Lincoln Legends: Not Earring On The Side Of Caution

Vanity Plot?                 The Earrings of Madame de...

Anxious to display something, anything which had touched the great man for the Lincoln Bicentennial, in 2007 the Kentucky Historical Society spent $19,000 on a pair of earrings which may, or may not, have belonged to Lincoln’s wife.

The earrings history is sketchy. Basically, it’s a letter from a guy who once owned them, saying he was sure they are the real deal, he just wasn’t sure how.

The scandel has allowed Illinois, Kentucky’s sworn enemy in the Lincoln-sphere, to sneer.

“‘That’s not much of a provenance,” said Thomas Schwartz, director of research at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield, Illinois…It’s not enough that a collector has a hunch, especially if he can’t even provide the person that he purchased it from.

We do know that Mary Todd Lincoln was a proven earring wearer.

The earrings may now join Kentucky’s other famously fake Lincoln artifact: the replica birthplace cabin which now graces Kentucky’s entry in the US Mint’s parade of state quarters.

Cabin Fever!    lincoln-cabin-postcard.jpg

Odessa Steps Into History?


      When you walk into the Presidential Museum and Leadership Library, the first thing you should see is the rotunda and what is exhibited there.

Odessa Texas’s Presidential Museum threatens to close July 1, despite being on track to attract some 3,650 visitors this year. They have somehow managed to survive for 45 years, given a boost when the semi-local Bushs stumbled to the top.

The museum is an exciting confection of early Bush    home replication, the vaguely presidentialy related, and misinformation.

       “We have some very rare, interesting items for our visitors to see. An example is the registration desk used by President Eisenhower when he was commander of the European forces during WWII. The museum acquired this piece in the 1960’s and it serves to illustrate the unique collection we have, it is not all about buttons and posters.

The museum’s web page is a melange of odd choices and factual errors.  Their timeline for the 1860s and 1870s finds no space to mention either Lincoln’s election or assassination, but the Chicago Fire gets a mention.

Prize oddity comes when they sound the alarm in the 20th Century:


  “Not satisfied with President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal and its initial work/relief programs, left-wing politicians Louisiana’s Huey Long and California’s Father Coughlin advocated radical changes to the American system-tax the rich to provide welfare for the poor.”

What ever are they saying here?

  Long is usually viewed as a populist and/or fascist, rarely as a man of the left.

Hugo Gellert - Lithograph - Pieces of Silver

 Father Coughlin was a Detroit based fascist, although the Townsend Movement for old people’s pensions started in California.

Townsend stamp

Ronald Reagan: Africa Calling!

The Lives Of Others  lincoln-kennedy-oddities.jpg

The haunting parallels of Lincoln’s and Kennedy’s lives infest the Internet, but what of Ronald Reagan and the latest New Reagan?

The unlikely Reaganaut is the bad boy of South African politics, Jacob Zuma, and the stories premise is amiable front man for expert staff achieved greatness.

Zuma is expected to be elected South African President Wednesday:

Let’s examine the amazing Reagan/Zuma life coincidences!

reagan-smiling.jpg                                                zuma-smiles.jpg

Started as trade unionist                      Started as trade unionist

Challenged sitting president              Challenged sitting president

More than one marriage                      More than one marriage

Arms scandal!                                          Arms scandal!

Lincoln Buffs Meet The Left

He Knows Civil War!  trotsky-as-red-army.JPG

Civil War Bookshelf has discovered that all are not enamored with the Lincoln-ifcation of Barack Obama.

“The Fourth International is fed up with Lincoln/Obama comparisons in the mass media:

‘Attempts to portray Obama as the heir of Lincoln’s legacy involve a grotesque historical and political falsification. Lincoln will forever be associated with one of the great progressive causes in history—the emancipation of the slaves and the destruction of the Southern slave-owning oligarchy in the American Civil War (1861-1865). Obama, on the other hand, bears only a negative and reactionary relationship to the great political questions of his day.'”

Trotskyism is a fantasy wonderland of factions, fractions, and preparatory committees to really do something about getting together. The Bookshelf  has stumbled on one of the many, many groups, grouplets and ghost armies claiming to Be the Fourth International, World Party of Socialist Revolutiontrademark.gif, although it casually insulted them by calling them Trotskyites, not the vastly preferred Trotskyists.

CWB is quoting from the International Committee of the Fourth International, whose dominant affiliate is the US Socialist Equality Party [perhaps the lamest name in Trot history].

Here’s what the US Trot Family Tree looks like  [the Obama denouncers are 6th from the left at the bottom]:


4th-international-flag-waving.jpg  A thousand schools of thought contend worldwide for the 4th International Franchise, with some combination of 4s, hammers, and sickle branding.bolshevik-tendency-germany.gif


fraccion-trotskista.gif                    league-for-the-revolutionary-party.jpg


And yes, t-shirts are available!  4th-international-founding-tshirt.jpg

Blogger Dimitri Rotov points out that the civil war history is often treated as fodder for random claims about freedom, destiny and personalities. His Civil War Bookshelf recognises that splintery though they may be, the Trots at least try to engage in real discussion.

At this point in the ongoing orgy of “public history” I’m desperate for some intellectual standard in historical evaluation. I’ll even take it from the communists.

Lincoln Stalks The Corn Field

Now He Belongs To The Undead  lincoln-vampire-film-still.JPG

With the proud boast “Filmed in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois,” perhaps America’s only Abraham Lincoln vampire movie has struck the internets, offering 24 minutes of farmer tans and corn-fed honeys battling a blood-sucking Great Emancipator.

The film has played the festival circuit, but now the entire film is available free on-line.

Star Michael Krebs day job is as a Lincoln “interpreter.”  lincoln-krebs-with_lincoln_productions.JPG