Remer Collection of Lincoln Memorabilia

Vol. XX No. 1 - SPRING 2009

A portion of the Bob and Katie Remer Collection of Lincoln Memorabilia was put on display at the Edgewater Historical Society Museum for the opening program of the celebration of 200th Anniversary of Lincoln’s birth this year. On February 7th, the opening program was a presentation of selected reading materials and a discussion of exhibit items, lists and references. The exhibit shares space with the wonderful “Kitchen” exhibit curated by Kathryn Gemperle.

When the audience began to listen to Bob’s discussion of his collection, it was apparent that there were several people there who really knew their Lincoln. Sometimes they would fill in chunks of information and Bob and the guests would get enthused about Lincoln history. When you come into the museum to see the exhibit (scheduled to remain up through the end of May), you will find a collection of Lincoln books in the large glass display unit. Among the books are the wonderful “Team of Rivals”; the six volumes of Carl Sandburg’s Abraham Lincoln; and “Lincoln’s unknown private life by his housekeeper, Mariah Vance – an Oral History.” There is a selection of DVDs that could be played while you are in the museum, including PBS’s “The Civil War.”

A wonderful keepsake of the Lincoln 200th birthday would be the 2009 Calendars that feature Illinois statues of Lincoln – our own Edgewater statue is shown in September. It is available at the museum for $8.00.

A couple of antique books are on display – under glass. One is Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper, 1861. It is opened to “Inauguration of the Sixteenth President of the United States – Scene in front of the Capital at Washington, DC…” Bob notes that in that same paper’s front page was the photo of the inauguration of President-Elect Jefferson Davis of the “New Southern Confederacy.”

In another case, a book is opened to “The Chicago Funeral Procession of Abraham Lincoln, May 1, 1865 (Harpers Weekly).”

Some artifacts are also displayed, most notably the plaster casts of Lincoln’s hands, derived from the original bronze hands done in 1860 by sculptor Leonard Volk in Springfield, Ill. Note that the right hand is larger than the left. Lincoln is reported to have had a swollen hand due to shaking many hands. Volk is reported to have asked Lincoln to hold a broomstick, which can be seen in his right hand.

In the museum is a 14-page document of the entire exhibit, which is available to view If you wish to discuss other Lincoln books, you may leave a note for Bob, or send him an email via the website.

A small brochure of the exhibit also lists other events for this year long celebration of Lincoln. Three events at the museum include:

  • March 21 at 10 a.m. Author Arnie Bernstein with a discussion of his book, “The Hoofs and Guns of the storm: Chicago’s Civil War Connections” with a book signing to follow.
  • March 28 at 10 a.m. Reading Lincoln aloud. A community reading from the Lincoln Douglas debates and excerpts of some of Lincoln’s speeches.
  • April 11 at 10 a.m. Collecting Lincoln with Daniel Weinberg proprietor of the legendary Abraham Lincoln Book shop.
  • April 15 at 10 a.m. Laying of a Wreath at the Lincoln Statue in Senn Park. All welcome.