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Legacies: Collecting America's History at the Smithsonian, by Steven Lubar and Kathleen M. Kendrick
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Bronze life mask of Abraham Lincoln, by Augustus Saint-Gaudens, 1886Bronze life mask of Abraham Lincoln, by Augustus Saint-Gaudens, 1886

In 1860, at the time of Lincoln's nomination as the Republican presidential candidate, plaster castings were made of his hands and face. In 1886 a group of artists and intellectuals who wished to see Lincoln's memory preserved commissioned Augustus Saint-Gaudens, a prominent American sculptor, to produce bronze replicas based on the earlier plaster castings. In offering a set to the Smithsonian, the group asked that they be treated not "as mere curiosities" but rather as "most valuable objects."

See also: Presidential Memorabilia

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