1859 slave sale document from Lincoln’s home county in Kentucky is artifact of the month for January
The painful capstone to the Artifact of the Month displays from the recently acquired Taper Collection at the Lincoln Presidential Museum
Springfield, IL – A commissioner’s sale document which advertises the 1859 sale of three slaves in Abraham Lincoln’s place of birth in Hardin County, Kentucky is the artifact of the month for January 2012 at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum (ALPLM). This is the last in a series that has featured key items from the Taper Collection recently acquired by the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation.
The hope of Lincoln and others that slavery might wither away as the nation expanded westward proved horribly wrong. When Lincoln was a young man, a slave was sold on average every four minutes; by the 1850s, it was every three minutes, and trying to slow or end this tragedy led Lincoln to re-enter politics, at first with little success. A further irony: Lincoln’s family had known the man conducting the 1859 sale of the two women and one little boy.
“That slaves were being sold in the place of his birth – Hardin County, Kentucky – accented his personal sorrow as well as the nation’s deepening ideological rift,” said ALPLM Lincoln Curator James Cornelius. His father had moved the family to Indiana when Abraham was seven, in part because they could not compete in a slave state. “Then, as president, Lincoln had to send men into war to save the Union, and to end these sales and all they meant — two separate but equally difficult decisions for Lincoln.”
The commissioner’s sale document will be placed on display January 3 and taken off display after Tuesday, January 31.
The artifacts of the month are displayed in the central case in the Presidential Museum’s Treasures Gallery and include interpretive text explaining their significance. These displays also highlight the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation’s Permanent Home Campaign. The $27 million fundraising drive, established to ensure that the 1,500-item Louise and Barry Taper Collection remains together as a collection and is preserved in perpetuity for the benefit of the public, began in 2008 and continues through 2013.
The story of the January 2012 artifact as told by the ALPLM’s Lincoln Curator may be viewed at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bBuUNd8nQyI. A podcast may be accessed at: http://www.alplm.org/blog/2011/12/slavedocument/.
The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation, in partnership with the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, offers monthly artifact sponsorships entitled “An Evening of Wine, a Nibble of Cheese, and A Hint of History.” The private events, hosted by a Lincoln historian, highlight a featured artifact from the Taper Collection and include light hors d’oeuvres and wine for a select number of guests. For more information on how to become a sponsor or to donate to the Permanent Home Campaign, contact Phyllis Maynerich at (217) 557-6250 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Event sponsorships are tax deductible as allowed by law.
The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation supports the educational and cultural programming of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum; fosters Lincoln scholarship through the acquisition and publication of documentary materials relating to Lincoln and his era; and promotes a greater appreciation of history through exhibits, conferences, publications, online services, and other activities designed to promote historical literacy.