Discovery: A university student stumbled across unknown papers written by Abraham Lincoln
University student David Spriegel was in his second week of a summer internship when he made the discovery of a lifetime.
The 21-year-old, who just finished his junior year at St. Mary’s University in Minnesota, was preparing a stack of old papers to be logged in a database and put into storage.
As he was examining the documents at the aptly named Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield, Illinois he noticed a tiny inscription that had been previously overlooked.
It read: ‘The above memorandum is in the inscription of Abraham Lincoln. — M. Hay’.
The 167-year-old documents are handwritten memos detailing parcels of land being bought and sold in Springfield, dating from the future president’s days as a lawyer in that city.
The intended recipient, Milton Hay, a clerk in the Stuart and Lincoln office, would have recognized his handwriting.
Experts have now confirmed that the documents are authentic Lincolns, and will join the over 1,800 other original manuscripts by the president at the museum.
Memorabilia relating to the 16th president of the United States can fetch thousands of dollars and even items relating to Lincoln’s dog Fido are snapped up by enthusiasts.
Lincoln, who was assassinated by well-known actor John Wilkes Booth on April 15 1865, was the first Republican president when he was elected in 1860.
A spokesman told American newspaper the Daily Herald that such a find is very unusual indeed, especially for someone as green as Spriegel.
‘They’re a rare find, to be sure — one or two such documents might pop up every year or so’, said museum spokesman David Blanchette.
‘That kind of discovery is seldom made by an inexperienced intern.
‘They’re usually researchers with many, many years of experience,’ Blanchette said.