Lincoln’s Humility Memorialized in Shapell Manuscript Foundation Letter

Happy Birthday Abraham Lincoln

Today marks the 203 anniversary of the birth of Abraham Lincoln, the 16th president of the United States, and one of the country’s most beloved. The Between the Lines project of the Shapell Manuscript Foundation, offers several documents that help to shed some light on the special character of Lincoln that makes him such a favorite among all the American presidents.

As we all know, only too well, this year is an election year, and candidates right and left, liberal and conservative, wish to be seen as men of integrity, honesty and character. But who, more than any other of the US presidents, stands out as a model of these praiseworthy attributes other than Lincoln, whom today’s candidates can’t help but pale in comparison to?

But is that how Lincoln saw himself? According to original letters of Lincoln in the Shapell Manuscript Foundation’s collection, Lincoln’s self-identity was of a man of humble character from a humble background. Lincoln saw himself as unexceptional, revealing that his egalitarianism was intrinsic, and the golden rule was the standard by which he behaved.  Lincoln’s modesty was so profound that he wrote, in 1859, “I do not think myself fit for the presidency.”

In one letter, written to the Honorable William D. Kelley, the Republican congressman from Pennsylvania, Lincoln accepts the honor having a law book dedicated to him with an inscription, but only if, “that inscription may be in modest terms, not representing me as a man of great learning, or a very extraordinary one in any respect.”

Lincoln’s humility was an extremely rare thing among politicians, as it is still today. This is one of the fundamental reasons why Walt Whitman said of Lincoln that he was, “”the grandest figure on the crowded canvas of the drama of the nineteenth century.”

Beer Lovers in UK


If you happen to be visiting the UK for an extended period of time, or, you live there, you might want to familiarize yourself with some of the best beer gardens there.  It just so happens, that one travel blog put together a list of the top 10 ones and here we will give you information on the best five ones.

Top of the list is the Square and Compass.  Situated in Dorset, this provides true British eccentricity so would be perfect for the tourist.  It has its very own fossil museum and hosts a huge variety of events including a pumpkin carving festival.  Historically, it began as a pub for local quarrymen and today still has some roughly-hewn stones that one can sit on during the summer afternoons.  There is a grassy slope that goes down to the sea and truly makes for a perfect setting for one to enjoy their homemade cider.

Others worth visiting are: The Ship (in Devon) which has an unparalleled view of bobbing boats and provides fantastic food and great beer; the Tarr Farm (in Somerset) is great for those who want to enjoy a beautiful stroll in the pub’s 40 surrounding acres.  It is placed above the River Barle and the garden is just stunning; guests can also enjoy the entire Exmoor National Park while they’re there too.

Next on the list of great beer gardens is the Pandora Inn (Cornwall) which really has a history.  Dating back as far as the 13th century, this overlooks Restronguet Creek, a beautiful romantic spot which provides couples with the opportunity to look over the water on a floating pontoon.  Food choices include delectable fresh crab and entertainment options let diners watch the boaters as they relax.  Truly charming.

The fifth one is called the Three Horseshoes (Sussex) and dates back to the 16th Century.  Its garden is brimming with roses and other beautiful flowers.  Again this venue provides amazing views enabling its guests to enjoy long walks on sunny days.

So it appears that the UK isn’t just about bad weather and less than perfect cooking; these beer gardens prove there is a lot more in store for visitors and citizens alike to enjoy great food, beer and views.

Learning About America’s Presidents “Between the Lines”


Learning About America's Presidents "Between the Lines"
It's fascinating to learn more about the quirks and personality traits of our American
presidents. Every letter that they send, every decision that they make, shows a bit
about their personalities. And Herbert Hoover's "One per Annum" autographed letter is
certainly no exception.
As part of the "Between the Lines" program through the Shapell Manuscript Foundation,
the Hoover letter offers insight into a quirk that the 31st President possessed. He loved to
write only typewritten letters – and shied away from handwritten ones at all costs.
As he explained in the document with the Shapell Manuscript Foundation, "I am not in
favor of holograph letters – I would not get through 1/10th of 1% of my mail that way –
moreover the typewriter spells better and leaves a record by which you can prove what
you did not say, and that is part of one's daily occupation. But the typewriter is a poor
method of conveying emotion. Therefore, this note is intended to convey more than usual
wishes of a happy and prosperous new year to you and yours."
Penned in 1937, well after the end of Hoover's time in office, the letter is a rare glimpse
of handwriting from the President. During his entire time as president, he wrote no more
than half a dozen handwritten letters. He acknowledged at one point that he wrote "one
autograph letter per annum."
Hoover explained that he favored type-written correspondences both because it saved
time, but also that he didn't want his letters sold. As he wrote to a young autograph
collector well after he finished as President, most men "don't like such trafficking in their
Certainly an interesting insight into one of America's great presidents.