A new kind of taxpayer relief.
Abraham Lincoln once said, “Determine that the thing can and shall be done, and then we shall find the way.”
So it’s not improbable that the 16th president would endorse a modern fundraising method to ensure that priceless artifacts belonging to him stay in his hometown.
The crowdsourcing site GoFundMe — currently featuring requests of $800 to finance a boy’s Eagle Scout project, $5,000 to send a terminally ill little boy to Disneyland and $55,000 for a school playground — was enlisted last week for a new goal: $9.7 million to save from auction thousands of items, including bloody gloves carried the night of his assassination and a stovepipe hat purportedly belonging to Lincoln.
The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation in Springfield must pay the debt by October 2019 or sell off parts of the well-known Taper Collection acquired in 2007 for $25 million with a $23 million loan.
And it makes no apologies for its non-traditional push. The self-effacing Lincoln would likely raise no objection, foundation CEO Carla Knorowski said.
He was a fun guy, he was a hip guy,” Knorowski said. “In this day and age when we have icons and revere masked avengers, there is no greater superhero than Lincoln, there is no more deserving leader in our nation.”
Besides the gloves and hat, the 1,400 items include the quill pen left on Lincoln’s desk when he died; his presidential seal, replete with wax left on it from its last use; a book with his earliest known writings; notes between Lincoln and his wife, Mary; and Lincoln White House china.
By Saturday morning, GoFundMe contributions had reached nearly $5,000.[…]
The foundation has decided to part with some items in the collection, those belonging to Marilyn Monroe. Nine items, including 1950s photos of the movie starlet by photographer Arnold Newman, and a wool dress that could fetch $60,000, will be auctioned June 23 in Las Vegas. Monroe had an affinity for Lincoln and had read Carl Sandburg’s Pulitzer Prize-winning biography.
The decision to sell items not directly related to Lincoln is an attempt to show its sincerity in meeting the goal and to “do everything to be fiscally responsible,” Knorowski said.