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Local News

Frazier Museum Purchases Mary Todd Lincoln Insanity Papers

by Gabe Bullard

The Frazier International History Museum in Louisville has purchased historic papers documenting Mary Todd Lincoln’s commitment to an Illinois insane asylum.

The papers were first found in 1933, and were put up for auction when the finder passed away. The Frazier paid $32 thousand for the documents at a Cincinnati auction Friday. Spokesperson Krista McHone says the papers will be part of a Civil War exhibition next year, and eventually added to the permanent collection.

“As many people have heard, we’re really trying to step away from being known as the gun museum and really become the region’s history museum,” she says.

The funds to purchase the papers came from the museum’s founder, Owsley Brown Frazier. McHone says the museum had hoped to spend only $25 thousand on the documents.

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Arts and Humanities Local News

Hundreds Attend Dedication of Lincoln Sculpture

Hundreds came out to Waterfront Park last night for the dedication a new statue of Abraham Lincoln by Louisville-based sculptor Ed Hamilton. WFPL’s Elizabeth Kramer was there.

A 50-piece orchestra was on hand for the ceremony to play Aaron Copeland’s “A Lincoln Portrait.” The ceremony celebrated the statue that depicts Lincoln imagined during his 1841 visit to Louisville, when he saw slavery in action.

lincoln-statue-005-bSculptor Ed Hamilton says this project taught him a lot about the 16th President of the United States.

“I saw the compassion that I didn’t know about Lincoln in the beginning,” Hamilton said. “This man came from nothing and had a consciousness and yet able to come through the grind of slavery and civil war.”

Artist Juliet Ehrlich worked with Hamilton to create walls with raised sculptures, called bas relief, that depict Lincoln and slavery.

“He had some loose sketches of where he wanted to go and we were phenomenal collaborators,” Ehrich said. “He gave me a huge measure of freedom once he saw my design strengths.”

Lindy Casebier of Kentucky’s Cabinet of Tourism, Arts and Heritage was there. He says the work is a powerful rendering of our history.

“Ed Hamilton’s work and this statue, it sends a message across Kentucky, what we’re working for in the cabinet and with the Arts Council that public art does matter and this is a legacy that will live forever,” Casebier said.

The ceremony was part of this year’s bicentennial celebrations of Lincoln’s birth near Hodgenville, Ky.

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State of Affairs

Lincoln & the Speeds


Monday, February 16, 2009
Lincoln & the Speeds
When Abraham Lincoln arrived in Springfield, Illinois in 1837, his first order of business was to purchase a mattress and beddings to sleep on – preferably on credit, since he couldn’t afford to buy them outright. What he got instead was an offer to stay with the storekeeper, Kentuckian Joshua Speed – an arrangement he accepted and which would turn into a lifelong friendship. Lincoln would eventually befriend Joshua’s brother James as well, whom he appointed Attorney General during his Presidency. Join us Monday for a look back at our conversation on Lincoln and the Speeds. Because this is an archived edition we will not be taking calls.

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State of Affairs

African Americans & Lincoln


Friday, December 26, 2008
African Americans and Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln is heralded by history as The Great Emancipator. But his record on racial issues, and his image among African Americans, is a little more complicated. Some scholars believe Lincoln is undeserving of his canonization as a champion of equal rights, saying his first priority was to preserve the union – whether or not slavery was abolished in the process. Join us Friday on State of Affairs as we take a look at Abraham Lincoln from an African American perspective. This is an archive edition of the show, so we aren’t able to take calls this hour.

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Looking for an older episode? Browse the State of Affairs Audio Archive.