The Lincoln Letters

Another week, another discovery of a trove of historical letters. This time, though, the collection is a doozy: The letters of Leonard Swett, one of Lincoln’s closest advisors.  Here’s an excerpt of the article, detailing some of the treasures within (and a great summary by one of the preservationists!)

Rose Burnham’s scrapbooks held several letters — one sent in September 1864 — on Executive Mansion letterhead from her grandfather. The name of the mansion located at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. was changed in 1902 to the White House.

The collection also included a letter from Col. Custer dated June 21, 1875, a year and four days before the Battle of the Little Bighorn. While much of Custer’s handwriting is illegible to anyone who doesn’t know his penmanship, the signature is unmistakable…

Another keepsake is a menu of a state dinner Swett attended, which featured little neck clams, green turtle soup, boiled salmon, spring chicken, frogs fried in crumbs and broiled woodcock.

“Isn’t that cool? These guys were having a blast traveling all over the country, going here and going there,” said Ransick, as she looked through a magnifying glass at some of the documents. “It really shows you how distant our relationships are today with e-mail, cell phones and computers. These people exchanged handwritten letters and met often. We’re much less likely to shake hands and have frog legs together than people back then.   

via Lincoln letters.

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