PRESS RELEASE: Benjamin Franklin’s Suit Joins Smithsonian Collections

August 30, 2012

Barry Cauchon.

As many of you know, I have been privileged to work in the museum exhibit industry since 1996 as well as work independently with museums when doing my own research. These endeavors have given me a steady diet of what I love best; that of being involved with members of these institutions who are dedicated to sharing their unique stories and collections with the public. And although I have a fondness for working with small regional museums, the larger and more established institutions are where I spend most of my time. Earlier this year, the wonderful folks at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History allowed me and a few other research colleagues to go behind the scenes to view the hoods worn by some of the Lincoln Conspirator during their early incarceration aboard the Union Navy monitors USS Saugus and USS Montauk. The generosity of the Smithsonian management and their staff cannot be properly acknowledged here, but I do thank them all very much and will continue to each and every time I am invited behind the scenes to see, or talk, to experts.

So in turn, when an opportunity arises, I wish to do the same for you and share some of the cool information that I am privy to. For instance, on occasion, I receive Press Releases from the Smithsonian and other institutions which I think would really interest my readers.

Today, I received one from the Smithsonian announcing that they have now added  to their collection, a suit worn by Ben Franklin in 1778. To me, that is just such a cool thing. As I hear more from the Smithsonian or other museums, I’ll post them here.

Enjoy the article and as always, please support your local museums.




Press Release

August 29, 2012

Benjamin Franklin’s Suit Joins Smithsonian Collections

The Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History is adding Benjamin Franklin’s three-piece silk suit, worn on his diplomatic trip to France in 1778 that resulted in the signing of the Treaty of Alliance, to its permanent collection. The suit had been on loan to the museum for conservation and research purposes from the Massachusetts Historical Society in Boston.

The Society agreed to allow the museum to purchase the suit in order to ensure its long-term care as a national treasure. The purchase was made possible through the donation of Marilyn L. Brown and Douglas N. Morton and matching funds from the Charles Bremner Hogg Jackson Fund.

The suit, including a coat, waistcoat and breeches, is more than 230 years old and although it is structurally sound, the fabric’s dye is extremely fragile. The dye, originally a plum color, is turning into more of a light brown and conservators can see that it is puckering and flaking in places. The museum is developing a conservation plan based on research on these areas to determine how best to continue to preserve the suit.

A document accompanies the suit, written by Elkanah Watson, the man who donated it to the Massachusetts Historical Society in 1803. This letter, half printed and half written in Watson’s own hand, describes the night he acquired the suit. The letter relates a story that in 1781, Watson commissioned a Mrs. Wright, a sculptor and somewhat eccentric character, to create a wax likeness of Franklin. When Watson and Wright dined with the diplomat in Paris, Wright suggested that the likeness needed a suit, to which Franklin responded by ringing for his servant and directing him to bring the one he had worn in 1778.

“There is no doubt this is a very important, iconic piece of clothing,” said Nancy Davis, a museum curator in the Division of Home and Community Life. “During a time of opulence at the French court, Franklin’s choice of clothing represented how he wanted to present America to the French: portraying honesty, directness and simple elegance. And this symbolizes the way Americans continue to represent themselves.”

The Treaty of Alliance, signed Feb. 6, 1778, was a defensive alliance between the United States and France against Great Britain during the American Revolutionary war. Franklin, along with several other diplomats, negotiated this relationship in a way that it would be influential in the war against the British. The French provided the newly formed United States with supplies, arms, ammunition, uniforms and navy and troop support.

In a collection of Watson’s memoirs, Franklin is described as having the full respect of the French people and of being “treated with an esteem similar to the French nobility.” He was recognized and revered across France, and Watson held him in high regard as well.

The Franklin suit has been on limited display in the museum due to its fragility. It was first shown in an exhibition called “Growth of the U.S.” that closed in 1974. It did not go on view again until the tricentennial of Franklin’s birth in 2006. And its most recent display was as part of the opening of “American Stories” in April 2012. There are no immediate plans for future display.

The National Museum of American History collects, preserves and displays American heritage in the areas of social, political, cultural, scientific and military history. To learn more about the museum, visit For Smithsonian information, the public may call (202) 633-1000.




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November 25, 2008. Barry Cauchon.

Hi all: Every week, I receive a number of emails at Sometimes I post the Q&As for your benefit.  Here are a few that came in this month.

This one is from Laura…

Q. Barry, I thank you for your very informative blog! I’m wondering if you can point me in the direction of an image of Mary Lincoln’s dress from 14 April,1865. I had heard that the Chicago Historical Society owns it, but they only list the cape, not the entire dress. I’d appreciate any help you can give. Thank you, Laura.

A. Hi Laura: Thanks for writing me. You are correct that the cape is at the Chicago Historical Society. Unfortunately, I am unfamiliar with whatever happened to the dress Mrs. Lincoln was wearing that night.
After the assassination, she spent the evening at the Peterson House and did not leave until they removed her husband’s body and transported it back to the White House on the morning of April 15.

According to the autobiography of Elizabeth Keckley, who was a slave and then eventually Mrs. Lincoln’s seamstress and confident, the dress was given to a Mrs. Slade. Here is the exerpt from her book called “Behind the Scenes” or “Thirty years a slave, and Four Years in the White House” In Chapter XII, “Mrs. Lincoln Leaves the White House”, page 89.

“In packing, Mrs. Lincoln gave away everything intimately connected with the President, as she said that she could not bear to be reminded of the past. The articles were given to those who were regarded as the warmest of Mr. Lincoln’s admirers. All of the presents passed through my hands. The dress that Mrs. Lincoln wore on the night of the assassination was given to Mrs. Slade, the wife of an old and faithful messenger. The cloak, stained with the President’s blood, was given to me, as also was the bonnet worn on the same memorable night. Afterwards I received the comb and brush that Mr. Lincoln used during his residence at the White House. With this same comb and brush I had often combed his head. When almost ready to go down to a reception, he would turn to me with a quizzical look: “Well, Madam Elizabeth, will you brush my bristles down to-night?”

So Laura, this is a start. I will definitely look into it further but unfortunately I don’t have any immediate information on the whereabouts of the dress. The Smithsonian has several of Mrs. Lincoln’s dresses (one of which is going to be on display in the new exhibit that they will be opening on January 16, 2009 called Abraham Lincoln: An Extraordinary Life. But their literature does not mention that they own the dress worn during the assassination. Please let me know what you find out and perhaps we will discover the location of the dress together. Wouldn’t that be exciting.

On another note, are you a student or teacher Laura? Let me know a little bit about your background and interest in the dress. I always enjoy knowing about the people who are interested in a specific part of history.

Best, Barry

Barry, I thank you very much for your help. I will look into the Smithsonian exhibit. A little about my background – I am a librarian in Northern Illinois who has recently decided to start First-Person Interpretation of Mary Lincoln. I have a solid theatrical background, as well as a number of friends who are active in Civil War Reenactments. They are pointing me in the right directions. I already have three bookings in February 09, and am putting together my presentation and my clothing. Thanks again, Laura

NOTE FROM BARRY: I am keeping in touch with Laura to see how it goes. It sounds like a great idea and I hope one day shortly I’ll do a blog on her efforts. Stay tuned.


This one is from Ernest…

Q: Can you give me the references for the 15 people who turned down Lincoln’s invitation? Thanks Ernest .

NOTE FROM BARRY: Ernest is referring to an article I did on the 15 people that turned down Abraham Lincoln’s invitation to join him at Ford’s Theatre on the night of the assassination. 

 A: Hi Ernest. Thanks for the question. There are several references for this information but the one I used was from “Lincoln: A Picture History”by Philip B. Jr Kunhardt; Philip B. III Kunhardt; Peter W. Kunhardt (1992) which is the first biography to make use of the photographs from the huge Meserve collection. I believe the 15 people named are to be found in one of the many sidebars that are included in the book.

When you read that 15 people actually turned down the President of the United States for a personal evening out with him, it initially makes you take pause. However, it has to be remembered that it was Good Friday of a long weekend so many people already had plans. As well, some of the wives who were invited did not want to be in the company of Mary Todd Lincoln whose temperment did not suit them very well. Even Abraham Lincoln’s son Robert turned him down because he had just gotten back from the serving with General Grant and was too tired to go out that night. It may seem very logical when you dig into it, but still….15 people invited and 15 regrets. Makes you wonder. Best Barry


…and this one came from Linda

Dear Sir: I am in possession of a glass negative and print of President Lincoln that I believed to be taken four days before his death. Reading your comments has clarified when and where the picture was taken. It is exposure # 3 #0-116 . Do you know if there is a market for this glass negative which appears to be in very good shape or for the print which is in pristine condition? Sincerely Linda.

Hi Linda: Nice to meet you. Can you tell me a little more about the photo’s background?

1. Is the image on the glass plate negative or positive? 2. What size is the glass plate? 3. How long have you had the glass plate and the print? 4. Where did you get the items from? 5. Is there any authenticated background history on the glass plate?

The photo you are referring to was taken on February 5, 2008 by Alexander Gardner. Gardner shot many of his photographs using a collodion glass-plate process, but I personally do not know if this process was used for this photo session. Assuming it was, the sizes were very specific for these types of photographs so that is why I asked about the size of the plate. As far as the historical record states, only one photo of Lincoln was taken in the pose (O-116) rather than having Lincoln sit still for a second exposure. Therefore, only one actual glass plate was produced. I do not know if the original glass plate is in the collection of a museum or the Library of Congress (or none of them). If what you have is the original glass plate for photo O-116 it would be quite a find for the Lincoln community. I can assist you in getting the glass plate verified but these folks would need to know its history as mentioned above. Have you taken photographs of the glass plate and the print? If so, would you be able to forward me the pictures? With your permission, I can forward them to someone who would certainly be able to comment on their authenticity. But please be aware that there is tremendous skeptisism in the Lincoln community about fraudulent photographs. It doesn’t mean that the photos are modern fakes. Many were created in the late 1800’s. I recently assisted one person with identifying a photograph which they thought was a genuine image of Lincoln after death. It turned out that it was a 19th century fake which had been seen before. But now the amazing thing is that he owns the original fake. So you never know what you have in your attic! Anyway, if I can help you to solve the mystery Linda, I’d be happy to try. Have a great evening. Best Barry

Hi Barry:I have tried to photograph the glass negative and the note that was with the package. The note is in two parts, but I will re print it here for you. The photograph and the glass negative were given to me by my late aunt before she passed away around 1991 or so. I have kept it in my china cabinet all these years and while sorting out things this week, I came across it again and decided it was time to find out if it had any value. It was originally give to my uncle Samuel Cully of Wycoff New Jersey by the widow of his friend Fred Weaver. The note says, this portrait of Abraham Lincoln was printed from a glass plate that was acquired by Samuel Cully in 1968 from the widow of a friend, Mr. Fred Weaver. Mr. Weaver’s father had been in the photographic business and died early in the twentieth century. His son found the plate in his father’s effects. The same portrait appears in the National Geographic Magazine, March 1970 issue over this footnote: “Martyred President” Peace had come and Lincoln smiled again for this photograph, made only four days before his death.” The glass negative measures 8 by 10 inches. Thank you for your time and assistance. Linda

NOTE FROM BARRY: At this point in our correspondence I’ve done some editing because I refer Linda to several sources which, for their privacy, I keep confidential.

Hi Linda: I sent your photos to <deleted> and he suggests that the <glass negative> seems too ‘pristine’ to be an original. If it was an original it would be 143 years old which would definitely show age and yellowing. He did not know if the original still exists and if it is in someone’s collection (such as the Library of Congress). So he believes, like me, that it’s a copy. Again, it may still have value as a copy. There is an artist by the name of James Nance who took that exact photograph and digitally colorized it. Now he sells a limited print of the colorize version from anywhere between $135.00 for the signed print up to just under $500.00 for a framed version. I would say that with some patience you could probably get up to $<deleted> for the glass negative. Write a good solid history of the photograph, indicate that it is a copy of the original and see what happens. 2009 will be a better market once Lincoln’s birthday on February 12 hits. <deleted>. Have a great day. Best Barry

Hi Barry: Thanks for going to so much trouble for me. The way I read the note with the negative is that it was made from the negative by my uncle or his friend around 1968. It and the negative have been carefully wrapped in tissue and an envelope and never see the light of day or wear or tear. Do you suppose that the original owner, Mr. Weaver, who was in the photographic business could have made the glass negative from a print or how would he make a glass negative? Whether it has monetary value or not, it is interesting just to investigate it all. I am Canadian but have been reading more about Abe Lincoln lately because of this. Of course I have always known that supposedly his wife was related to my grandfather. My grandfather was from Rhode Island. Of course I cannot find anything about Mr. Weaver on line with the little info I have. Unfortunately I no longer have any living relatives in the US and only cousins here who would not have any knowledge of the origins of the glass negative. Where are you <deleted> based? I am a flight attendant so travel to many cities. I could perhaps show either of you the negative in person. Thanks again Linda.
Hi Linda. I love the fact that your historical curiousity is what is driving you. That is my favorite thing too.    I live in Toronto but was born in NH and raised in Virginia. I’ve been up here since 1972. What part of Canada are you originally from? I’m assuming that you live in the US now? <deleted>
There are numerous ways to make a glass plate but I’m not overly familiar with the processes. I’d guess that the negative used was probably made from a print. The quality of the print you have is very good so it would have had to be a good quality print which they started with. It’s a interesting puzzle. I’d be happy to help you as best I can. I will see if I can learn a little bit more about the photographic process as a starting point. I do travel on business on occasion so I may end up in your area someday. Let me know where you live and then we can figure out if we can mutually find a meeting place. Research is a really fun activity. As a hobby, I metal detect. Occasionally, when I find an old button or coin, I excitedly research the piece. Sometimes I can’t find exactly the info I want so I end up buying expensive reference books just to get my answer. It can become pretty obsessive at times but that is the fun of it all. Whatever you end up finding out about this Linda, enjoy the hunt. It will introduce you to some amazing characters and open up a world from the past. Finally, I encourage you to keep a diary or notes about the research process that you go through. Later it will read like a great mystery story. I’d gladly post it as an article on my blog. People love a good mystery. I look forward to talking to you again soon. Best. Barry
Hi Barry : I live in Dartmouth, NS, but pass through Toronto weekly. <deleted>. Yes it is part of the fun, but I now find I am not getting the things done that have to be done. Must run and try to accomplish some must do things. Thanks Linda
Hi Linda: Research can be time consuming but don’t put so much pressure on yourself. It will all fall into place in its own time. I am happy to meet with you whenever you are in Toronto (no rush). <deleted>. If you have any other questions or need of assistance, please email me anytime and I will do my best to help. Best Barry 
Have a great day.







“An Awesometalk With” HAROLD HOLZER, Lincoln Scholar

November 10, 2008: Barry Cauchon

Hi all: I start a brand new feature on “A Little Touch of History” today. I have begun interviewing prominent people in their fields of expertise and my first guest was Harold Holzer, Lincoln scholar, who has assisted me on this blogs several times. The interview took place on November 4 – Election Day. I hope you enjoy our chat. Barry


“AN AWESOMETALK WITH” Harold Holzer, eminent Lincoln Scholar and Civil War expert.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008, 2:30p.m Duration: 36 minutes.


BC: Today I start a new feature on ‘A Little Touch of History’ called “An Awesometalk with”.

It’s my honor to introduce my very first guest, Mr. Harold Holzer, eminent Lincoln scholar and Civil War expert.

Mr. Holzer has authored, co-authored or edited over 31 books, written over 400 articles and participated frequently in various media events and lectures.

He is the Senior Vice President, External Affairs with The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City and the Co-Chairman of the United States Lincoln Bicentennial Commission.

On several occasions Mr. Holzer has generously shared his expertise with me to help ensure that the information presented here, in my blog, is accurate.

I want to thank Mr. Holzer for his kindness and welcome him to ‘A Little Touch of History’. Welcome Mr. Holzer.

HH: Thank you. It’s great to be with you. You’ve exhausted me just reading those credits. But now I know why I’m so tired.

BC: I’m sure (laughing). It’s kind of ironic that this is the first day we get a chance to talk live, although we have corresponded in the past, this being November 4th, Election Day. And that leads me into my first question. It’s been a long campaign for the candidates running for this presidency. How do you compare this campaign to the one that lead up to the election of President Lincoln in 1860?

HH: Well you’ve certainly touched on the more obvious of the first point, which is that the 1860 campaign, and all the campaigns in that era, was mercifully shorter.  If you include the ‘run-up’, as they call it today, Lincoln gave some speeches in November of 1859 and then was elected a year later. But the interesting thing, and the big difference is that, after his Cooper Union speech in New York City in February of 1860 (arguably the speech that propelled him into position to be a contender for the nomination), he said nothing. He did nothing. He traveled nowhere. He stayed at home. So did two of the other three candidates for President. The only one who traveled was Stephen Douglas and he was mocked and taunted for doing that because it was not considered appropriate.

So it was certainly a noisy campaign. It was filled with activity. But the candidates, basically, were not part of all that frenzied activity. It was all surrogates.


BC: Once Lincoln won his election, it was that period between then and the inauguration, that a lot of very interesting reactions to that election took place. And it was pretty well the foundation for the Civil War that was to follow shortly.

You’ve just released a book “Lincoln President-Elect: Abraham Lincoln and the Great Secession Winter 1860 -1861”, which covers the turbulent months between the election and that inauguration. Can you tell us a little bit about your book and how President-Elect Lincoln handled himself during that crisis?


HH: Um yeah, I can tell you a lot!


BC: (Laughing)


HH: The harder way is to tell you a little (laughing).

Let me start by saying that it was a four month transition. My argument in this book is two fold. First I argue that his actions as President-Elect have not been fully appreciated, that if he had not preserved the integrity of the Presidency he wouldn’t have been President. He might not have ever been inaugurated. He took enormous precautions about his own safety, about political fairness, about creating the right kind of cabinet, about writing the right kind of inaugural address and also about being quiet when too much noise might have upset the precarious balance that was holding things together in the North, not just the South.


So I could have written a book that listed all of the challenges that he had in sections. In other words, I could have listed cabinet selection, inaugural address, the trip to Washington, political pressures, patronage appointments. But if I had done it that way it wouldn’t have given a fair or an accurate view of what Lincoln’s life was like, and really what the national life was like in that period. And it was turbulent. All of these things were happening at once. All of these challenges were hitting at once. And every day of his secession winter he face appointments, cabinet problems, writing correspondences whether to speak or not to speak, where to go, and also all the little personal things that happened. So I just put them together, day by day practically. And I think it gives a real portrait.


I can say that there was a critic who, otherwise wrote a very nice review of the book in the Washington Post, said that I had sort of spoiled things for her because she had long believed in the notion that Lincoln grew in office and became great as the challenges got greater. And I’ve ruined it by showing that he was great earlier. So I apologize, but that’s sort of the way it is.


BC: I think that’s a very good point, because he showed, prior to his running for President, a certain strength. But it does sound like in that particular secession winter he really came into his own!


HH: I think so. And I think it’s been read the wrong way by previous historians. They all thought that it was a period when he didn’t understand what was going on and he had to get there to “get it”. He made a commitment not to allow slavery to be perpetual and to expand, and he stuck to his guns, as far away as he was from the action. You know for every month he would have not done it he would have delayed real freedom and inequality in America by another ten years. So, I dare say Barack Obama would not have been a presidential candidate in 2008 if Abraham Lincoln had made the wrong moves in 1860 & 61.


BC: Just a quick sidebar Mr. Holzer. Were party politics as strong back then? Did the President really have power or did he have to follow party lines?


HH: I think party politics were even stronger!

Every city had a Republican newspaper and a Democrat newspaper. You could count on your party to back you even if you were ridiculous. And the other people would oppose you no matter how sensible you were. I think he worried about congressional alignment, about whether he would get his cabinet nominees ratified. And it was very partisan. I know that both candidates for President this time around talked a great deal about ending partisanship. Well you know it’s much better today then it was then, much calmer and much more open. I think we don’t appreciate how non-partisan we are in many ways.


BC: I noticed that your website lists the various locations you appear at and that you have a pretty strenuous tour schedule. Between book signings, book tours, lecturing on numerous Civil War and Lincoln events, and obviously giving TV, radio and blog (thank you very much) interviews, where do you find time to balance your life between these and all your other commitments?


HH: Ah, I have no idea how I do it. I mean I just survived the first couple of weeks here with Atlanta and Demoine and Springfield. And it’s really going to start with intensity now but fortunately the next week is all in New York City. I have four different talks next week.

I don’t know. I really love it. So I guess I absorb energy from the appearances and the book signings and the talks. And I guess I’m a little bit of a ham, so that helps. But I do have other things. I mean I have a full time job and I do take that very seriously. And I have a wonderful support staff here that helps the museum to continue its growth and its outreach to people from around the block and around the world. And I have a new grandson, so that’s pretty important too.


BC: Oh congratulations!


HH: You know it’s not that new. He’s 13 months.


BC: I have two step-grandchildren of my own and they’re an absolute blast!


HH: Oh it is just the greatest. It’s just as great as everybody said and that’s why the book is dedicated to him and to my late father for whom he is named. So, this young man has three books named for him in one season.


BC: (Laughing) Later this month, November 19th, the nation is going to celebrate the 145th anniversary of the Gettysburg Address.


HH: Right!


BC: And I understand that you’re going to be in Gettysburg, if I remember your schedule correctly, November 16th through the 19th!


HH: Right!


BC: And are you doing any public appearances or book signings during that time?


HH: Yes. The first thing I’m doing is the annual Lincoln Forum which is an event that meets every year. It’s the 13th anniversary. People register and pay out a registration fee. We have about ten scholars coming to give talks. So I am going to talk there. But I am also speaking at the Gettysburg Cemetery at the November 19 event. We’re unveiling the Lincoln Commemorative Coin on that day, which people will be able to buy and collect. And the revenue from which will support Lincoln activities in years to come. Also we’ll be doing a book signing. A few of my colleagues and I, who have written new books, will be doing a book signing at the new Gettysburg Visitor Center at around 2:00 pm on the 18th of November. So it’s going to be a busy time.

I may take a little detour to do something in Washington during the whole thing so…


BC: Something personally just for yourself (laughing)?


HH: More to come. I can’t talk about it much right now. Stay tuned!


BC: Stay tuned (laughing)!

The Gettysburg Visitor Center is a gorgeous place.


HH: I know. I’ve seen it. It’s really beautiful. And I love a book store that’s filled with people. So that’s what I love about it most, is that it’s filled with people who love to buy books about Lincoln and the Civil War.


BC: I was one of those people! I stood in a long line-up that day to buy my books. But it was worth it.


Another major event coming up in 2009 is obviously the 200th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s birthday. And as I mentioned earlier, you are the Co-Chairman of the United States Lincoln Bicentennial Commission.


HH: Correct.


BC: Can you highlight some of the national activities that are planned for next year and share them with us?


HH: I can! I think what I’ll concentrate on is February 12, Lincoln’s actual birthday. There are going to be big events in Washington such as the rededication of the Lincoln Memorial in the morning. There’s going to be a joint session of Congress. There will be the opening of a huge exhibition on Lincoln at the Library of Congress. Meanwhile there’ll be exhibitions at The National Portrait Gallery and the new Smithsonian of American History. That would already have opened. The night before the 12th, Ford’s Theatre will reopen with a special concert and a dinner and the opening of the Ford’s Theatre Museum. The Soldiers’ Home, where Lincoln had his summer White House, is going to unveil a Lincoln statue. Now that’s all in Washington. Things will be happening in other cities and anyone who wants to know more about what’s happening needs only go on and get the full schedule. There’s a lot going on.

BC: Terrific. Thank you. Regarding a couple of locations you mentioned, the Smithsonian and Ford’s Theatre, I’ve had some indirect advance looks at those exhibits and they are awesome.


HH: Yeah, they’re going to be great!

BC: I cannot wait to get back down there and see them when they’re open.

One thing with the Bicentennial approaching, there’s an overwhelming choice of books that will be coming out this year and next. I can’t even guess how many new books are coming out.


HH: We think there are going to be about 30 between the fall season that began about a month ago and the end of ‘09.


BC: And overall, would there be about a 1000 books that have been written over the years?


HH: Oh, maybe 10,000…


BC: Oh really! Wow!

HH: If you include pamphlets. Yeah.


BC: Well I’m looking to help your average student, who either wants to begin, or further their education, on the 16th President of the Unite States. Are there any books that you could recommend that are more beginner level?


HH: Certainly, every book I’ve ever written would be great! (Laughing)


BC: (Laughing) Oh good!


HH:  “Team of Rivals” by Doris Kearns Goodwin was really wonderful. “Lincoln” by David Herbert Donald, for people who know about history and just want a good life with Lincoln. Those are two internally wonderful books. And then for people who know more about Lincoln already, there are some among this group of new books, (such as) “Lincoln and His Admirals” by Craig Symonds, “Tried by War: Abraham Lincoln as Commander in Chief” by James McPherson. There’s a book about Frederick Douglass. There’s a new book about Lincoln and Charles Darwin. There’s a second book coming about Lincoln and Darwin. There’s a book about Lincoln and Robert Burns. So you can go from very general to very specific very easily. All the good writers are coming out with Lincoln books this year. I have four of them coming out between now and next fall. So you have to be in this market. You can’t just wait. So I decided to plunge in.


BC: I know the timing couldn’t be better.


HH: Yeah.


BC: I’m very anxious to get my hands on as many as possible.


HH: Good luck. It’s not a great economic time to be buying them all, but I guess it’s worth it because the literature is so great.


BC: During your career you’ve been honored with many awards and appointments, and have met and worked with famous politicians and statesmen. Would you describe one or two instances that really stood out as special for you?


HH: Sure. I guess I’ll address the political side, as opposed to the show business side, which I also love. I have a real weakness for that I must say. I’m a real fan.


I think the two are from 12-13 years ago. <The first being when> Mario Cuomo and I published our book “Lincoln on Democracy”. It had been inspired originally by a delegation of teachers from the Solidarity Union of Poland who had come to visit Governor Cuomo. They said to him that they really needed books now that their country was escaping from the constraints of the Iron Curtain and becoming free and independent. Cuomo suggested that they study Lincoln, and they said that they had no Lincoln, that the Communists and the Nazis, between the two of them, had removed all of the Lincoln. So he said he would get a book together and that’s when we wrote our book “Lincoln on Democracy”. And we got Lincoln scholars around the country to contribute and to suggest great letters and writings by Lincoln. And it was translated into Polish and Japanese and Hebrew and Indonesian and of course came out in an English language edition.

The most memorable political, diplomatic event was when Lech Walesa came from Poland to receive the first Polish language copy. That was a pretty unforgettable day. The man who had helped liberate the country and who had wanted Lincoln on the bookshelves.


And then I guess the other, to be completely non-partisan, was when President Bush invited Sam Waterston and me, to deliver our “Abraham Lincoln: Scene and Heard” program in the East Room of the Whitehouse. That was pretty thrilling, I must say. We had done it for the first President Bush and we were invited to do it for President Clinton as well but President Clinton was busy campaigning for Hillary. So we did it to a full auditorium but with only President Clinton on the phone.


BC: I think those are both really special stories.


HH: Oh yes.


BC: When we have an opportunity, I’d love to talk to you more about the Polish story.


HH: Oh sure. That’s now lost to the mist of memory ‘cause we didn’t record things the way we do now in those days. But anyone who wants to see the East Room thing from a couple of February’s ago, or I guess it’s more like three now, you can get them on C-Span’s website. It’s in the C-Span archives and you can buy a DVD from C-Span and see the President and us and see that whole program.


BC: Excellent. Are there any historical figures or events that you are personally interest in outside your field of specialty?


HH: Oh yeah! I read a lot about FDR and Churchill. I was actually inspired to do “President-Elect” by reading a book by a friend of mine, Jonathan Alder, on Roosevelt’s pre-presidential period and his first hundred days as President. He described how he wouldn’t cooperate with Herbert Hoover and it sort of inspired me to start looking into Lincoln again. So, I can thank FDR for Lincoln just as FDR turned to Lincoln, I turned to FDR.

BC: (Laughing)


HH: I used to read everything about John F. Kennedy. You know I was 11 years old when he was elected. I was enormously interested in politics because of him, and in government. And of course his death broke our hearts. And when it was over I read. I got all the picture books and the Life Magazine books and the Sorenson book and the Schlesenger book. And if I ever have time, I’d actually like to read the second wave of analysis of Kennedy.


BC: Do you think Kennedy’s assassination spawned what I’ll call an interest in historians to start looking back at Lincoln with fresh eyes because of their similar ending?


HH: You know it is…it is an interesting point I must say. I’ve never been asked that question before. It’s a really good question. It is interesting because it is almost ironic in a way, because Kennedy was very involved in planning the Civil War Centennial. When he got to be President, he found out that not much had been done to get the country ready to start celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Civil War. He got there on January 20th and the first event was supposed to be in April at Fort Sumter. And he really organized it. He fired the guy who was running it. He hired a new person. And ultimately, this person he hired had to find Lincoln’s catafalque for his coffin to rest on in the Capitol. So it came full circle.


But he was very interested in it. And of course, when he was killed, people published this laundry list of eerie similarities. You know, everything from the serious to the … both men were succeeded by a man named Johnson.


BC: Oh yes.


HH: Do you remember all those?


BC: Yes.


HH: Same number of letters in their names. One was killed in Ford’s Theatre, the other was killed in a Lincoln car which was made by Ford. I mean it just went on and on. One had it that Kennedy had a secretary named Mrs. Lincoln and of course they were elected a hundred years apart. So I think it did spur interest and it certainly spurred interest in the assassination idea.


BC: I think that’s where my interest in Lincoln arose. It started with Kennedy. I was living in Virginia at the time. I was only age five at the time of his death but…


HH: You could have not told me that you were younger (laughing)


BC: (Laughing)


HH: We could have gone through the whole interview and I could have just fantasized that you were old.


BC: (Laughing) Not by much. You know, I have great respect for my elders. So I…(laughing)


HH: I am having a big birthday this year so it’s a touchy subject. But it’s better to have it then not have it!


BC: On another personal note, what do you like to do in your spare time, if you have any? Do you have hobbies or interests?


HH: You know I guess playing with the baby is my big interest now, when I can. I like to go to the theater. I go to one opera a year but I used to like to do that. And I love baseball so I go to a few baseball games every year. I used to watch baseball games like an idiot, just sit there and watch them. I don’t do that anymore. I do other things. But I watch baseball while I’m writing. It’s a great sport to watch when you’re writing ‘cause you don’t have to watch it all the time and if something happens you can just look up and see the instant replay.

I have been watching 10 seasons of the Yankees without paying complete attention. And as an historian, I have to bid a sad farewell to the stadium this year. But that’s about it. As you say, I don’t have much time to do much of anything. But I do get to go to the theater.

One thing I’ve given up is the movies, which I regret, because I used to love going to the movies and now it’s so easy to see them on TV.

I love to read murder mysteries, British murder mysteries basically. And my wife and I try to watch one British murder mystery every weekend. You know some kind of thing that we get from the BBC catalogue or watch on one of the mystery channels or channel 13 mysteries. You know…PBS mysteries. That’s about completes my rather boring life.


BC: Well the grandson is…


HH: That’s the key!

Now if I can just complete everything to make him like Lincoln, the Yankees, and go to the theatre, then I’ll have the perfect grandson. But he’ll be perfect even if he hates them all.


BC: That’s true. But it can’t hurt to try some light handed influence.


HH: Exactly.


BC: (Laughing)


BC:  Now I’m going to take you way back for a second, when you were a high school student.


HH: Right.


BC: What was your experience with history at the high school level? And the reason I’m asking is…is there anything you can say to today’s students who really struggle with getting an interest in history?


HH: You know I have to say that I’m sorry about that. And I wish I was a better example of the right way to do it. I’m really not. I got brought into it by a 5th grade teacher. She inspired me to read. But I was never a really good listener in class. I don’t think you’d call it ADD but I was pretty bad in school. I wasn’t violent but I was, you know, the class clown kind of person. I think it was probably because I was younger than everybody in school having been advanced twice which was a big mistake socially, but not otherwise. And I never really conformed to what was expected of me, either in high school or in college. Otherwise, if I had realized that this is what I wanted to do, I probably would have gone onto the academy and worked in a college. But because I was such an unpredictable nutcase I wanted to do a lot of different things. I always wanted to work in television and I got to work in public television for six years. I always wanted to be in politics. Not to be the candidate, but to work in politics. And I got to work in a United States senate campaign, in mayoral campaigns, in congressional campaigns, and in gubernatorial campaigns and worked for a governor and a mayor. So I got that out of my system. Then to be asked to work at the Metropolitan Museum, the greatest cultural institution in the country, was the icing on the cake. And that’s been 16 years…during which time the Director and the President have encouraged me to lead my double life as a scholar as well.

So I’ve always been sort of on the outside looking in. And I guess I’m not a good person to advise people on listening in school, because I didn’t listen. I found it tedious and I wanted to read my own stuff. But I don’t think the teachers are making it any easier because the textbooks are not particularly appealing. You know, using the mass media, using DVDs, using the History Channel, it’s not a bad introduction. I think the academics ought to get off the high level snobbishness about that. Anyway we can get people interested, they’ll become readers eventually…


BC: I agree.


HH: …and better citizens as well. You know you don’t have to be a historian but it’s good to know your past because that’s the way you can trust the future.


BC: It’s interesting to me, especially when I relate it to the History Channel, or any of these other approaches you mentioned to help reach the kids. It’s so fast paced nowadays that kids want to be entertained and I think you’re right. I think that’s a tremendous way to capture them rather then doing the staid old way of “Read your books…”


HH: History has great stories, and great stories are entertaining. And I think this political season has been great for history because history is being made as we speak. And I think kids know that. And I think they’re excited about it and they’re thrilled to be living through it. If you don’t know that this moment is historic, no matter who wins this election, the people will know. But it’s either going to be an African American man or the first woman on a national ticket. And these are times that really shake things up. And how did we get here? Why didn’t we get here sooner? That’s what we should want to know. And I think people do want to know more than ever.


BC: I did gloss over your interest in show business so if I can just back track a second I know that this is a love of yours. Did you want to share a story or two from this area of you life?


HH: Well you know. I really think that Lincoln is a character who needs to be brought to life and not only on the page. And that’s why I’ve been lucky enough for these last 8 or 9 years, to do a series of performances with Sam Waterston from Law & Order who I’m sure you know.


BC: Yes.


HH: I met him 20 years ago or more when he was filming Gore Vidal’s “Lincoln” in Richmond. And we became friends and he’s been just delightful wanting to do this. And we’ve done it in Illinois and Washington and Connecticut and the Metropolitan Museum and the White House and Little Rock and ah …


BC: So you take your show on the road?


HH: Yes, we take it on the road! And we’re going to do it one last time by the way. Ford’s Theatre on February 26th and then we’re going to close it down forever.


BC: How does one get a ticket to that?


HH:  I think they’re going to be easily available and free!

So people just have to check in with Ford’s Theatre because it’s not part of their regular theater program. They’re doing a series of Lincoln events. So I think it’s going to be exciting. And I think it’s going to be accessible. I hope we fill it up. And I’m sure he will. You know…I don’t think I’m the attraction!


BC: Well for me you would be the attraction…


HH: And now I’m starting to do some of these with Richard Dreyfuss, which is a whole different story. Sam Waterston is like meeting a Shakespearean actor. But Richard Dreyfuss is more like meeting me, because he sort of is, I’m not going to say a Mini Me, because I’m his Mini Me! He and I grew up in the same area and if he had not left for California with is dad when he was about 10 he and I, and my wife, would have all gone to the same high school in the same year.


So we’ve become close. I did go to see a movie recently. I got to see “W” with him in it and it was a lot of fun.

And he’s done Lincoln now. So it’s a whole different kind of Lincoln, but it’s great fun.


BC: I bet it’s interesting to get the two dichotomies of …


HH: I know! (laughing)


BC: At this point, you’ve given me well over half an hour of a wonderful interview which I thought we might do in 20 minutes so…


HH: Well, I know. I talk too much. I’m sorry (laughing)


BC: Not at all. I could probably go on for an hour, but that’s…


HH: Well, if anybody who is not completely exhausted and wants more information, I do have a website. And I correspond with people on the website. There are also my book things and appearances and pictures. It’s Harold And I hope people visit me there and I’d love to talk to them.


BC: Absolutely. I’ll post it at the bottom of this blog and add a link on the blog as well.

So, for the last question, what does Harold Holzer have planned over the next 2 to 3 years?


HH: I’m glad you asked!


BC: (Laughing)


HH: Probably not a good idea for marketing purposes!


BC: (Laughing)


HH: I’ll need a special marketer to have so many other things going on so soon. But I am the co-editor of a catalogue that’s coming out for the Library of Congress exhibition. It’s called “In Lincoln’s Hand”. It’s going to be a beautiful collection of absolutely gorgeous scans of some of Lincoln’s greatest letters and speeches from his childhood to his death. Never reproduced so beautifully and each one is going to be accompanied with a commentary by a distinguished observer. We have all four ex-Presidents, Sam Waterston, Steven Spielberg, Liam Neeson. Great writers like Tony Morrison and Adam Gopnik and E.L. Doctorow and, I know I’m forgetting people, but we’ve really got a wonderful list of people. So that’s one project.


Then I’ve got a book coming out from the Library of America called “Lincoln Anthology” which is a collection of great literature about Lincoln over the last 150 years. Ranging from William Cullen Briant on though Whitman and Sandburg, up to Gore Vidal and ending with Barack Obama’s speech in Springfield when he announced his candidacy for President. So that’s a big project.


And then I’m the guest curator and historian at an exhibition at the New York Historical Society next fall called “Lincoln and New York”. Yes there is a New York story and we’re going to tell it. And I’m sure we’re gonna make every effort to take complete credit for Lincoln ‘cause that’s what New Yorkers do.


BC: (Laughing)


HH: And I think that’s enough for awhile.


BC: Do you have a favorite Lincoln quote?


HH: A favorite Lincoln quote! You know, I’ve become so immersed in the period between the election and the inauguration that my new favorite quote is a very unserious one. When Lincoln got really angry and the people were expecting him to talk too soon, about too much, and to sooth and beg the South to let him be President, even though he felt he’d legitimately won the election, he said “I will not be a sucked egg, all shell and no insides!” That’s my new favorite quote.


BC: (Laughing)


HH: None of us wants a president who’s a sucked egg! We want them whole. And hopefully that’s what we’ll have with our new president as well.


BC: This has been a wonderful interview and I want to thank you Mr. Holzer for joining me today and sharing your thoughts with my readers. As mentioned earlier, you have a new book out “Lincoln President-Elect: Abraham Lincoln and the Great Secession Winter 1860 -1861”. And you folks out there need to look it up and read more from this great scholar.


HH: Barry, thank you very much.


BC: You’re very welcome. Thank you.







Since the interview, the country has elected its next President of the United States in Barack Obama. As Mr. Holzer indicated in this interview, it’s an historic time. It’s living history. Watch it closely. Live it now, and in a few years, remember that you were here to experience it.


To close, I have to say that I truly enjoyed this conversation with Mr. Holzer. For me, there is nothing like talking to an expert about something you love. So many holes in one’s education get filled in, resulting in a more complete picture.


This interview was recorded live and has been edited (to take out all the ums, ahs and ‘poorly asked questions’ that I stumbled through). If time permits, I’ll post the audio file of the interview so you can hear Mr. Holzer’s words and ‘charm’. He really is a nice man!


Mr. Holzer’s generosity cannot be appreciated enough by me. Thank you again.


Below is the information I promised earlier.


Harold Holzer’s website is:


Mr. Holzer’s Gettysburg appearances from November 16 – 19 are listed below.


  • Nov 16 • Opening Night Speaker for The Lincoln Forum, Gettysburg, PA (speaking on Lincoln: President-Elect)
  • Nov 17 • Lincoln Forum Book Signing at the Holiday Inn Gettysburg, 516 Baltimore Street, Gettysburg, PA
  • Nov 18 • Lincoln Forum Book Signing at the Gettysburg Visitor Center, 87 Taneytown Road, Gettysburg, PA
  • Nov 19 • Lincoln Forum “Lincoln Commemorative Coin” unveiling at the Gettysburg Cemetery, 87 Taneytown Road, Gettysburg, PA.



 Other posted interviews to date:

“An Awesometalk With” Dr. Thomas Schwartz, Illinois State Historian

(posted on December 08, 2008) 


“An Awesometalk With” Robert Krauss, 509th Composite Group Historian

(posted on December 16, 2008) 







UPDATED: July 29, 2013: Hi all: Thanks to some great comments and observations from my readers, I’ve made a couple of changes to the article.

TO MY READERS: If you know the location of any artifacts related to the assassination, conspirators and trial, execution, etc. that are not on this list, then please let me know and I will be happy to include your submittal, once confirmed.

Best. Barry

NOTE: The new listings are preceded by the designations (NEW-KSHS) Original Posting: August 3, 2008 – Barry Cauchon

Here is a list of locations where Lincoln Assassination / Aftermath Artifacts can be found in public institutions. Many more remain in private collections which are not listed here. If you know of any items that I’ve missed, please let me know and I’ll gladly add them to the list.

1. Studebaker National Museum in South Bend, Indiana

  • Carriage that the Lincoln’s took to Ford’s Theatre on the night of the assassination

2. National Museum of Health and Medicine in Washington, DC

The bullet, the probe and skull fragments from Lincoln's autopsy

The bullet, the probe and skull fragments from Lincoln’s autopsy

  • The ball (bullet) that killed President Lincoln recovered during the autopsy.
  • Skull fragments from Lincoln recovered during the autopsy.
  • The probe used by Dr. Barnes to remove the ball and skull fragments from Lincoln’s injury during the autopsy.
Path of bullet through John Wilkes Booth upper vertibrae

Path of bullet through John Wilkes Booth upper vertibrae

  • John Wilkes Booth’s 3rd, 4th and 5th Cervical (Neck) Vertebrae (showing the path of the bullet that killed him)
  • (NEW RN) – Blood stained cuffs from the lab coat worn by Dr. Edward Curtis (assistant surgeon who, along with Dr. Woodward, performed the autopsy on President Lincoln).

3. Smithsonian Institute – National Museum of American History

Although not assassination artifacts, here are a pair of cast hands and two plaster Life Masks made from 1st generation molds taken from Lincoln during his life. The original molds were made by two different artists, Leonard Volk and Clark Mills.

Cast hands by Leonard Volk

  • A pair of cast hands and the first Life Mask made in 1860 by Leonard Volk just prior to Lincoln’s nomination for president at the Republican convention.

  • The second was made by Clark Mills on February 11, 1865 just two months prior to Lincoln’s assassination.
Lincoln's Top Hat worn to Ford's Theatre on April 14, 1865

Lincoln’s Top Hat worn to Ford’s Theatre on April 14, 1865

  • Lincoln’s Top Hat that he wore to Ford’s Theatre on April 14, 1865.
Drum and drumsticks used at Lincoln's funeral

Drum and drumsticks used at Lincoln’s funeral

  • Drum and drumsticks used during the funeral parades for President Lincoln in late April, 1865

Canvas hood worn by male conspirators during captivity for the Lincoln assassination

  • Canvas hood used to cover the head of one of the seven male conspirators during captivity. On April 25, 1865, Secretary of War Edwin Stanton ordered that the heads of all the conspirator prisoners be convered with a canvas hood. Only an opening in the area of the mouth and nose allowed breathing and eating. The hoods were worn 24 hours a day until June 6, 1865 when Major General John Hartranft, Special Provost Marshal in charge of the prisoners and execution had them removed. He felt that the prisoners were suffering too much because of the hoods. Mary Surratt was not required to wear the hood for fear that public indignation would be strong.

4. Library of Congress, Washington, DC

Contents of Lincoln's pockets at time of his assassination

Contents of Lincoln’s pockets at time of his assassination (with the exception of the newspaper which was published after the assassination).

  • The contents of Lincoln’s pockets from the night of the assassination. Some of these items include: nine newspaper clippings, a pair of spectacles and a pair of reading glasses and their cases, a lens polisher, a watch fob, a pocket knife, a brown leather wallet containing a Confederate $5.00 note and a linen hankerchief.

  • The playbill from the April 14, 1865 performance of Our American Cousin at Ford’s Theatre

5. Chicago History Museum

Lincoln's Deathbed from the Peterson Home

  • Lincoln’s deathbed originally from the Peterson House located across the street from Ford’s Theatre. Lincoln was so tall, he had to be laid diagnally across this bed to fit
  • Other furniture from the Peterson house includes a rocking chair, bureau, candlestick, engraving, and gas jet
  • Mary Todd Lincoln’s blood-stained cape that she wore on April 14, 1865
  • Padded hood used by one of the male conpirators while in captivity after the assassination

6. Ford’s Theatre, Washington, DC or

Ford's Theatre circa 1860s

Ford’s Theatre circa 1860s

Derringer used to assassinate President Lincoln

  • John Wilkes Booth’s derringer used to shoot President Lincoln
Booth's knife and sheath

Booth’s knife and sheath

  • Booth’s knife and sheath used to stab Major Rathbone on the night of the assassination
John Wilkes Booth's boot

John Wilkes Booth’s boot

  • Booth’s boot and spur
  • Inner door where Booth had carved a small peep hole to see the President prior to assassinating him.
  • Wooden stick used by Booth to wedge the outer door shut to the Presidential Box.
  • The dress coat that Lincoln wore to the theatre that night.
Chair from Presidential Box at Ford's Theatre April 14, 1865

Chair from Presidential Box at Ford’s Theatre April 14, 1865

Dr. Samuel Mudd's medical kit

Dr. Samuel Mudd’s medical kit

  • Dr. Mudd’s medical kit
Booth's compass found on him after his death

Booth’s compass found on him after his death

Booth's Diary written during his 12 days on the run after the assassination

Booth’s Diary written during his 12 days on the run after the assassination

  • John Wilkes Booth Compass and Diary

Wanted Poster

  • Wanted Poster
  •  US Treaury Guards Flag from Presidential Box which Booth’s spur caught on when he jumped to the stage.
U.S Treasury Flag which Booth caught his spur on when jumping from the Presidential box

U.S Treasury Flag on which Booth caught his spur when he jumped from the Presidential box

  • Original Framed portrait of George Washington from the Presidential Box

7. Peterson Home, Washington, DC.  (Note: This is a National Parks Service site across the street from Ford’s Theatre. The Peterson Home does not have it’s own website but here is the NPS site)

Peterson House across the street from Ford\'s Theatre, Washington DC

  • The house itself is a protected landmark by the National Park Service. It is the place where Lincoln was taken after being shot at Ford’s Theatre (just across the street). Lincoln died at 7:22am on April 15 in the first floor bedroom

10. Kansas State Historical Society &

 The following two artifacts are currently on display at the Kansas Museum of History in Topeka, KS in an exhibit called Lincoln in Kansas. The show is currently on and runs until July 26, 2009. These two artifacts are normally not on display and have been brought out for this specific exhibition.

Blood-stained playbill from night of the assassination

Blood-stained playbill from night of the assassination. Courtesy of Kansas State Historical Society.

  • Blood splattered playbill fragment picked up by patron at Ford’s Theatre on the night of the assassination.
Gallows section from Lincoln Conspirators

Gallows crossbeam from the Lincoln Conspirators executions. Courtesy of Kansas State Historical Society

  • Section of the gallows crossbeam used to hang the four condemned Lincoln conspirators (Mary Surratt, Lewis Powell, David Herold and George Atzerodt).
 11. Henry Ford Museum, Dearborn, Michigan
Rocking Chair (prior to restoration) used by Lincoln on night of the assassination

Rocking Chair (prior to restoration) used by Lincoln on night of the assassination

 12. Historical Society of Quincy and Adams Counties, Illinois

Note: These items are not on public display (see video news story link below)

  • Padded hood worn by one of the male Lincoln conspirators during their 2 months in captivity

  • Manicles worn by Lincoln conspirators

  • Keys to the conspirators’ jail cells

13. Mutter Museum of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia

  • (NEW-RN) Tissue from John Wilkes Booth cervical vertebrae (originally labeled as part of his thorax)


14. Lincoln Room Museum in the Wills House, Gettysburg, PA.

  • (NEW-RN) Hair sample from Abraham Lincoln’s autopsy.

15. Indiana State Museum, Indianapolis, Indiana

  • (NEW-RN) Hair sample from Abraham Lincoln’s autopsy (Note: This item was part of the Lincoln collection obtained from the Lincoln Museum, Ft. Wayne, IN which closed in June/08).

16. Weldon Petz Abraham Lincoln Collection, Plymouth Historical Society & Museum, Plymouth, Michigan

  • (NEW-RN & Dan Parker Plymouth Historical Museum) – Hair sample donated by Surgeon General Barnes family. Hair was culled from Abraham Lincoln’s during the initial exploration of the president’s wound after being shot.

  • Additional assassination artifacts (tbd) 

17. Huntington Library, San Marino, California

  • (NEW-BH) – Lewis Powell’s knife used in the attack on Secretary of State William Seward on April 14, 1865.





Here are three stories in the news from the Museum world. Enjoy.


July 30, 2008 – The National Museum of American History, which has been closed for a two year, $85 million renovation, confirmed that it will reopen its doors on November 21, 2008. Highlights in the rejuvenated museum will include a brand new gallery for the almost 200 year old Star-Spangled Banner and will display the White House copy of Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address.

To read the press release, go to:


July 30, 2008 – The Augusta Museum of History has announced a wonderful promotion called Dollar Dog Days of Summer. From August 1 – 31 admission to the museum will cost just $1.00. Since May, the museum has presented the popular exhibit “The Godfather of Soul, Mr. James Brown”. Recently they opened a second major exhibit entitled “From Ty to Cal: A Century of Baseball in Augusta.”

Dollar Dog Days
Augusta Museum of History
Tue.-Sat., 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Sunday 1-5 p.m.
Ezekiel Harris House
Sat., 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
By appointment Tue.-Fri.
$1 dollar admission, Aug. 1-31

To read the press release, go to:


Occasionally a story comes out that is both strange and funny at the same time. A small museum called the Georgia Bureau of Investigation in Decatur, Georgia is displaying the “Monkey from Mars”, which was part of a UFO hoax in 1953. According to the story, on July 8, 1953 three guys (two barbers and a butcher) took a monkey (dead I assume), shaved it’s hair and dyed the body green. Oh yes, they also cut off it’s tail. It was left on the side of a Georgia road with torch burn marks around the body.

A preserved monkey is shown on display in the lobby of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation Crime Lab Thursday July 24, 2008. in Decatur, Ga. The shaved monkey was part of a 1953 UFO hoax in rural Cobb County.  (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

A preserved monkey is shown on display in the lobby of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation Crime Lab Thursday July 24, 2008. in Decatur, Ga. The shaved monkey was part of a 1953 UFO hoax in rural Cobb County. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

According to article linked below,

“The barbers, Edward Watters and Tom Wilson, and the butcher, Arnold “Buddy” Payne, told the policeman they came upon a red, saucer-shaped object in the road that night. They said several 2-foot-tall creatures were scurrying about and the trio hit one with their pickup before the other creatures jumped back in the saucer and blasted skyward — leaving the highway scorched.”

The hoax was quickly discovered and poor Mr. Watters (as creative as he had been) was fined $40.00 for obstructing a highway.

In 1953, UFO hysteria was everywhere, so this allowed the hoax to be as believable as it was back then. Funny but true.