The thin leather briefcase that President Abraham Lincoln used to carry his papers between the White House and his summer residence, now known officially as President Lincoln’s Cottage, is on display at the Cottage from now until June 30.
Also on display for the same period is an album of photographic portraits of each of the members of 150th Pennsylvania Volunteers, which had been given to Lincoln’s son Tad as a gift.
In the worn brief case, which most closely resembles an accordion file of today, Lincoln carried with him official papers during his often daily three-mile commute from downtown Washington to the Soldiers’ Home during the summers of 1862 to 1864.
It was at his summer residence that Lincoln worked on the Emancipation Proclamation as well as set significant wartime policy and kept up with his correspondence.
The 100 members of the Pennsylvania 150th, also known as the “Bucktails,” had guard duty for the Lincoln family and traveled between the White House and the Cottage with them. Young Tad, who liked to fancy himself a Union soldier, became a great friend of the young men of the 150th, often spending his days with them.
Each of the soldiers had a picture taken at the Matthew Brady Studio, where Lincoln often sat for portraits, and put them together in an album they had inscribed, “Presented to Tad Lincoln by Co. K, 150th Pa V.”
These two Civil War treasures are on loan from the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield, Ill.