Artifacts donated to Illinois Lincoln Presidential Library ahead of birthday celebration

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (KWQC) - The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum is celebrating Lincoln's birthday by announcing the acquisitions of a letter written by the Lincoln as a lawmaker and a painting of a young Lincoln.

The letter was written to Andrew McCormack, part of a group of nine tall Illinois legislators who banded together and helped make Springfield the state capital.

In the letter, the normally diplomatic Lincoln chastises McCormack for planning to vote against the group. The issue was whether a government job would go to a fellow Whig or a rival Democrat.

"All our friends are ready to cut our throats about it," Lincoln writes. "For Heaven's sake, for your friends sake, for the sake of the recollection of all the hard battles we have heretofore fought shoulder, to shoulder, do not forsake us this time."

The letter has been passed down by McCormack's descendants and now donated to the library.

As for the painting, it was created by William Morton Jackson Rice and dates to the late 1800s. It is 7 feet wide by nearly 5 feet tall and shows Lincoln, wearing buckskins, sitting against a tree he has just chopped down. Lincoln is reading a book. It will hang in the presidential library for the rest of the year.

The Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum will celebrate his birthday Feb. 12 by offering free admission, showcasing some of its rarest artifacts and presenting musicians and historic interpreters.