Lincoln Collection Website Up and Running

By Eric Olson

April 18, 2012 Updated Apr 18, 2012 at 11:55 AM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Indiana (Indiana's NewsCenter)--If you love America, care about her story, remember this web address…lincolncollection .org.

Welcome to the website of the Lincoln Financial Foundation Collection, hot off the virtual press. Literally years in the making this one website represents the biggest leap in Lincoln scholarship in decades. For many months workers at the Allen County Library have been digitally scanning the tens of thousands of books, documents, photos and artifacts once housed in Fort Wayne’s Lincoln Museum…digitizing them for placement on lincolncollection.org and the website, still far from complete, is now operational.

“You can do it on your IPad after playing Angry Birds,” laughs Lincoln Librarian Jane Gastineau. “I mean it’s right there so it really expands it tremendously to people who might otherwise have never looked.”

On the home page if you click on the ‘Collection’ tab you find the categories the collection’s divided into…books and pamphlets, fine art, magazines and newspapers…click on photographs to find what will be 5000 Lincoln photos, some from the Lincoln family’s private photo album…click on a photo and its entire story appears, the photographer, date it was taken, the subjects and the context. Or click ‘Curated Groupings’ on the collection page for books and artifacts organized by theme…the 1860 Election, the Gettysburg Address, the Lincolns in Springfield.

“If you search for the subject ‘assassination’” says Lincoln Librarian Cindy VanHorn “you will get all the books and pamphlets about it, you get the photos related to the assassination you get the objects, the 3d objects that are housed at the state museum.”

Books, poetry, even period music…all online. And the real gem of the Lincoln Collection…twenty filing cabinets containing thousands of newspaper articles, mostly from the early 20th century that are personal recollections about Abraham Lincoln.

“Reminiscences of people who had seen Lincoln,” says Jane Gastineau, “who had attended the funeral in one of the cities who knew something about Lincoln in their own life or experience. And that’s the sort of thing that has been in the past really reserved for the researcher. You had to come here to see it, you had to know about the collection you had to come to the museum, and now it will be out there for anybody who’s interested.”

That includes teachers, students, scholars, authors..anyone who cares about this greatest American and his times, now available on a computer near you. This is Eric Olson reporting.

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