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Lincoln Museum


The Museum Collection

During the Presidential campaign of 1860, young Osborn H. Oldroyd, of Mount Vernon, Ohio, obtained a booklet containing an account of the life of Abraham Lincoln and his speeches. Reading it carefully he became impressed with the potential greatness of the President-elect, and he determined to acquire every available article relating to Lincoln. He served in the Union Army during the War Between the States and was wounded at Vicksburg. Discharged from the Army, Oldroyd returned to his hobby of collecting Lincoln articles with renewed interest.

Moving to Springfield, Ill., Oldroyd found the Lincoln home vacant. In 1883, he leased the house from Robert Lincoln and there displayed his Lincoln collection. In 1887, Robert Lincoln presented the Springfield home to Illinois for a museum. Oldroyd continued to exhibit his collection there until 1893 when he moved to the Nation's Capital.

Reaching Washington, Oldroyd found the Petersen House unoccupied. Renting the building, he moved in his collection of Lincoln relics. It was formally opened to the public on October 17, 1893. An act of Congress, approved June 11, 1896, provided for the purchase of the house from Mr. and Mrs. Louis Schade for $30,000. The purchase was consummated on October 7, 1896. The deed was recorded on November 10, 1896, and on that day the Government assumed charge of the premises. The acquisition of the Oldroyd collection was provided by the act of Congress, approved May 11, 1926. The purchase was made on August 30, 1926, and the Government officially took over the collection on September 1 of that year. Moved to the Ford's Theatre building, this collection was opened to the public on February 12, 1932, and is the nucleus of the exhibits in the new Lincoln Museum in the basement of Ford's Theatre.

The Oldroyd collection, acquired over a period of 66 years, contained more than 3,000 articles when purchased by the Government, including hundreds of objects that cannot be duplicated. In recent years, there have been many interesting accessions to the original collection.

exhibits at Lincoln Museum


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