mysterious. There is nothing unusual about some of the things Lincoln carried with him: two pairs of eyeglasses, a lens polisher, a pocketknife, a linen handkerchief, a watch fob and a brown leather wallet. But in the wallet was a $5 Confederate note and nine newspaper clippings. No one can say for sure why Lincoln would have carried a Confederate note, but perhaps he wanted it as a souvenir of an institution that had died in America three days earlier, with the April 11, 1865, surrender of Gen. Robert E. Lee to Gen. Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox, Va.

The contents of Lincoln's pockets the night of his assassination.

There are materials relating to the 16th president and the Civil War through the Library of Congress Web sites. The contents of Lincoln's pockets is from the exhibition American Treasures of the Library of Congress, which features on a rotating basis some of the most important materials in the Library, as well as some of the items most often asked for by the public, such as these Lincoln artifacts. There is also an exhibition dedicated to Lincoln's Gettysburg Address, which he delivered on Nov. 19, 1863. The Library has two of the five known drafts in Lincoln's own hand. You can also see the only known photograph of President Lincoln at Gettysburg.

In American Memory there are manuscripts (including Lincoln's personal papers), photographs, prints, daguerreotypes, maps and slave narratives documenting the Civil War.

The history of African Americans can be found in African American Perspectives, the African-American Experience in Ohio, From Slavery to Freedom: The African-American Pamphlet Collection, African-American Sheet Music, the African-American Odyssey, the Frederick Douglass Papers, Born in Slavery: Slave Narratives from the Federal Writers' Project, 1936-1938, Slaves and the Courts, 1740-1860, and The Church in the Southern Black Community.

Collections especially rich in Lincoln materials are: Selected Civil War Photographs, most of which were made by the studio of Mathew Brady; Mr. Lincoln's Virtual Library; the Abraham Lincoln Papers at the Library of Congress; and The Alfred Whital Stern Collection of Lincolniana.

Other important Civil War resources are found in: Civil War Treasures from the New-York Historical Society, the Civil War Maps Collection, The Diary of Horatio Nelson Taft, which documents daily life in Washington, D.C., through the eyes of Horatio Nelson Taft (1806-1888), an examiner for the U. S. Patent Office. Liberia Maps is a collection that includes 20 maps from the American Colonization Society, organized in 1817 to resettle free black Americans in West Africa.

A. Lincoln realia, 1865; contents of pockets the night of his assassination. From Rare Book and Special Collections Division.

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View major online presentations of selected exhibitions.