Saving History Saturday: President Lincoln’s Bible Donated to the Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum

This week, the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield, Illinois announced its latest acquisition: one of Lincoln’s Bibles.

At a fundraiser for wounded soldiers in Philadelphia on June 16, 1864, the Ladies of the Citizens Volunteer Hospital of Philadelphia gifted Lincoln an 18-pound Bible. Reflecting its heavy weight, the Bible is over 14 inches long and nearly 12 inches wide. Remarkably, it is only one of six Bibles known to have been owned by the Lincoln family. Until now, 150 years later, historians did not know of its existence.

The official press release photograph of the Lincoln Bible. Courtesy of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum.

In 1872, Lincoln’s widow, Mary Todd Lincoln, gave the Bible to the family’s Springfield neighbor and friend, Reverend Noyes Miner. Inscribed on the back of the Bible is the notation, “Mrs. Abraham Lincoln to N.W. Miner, D.D., Oct. 15, 1872.” The Miner family had kept this Lincoln memento for several generations, until donating it to the museum.

The great-great-granddaughter of Noyes Miner, Sandra Wolcott Willingham, reflected on why her family decided to donate, “We feel that Lincoln’s Bible belongs to the American people as a national treasure. Lincoln is our most revered president and this Bible will be a constant connection to his incredible life.”

According to the museum, the Bible went on display this week and will offer knew insight into the spiritual life of the president, which has been the source of much debate. Executive Director Alan Lowe hopes that the Bible is “the beginning of a conversation about the relevance of Lincoln and the role of religion in our lives today.”

Official Press Release:

Article from the New York Times:

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