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Cornell University Removes Abraham Lincoln Display


Cornell University | Image by Flickr

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A bust of Abraham Lincoln and a plaque bearing the Gettysburg Address have been removed from the Cornell University library’s Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections.

Biology professor Randy Wayne said he questioned librarians regarding their absence after seeing the display was missing a few weeks prior. The librarians reportedly told him that the exhibit was taken down due to a complaint, but they did not provide any additional details, according to the College Fix.

Both pieces had been on display in Koch Library since 2013 to commemorate the former president’s famous 1863 speech.

“Someone complained, and it was gone,” Wayne said.

The director of media relations for Cornell University, Rebecca Valli, told Fox News Digital in a statement that the display was set up as a “temporary exhibit” to honor the Gettysburg Address’ 150th anniversary in 2013. Currently, the display area is empty.

“Cornell proudly possesses one of five known copies of the Gettysburg Address in Lincoln’s hand. The original is safely sequestered, with a digital facsimile on permanent display,” the statement continued.

Valli also noted that Cornell has five electronic Lincoln exhibitions available for viewing online 24 hours a day. She did not offer comment on the possibility of a complaint regarding the display.

Wayne provided further detail to College Fix about the copy of the Gettysburg Address that the media relations director had mentioned.

“It is known as the Bancroft Copy,” he said in an email. “It comes with an envelope signed by Lincoln, using his franking privilege, and a letter to Bancroft, thanking him for requesting a copy of the address to put in a book to be sold for charity.”

“The Gettysburg Address is an incredible speech,” reamrked Wayne, adding that he could think of no reason why a library would want to take down a display in its honor.

Wayne inquired about the exhibit in an email to Cornell University President Martha Pollack on June 23. A member of her staff responded, “President Pollack isn’t typically made aware of changes with exhibitions in the library, which I believe are decided upon by library staff.”

The biology professor added that he does not think anyone “has the whole story at this time” regarding the removed display.     

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