How kids brought Gettysburg Address to Illinois

By KERRY LESTER, Associated Press
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In this Friday, Nov. 15, 2013 photo, school groups and visitors view the Gettysburg Address and battle mural at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum and Library , in Springfield, Ill. (AP Photo/Seth Perlman)

In this Friday, Nov. 15, 2013 photo, school groups and visitors view the Gettysburg Address and battle mural at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum and Library , in Springfield, Ill. (AP Photo/Seth Perlman)

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — As Tuesday’s 150th anniversary of the Gettysburg Address nears, octogenarians’ memories are one of the only links to a children’s coin drive in the 1940s that brought a manuscript of Abraham Lincoln’s famous speech to Illinois, the president’s home state.

Records show that in October 1943, Illinois Library trustee Oliver Barrett suggested students help raise $60,000 to buy a copy of the address written in Lincoln’s hand from a New York manuscript dealer.

Children were asked to give 5 cents apiece. They raised more than $50,000, and Chicago department store heir Marshall Field III donated the rest.

Illinois residents, including Gene Rubley of Springfield, say the pennies were a big sacrifice because money was scarce during wartime. But Rubley says students were excited to be part of the historic effort.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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