Discovery: A college student stumbled upon unknown documents written by Abraham Lincoln
College student David Spriegel was in his second week of a summer internship when he made the discovery of a lifetime.
The 21-year-old, who just finished his junior year at St. Mary’s University in Minnesota, was preparing a stack of old documents to be entered into a database and stored.
While examining the documents in the place appropriately named Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield, Illinois He noticed a small inscription that had previously gone unnoticed.
It read: ‘The above memorandum is in Abraham Lincoln’s inscription. —M. There is’.
The 167-year-old documents are handwritten memoranda detailing parcels of land being bought and sold in Springfield, dating back to the future president’s days as a lawyer in that city.
The intended recipient, Milton Hay, a clerk in Stuart and Lincoln’s office, would have recognized his handwriting.
Experts have now confirmed that the documents are authentic Lincoln and will join the more than 1,800 original manuscripts of the president held at the museum.
Souvenirs related to the 16th president of the United States can fetch thousands of dollars, and even enthusiasts purchase items related to Lincoln’s dog, Fido.
Lincoln, assassinated by well-known actor John Wilkes Booth on April 15, 1865, was the first Republican president when he was elected in 1860.
A spokesperson told the US newspaper Daily Herald that such a find is highly unusual, especially for someone as green as Spriegel.
“They are a rare find, for sure: one or two such documents may turn up each year,” said museum spokesman David Blanchette.
“That kind of discovery is rarely made by an inexperienced intern.
“They are typically researchers with many, many years of experience,” Blanchette said.