Big news for all of the New Haven history buffs out there – the Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library (the rare book library and literary archive of the Yale University Library) just purchased one of the largest private collections of 19th-century American photography, the Meserve-Kunhardt Collection! The majority of the collection features items from Abraham Lincoln including prints, books, pamphlets, maps and more. The last time New Haven got a visit from Abe Lincoln was in 1860 during his presidential campaign, so we’re definitely looking forward to this historic return!

Jock Reynolds, director of the Yale University Art Gallery, was quoted in the New Haven Register saying, “The opportunities presented to research, exhibit, publish, and teach with this vast trove of historical images are boundless, and will surely attract legions of students, faculty members, artists, and public scholars to engage actively with these materials for many generations to come.”

James M. Cornelius, curator of the Lincoln Collection at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, told the New York Times, “It is of enormous value… Without question, it has the largest holdings of images of Lincoln and his circle that we know of.”

Add this win to the list of reasons why residents are so proud of New Haven’s past, present and future! Another fun fact: the Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library is in the process of moving their office and books right across the street from Winchester Lofts at 344 Winchester Avenue! It doesn’t sound like the entire collection will be housed at the rare books library, but rather divided accordingly between Yale’s libraries and art galleries.

For those who are just as anxious as we are, make sure to tune into “Living With Lincoln,” a documentary about the Kunhardt family (the family that collected the artifacts) and the collection, broadcasting on HBO April 13.