LMU’s museum receives Mary Todd Lincoln items from graduate

The Abraham Lincoln Library and Museum (ALLM) received a belated Christmas Gift on Friday, December 27, 2013, when alumnus Randy Bumgardner, assistant chief of protocol and general manager of the Blair House, the President’s Guest House in Washington, D.C., delivered two handkerchiefs that belonged to Mary Todd Lincoln.

“This significant contribution to our Lincoln collection is deeply personal. The LMU collection includes many personal treasures of the entire Lincoln family and these additions certainly enhance our view of Mary Todd Lincoln,” LMU President B. James Dawson said. “LMU is fortunate to have alumni like Randy Bumgardner who not only epitomize her mission, but also continue to contribute to her success.”

The handkerchiefs were among personal effects from the wife of 16th President of the United States that were recently sold at auction. While her husband was in office, Mary Todd Lincoln was known to indulge in shopping trips to New York and Philadelphia for personal items and to furnish the White House. Historians often note the large debts Mary Todd Lincoln was left with following her husband’s assassination. Much of that debt is attributed to her shopping habits.

Bumgardner acquired the “ML” monogrammed handkerchiefs in a lot that included around a dozen handkerchiefs. The pair received by the ALLM included a basic white cloth monogrammed with white letters and a more delicate white cloth embellished with light blue embroidery and white letters. Both will be put on display in the museum’s galleries following cataloging.

Bumgardner, a 1983 graduate who worked in the ALLM as a student, also brought the Museum’s collection of presidential signatures current with a hand signed copy of the February 12, 2013, State of the Union Address to the 113th Congress. President Obama signed a bound copy of his address while after a special request from Bumgardner. In his role as manager of Blair House, the President’s Guest House, Bumgardner has put his degree in history and museum studies from LMU to good use as he rolls out the red carpet for world leaders, diplomats and even royalty from around the globe.

Admission to the ALLM is $4 for adults, $2 for children and includes entrance to the galleries. Admission is free for LMU employees and students with their University ID. For more information regarding the ALLM, contact Program and Tourism Director Carol Campbell at 423.869.6439.

The Abraham Lincoln Library and Museum is located on the historic campus of Lincoln Memorial University in Harrogate, Tennessee. Housing one of the top five Lincoln and Civil War private collections in the world, the Museum is open Monday-Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday from noon to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. For more information about this and other programs at the Abraham Lincoln Library and Museum, call 423-869-6235.

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