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Looking at the Civil War Through Lincoln's Eyes

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This Spring marks the 150th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln's death. The Cleveland Public Library opened a special exhibit this month recalling that event. But, ideastream's David C. Barnett reports that John Carroll University has a different way of looking at the late-President's life, and words.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013 at 8:06 pm

You probably know the photo. The President's face is lined and tired. It was taken during the heart of the Civil War, just days before Abraham Lincoln was to deliver one of his most famous speeches. In fact, the image has come to be known as "the Gettysburg Portrait".

CHARLES ZAROBILA: You can tell that a lot was weighing on this man's mind when this picture was taken.

John Carroll University's Special Collections curator, Charles Zarobila has unveiled that picture and nearly 60 other rare artifacts, which were donated by Robert Heltzel, a local collector of Lincoln memorabilia and a member of the school's Board of Directors. Among the other items are paintings, documents and books, including a bound program outlining the ceremony that day at Gettysburg. Zarobila says the keynote event listed was an oration by noted politician Edward Everett.

CHARLES ZAROBILA: He spoke for two hours, and most of the book is given over to his speech. Lincoln's speech appears on page 40 of this book, almost as a kind of footnote. And there it is, for virtually the first time, printed in book form.

And, ironically, it was Everett's long-winded talk that ended up being "little noted nor long-remembered" in the historical wake of Lincoln's elegant prose.

That book, and all the other items in the Heltzel collection are available for public viewing at the JCU library, where you can look for yourself into the eyes of a weary President trying to hold his country together.

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