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Monday, April 4, 2011

Lincoln's letter at the New Haven Library

NEW HAVEN - Commemorating the 150th anniversary of the beginning of the American Civil War, the New Haven Public Library offers the public a first-time opportunity to view a facsimile letter signed by Abraham Lincoln.

On Dec. 8, 1863, President Lincoln issued a Proclamation of Amnesty and Reconstruction as a first step toward reconciliation with the rebellious states, according to a library statement.
"The proclamation specified a process by which Confederate states could rejoin the Union and an oath to be taken by rebels who wished to reestablish their allegiance to the United States," the statement said.
The library display is a facsimile of Lincoln's letter dated Jan. 16, 1865 which authorized the release of two Confederate prisoners from Rock Island Prison in Illinois, and also contains the signatures of several Springfield, Ill., notables, including Lincoln's former law partner, William H. Herndon, the statement said.
The letter has been privately owned for 74 years and has never before been shown in public.
As the display makes clear, this is the story of one document, one prisoner of war, and the oath that was designed to mend the Union, the statement said.
The public is invited to view Lincoln's letter at the downtown branch of the library, 133 Elm St. through June. For more information, call the library at 203-946-8130.

Photo: Sheila Bonenberger, Supervising Librarian at New Haven Free Public Library, shows display of Lincoln's Letter

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