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Long-lost document signed by Abraham Lincoln found at Pennsylvania college

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
June 10th, 2013
Catholic Online (

As he was cleaning out his closet at Lycoming College, retiring president James Douthat came across an aged and yellow document. The 150-year-old document was a certificate signed by none other our sixteenth president, Abraham Lincoln. A remarkable find, Douthat said that he was aware that the document was lying around somewhere in the Pennsylvania college - but that he had never really looked for it.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Douthat was pulling out what he thought was an access panel to plumbing when he discovered the framed certificate. Dated 1863, the document named the college's founder a Civil War chaplain.

Douthat said that he was vaguely familiar with the history. "In the back of my mind, I remember hearing about it," Douthat told the Associated Press.

The document is in surprisingly good condition. Douthat said that he "recognized Lincoln's signature immediately."

According to autograph brokerage the Raab Collection, a similar certificate signed by Lincoln recently sold for $11,000. A preliminary appraisal on the particular certificate found at Lycoming revealed that it is worth about half that amount.

For the college, the real value the certificate holds is its connection with the founder of the college, Benjamin Crever.

John Brinsfield, a U.S. Army Chaplain Corps historian emeritus, says that Crever served at a military hospital between 1862 and 1865, when the battles of Antietam and Gettysburg occurred.

College officials plan to store the document in the college archives until they decide where it should be permanently placed. Associate dean and library director Janet McNeil Hurlbert says that from this point forward, "We will know exactly where it will be from now on."

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