Words from these pages are etched on the walls of the Lincoln Memorial:
My paramount object is to save the Union and is not either to save or destroy slavery...
The historian Phillip Shaw Paludan wrote about the importance of the letter;
If there is one document that is more often quoted than any other in the argument, debate, or conversation about Lincoln it is the letter that Lincoln wrote on August 22, 1862 to Horace Greeley.
Why is this American treasure at America's oldest art museum, the Wadsworth Atheneum and not a historical museum or library so that it is accessible for researchers?
The owner of the letter, Dr. James Clarke Welling, wrote about his famous "Greeley Letter" in the 1880 North American Review article, Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation: its Origin, Motive, and Legal Effects that this letter 'appeared for the first time in the National Intelligencer on August 23, 1862 and the letter came into my hands from the fact I was one of the editors.' Welling also included a facsimile 'for editorial curiosity'.
Today the letter resides in perpetuity, after being donated in March 1923 by Miss Elizabeth L. Dixon, on behalf of the Welling family and brother in-law, Dr. James Clarke Welling.
Miss Dixon's father, Sen James Dixon was a life member of this revered institution. Since inception in the 1840s, the Wadsworth Atheneum served the community, as both public art museum, historical society and public library.
This act of stewardship was the beginning of a steady stream of philanthropic gifts by the Dixon-Welling family, continually gifting their historical relics to public institutions in Hartford, Connecticut- The Hartford Public library and The Connecticut Historical Society and Museum.
Items from their family collection of Civil War relics are featured on:
E- A r c h i v e s D i g i C o l l e c t i o n