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Abe Lincoln's Rail-Splitting Axe Is Shown in Widener Civil War Exhibit

Relics of His Early Public Life Illustrate Laconic Wit of President


Abraham Lincoln's famous broad axe, with which the president earned his fame as a champion rail-splitter, was placed on exhibit today in Widener Library.

Many memorabilia of "Honest Abe", as well as the axe, and of the Civil War period in general, are included in the historical exhibit. The objects range in size from the formidable ten pound woodchopper to an early photograph showing him in his young and beardless days. In the writings they vary from a terse notice announcing his return to private life to the twelve hundred pages of "Gone With the Wind," which was included for reasons which the reporter was unable to discover.

The axe, which has a bit at least a foot long, and which weighs ten pounds or more, was sold by Lincoln to a cattle drover who visited his country store. When the customer asked about the axe. Lincoln replied, "I have never offered it for sale, but have no particular use for it anymore, and if anyone wanted it enough to give me one dollar and four bits for it they can have it.'

One of the most characteristic of Lincoln's notes shown was evidently attached to a batch of government figures. It reads: "If the Sec. of the Treasury can tell what this means, it is more than I can. A Lincoln, Oct. 6, 1862.'

How Lincoln was able to jest at his own failures is indicated in a humorous business card he had printed up following one of his political defeats. The card reads: "A Lincoln, Attorney and Councillor at Law, Springfield, Ill. To Whom It May Concern. My old customers and others are no doubt aware of the terrible time I have had in crossing the stream, and will be glad to know that I will be back on the same side from which I started, on or before the 4th of March next, when I will be ready to Swap Horses, Dispense Law, Make Jokes, Split Rails, and perform other matters in a small way."

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