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The New York Public Library received a donation of Abraham Lincoln memorabilia

A MARTÍNEZ, HOST:

The New York Public Library recently got a donation. It's Abraham Lincoln memorabilia. The collection includes letters, campaign souvenirs. There's even a Lincoln-themed cabinet for storing pies and a strand of the 16th president's hair. Steve, this sounds like your jam.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

(Laughter) Absolutely. Wonder what we can learn from the hair. All of this came from the family of Jonathan Mann, who was a collector who died last August. Brent Reidy leads the library's research wing.

BRENT REIDY: He wanted this collection to be used by the public and not end up dispersed to a thousand corners. He spent so much time bringing it together. It was a work of art unto itself.

MARTÍNEZ: Julie Golia, a historian and curator at the library, said Mann's collection of political campaign ribbons tells us a lot about the era.

JULIE GOLIA: When you think about it, they're a fundamental part of people's experience at the time. If you would have walked around New York in 1860, people would have been wearing the ribbons on their shirts. They're intimate, and they bring you back to the time in a way that words or descriptions can't necessarily.

MARTÍNEZ: Her favorite ribbon is from the Wide Awake Girls who campaigned for Lincoln in 1860.

GOLIA: It really struck me that there were so many women participating in the Wide Awakes half a century before women got the vote.

INSKEEP: The Wide Awakes - these were pro-Lincoln groups in 1860 who were woke to the danger of the country. Golia thinks that pieces like these will inspire future Lincoln researchers.

GOLIA: When the collection opens after it's processed, we'll bring a whole new generation of Lincoln scholars and enthusiasts to the New York Public Library.

INSKEEP: So I'll be booking a train soon.

(SOUNDBITE OF NIKLAS LIEPE ET AL.'S "GOLDBERGHAIN (QUODLIBET ON "KRAUT UND RUBEN HABEN MICH VERTRIEBEN") FOR VIOLIN AND STRING ORCHESTRA") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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