SPRINGFIELD – In honor of Father’s Day, the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum is displaying two rare pieces of furniture made by the 16th president’s father, Thomas Lincoln.
The display begins on Friday, June 16, and ends on Monday, June 26. The furniture will be displayed in the ALPLM’s library building, which means there is no charge for visitors. The building is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., seven days a week.
“Thomas Lincoln was a skilled artisan, as well as a farmer. About a dozen of his creations are known to exist, and the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum is fortunate to have two of them in its collection,” said ALPLM Executive Director Alan Lowe. “We thought Father’s Day was the perfect time to show them off to the world.”
One piece is a desk-and-bookcase, also known as a plantation desk or a secretary. It is made mostly of cherry wood and is among Thomas Lincoln’s finest works. He made it about 1820 for Dr. John Crook, the first physician in Spencer County, Indiana, where the Lincolns then lived.
The other is a day bed, also made of cherry. Commissioned in the 1810s, this was one of the earlier pieces made by Thomas (1778-1851).
Another piece can be found at the Lincoln Log Cabin State Historic Site, which was Thomas Lincoln’s final home. The Coles County site has a blanket chest that may be the last surviving piece made by the president’s father. A photo of that will be included in the presidential library’s display.
The display also includes three original documents. One shows Thomas Lincoln’s clear, firm signature in 1813, while another from 1835 shows him simply signing an X due to his failing eyesight and possible arthritis. The third, written by a granddaughter, describes him as “a kind granpapa” who “all ways Sed grace at the table.”
The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum is dedicated to telling the story of America’s 16th president through old-fashioned scholarship and modern technology.
The library holds an unparalleled collection of Lincoln books, documents, photographs, artifacts and art. The museum uses traditional exhibits, eye-catching special effects and innovative story-telling techniques to educate visitors.
It also has some 12 million items pertaining to all aspects of Illinois history, making the library one of the nation’s leading institutions for genealogy and history research.