A small college in Pennsylvania knew they had a piece of Abraham Lincoln in their possession -- they just didn’t know where. Last week, when retiring President James Douthat from Lycoming College was cleaning out his closet, he came across a historical document signed by President Abraham Lincoln in 1863.
"It was [initially] discovered a while ago," Associate Dean and Library Director Janet McNeil Hurlbert told the Associated Press. "And then it got ... put someplace else for a while."
The document is a certificate signed by Lincoln that named the college’s founder a Civil War chaplain. Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton also signed the certificate, which has been appraised at $6,000.
Douthat found the framed document on the top shelf of his office closet while clearing out boxes. He was retiring after 24 years.
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"When I took it down, of course I recognized Lincoln's signature immediately," he told AP.
The found document comes days after the discovery of Lincoln’s math homework was confirmed at Harvard University, AP reports. Two math notebook pages have been in at Houghton Library’s archives since 1954. They were newly authenticated by math professors Nerida Ellerton and Ken Clements from Illinois State University.
"If 100 dollars in one year gain 3.5 dollars interest, what sum will gain $38.50 cents in one year and a quarter?" one problem reads.
The papers belong to a previously known math workbook of Lincoln’s -- it is the oldest known Lincoln manuscript, AP reports.
Based on the math problems’ level of difficulty, professors estimate it was written when Lincoln was 17 years old. They also say it shines a light on the 16th president’s level of education.
"Most people say he went to school for anything between three months and nine months" over the course of his life, Clements said. "We think he went to school [up to] two years."