A bust of President Abraham Lincoln and a plaque with Gettysburg’s address have been removed from a… Cornell University Library.
“Somebody complained and it was gone,” Cornell biology professor Randy Wayne told College Fix about the matter.
The bust of Lincoln and the bronzed plaque of the former president’s historic address dating from 1863 have been in the Kroch Library since 2013, which houses the university’s Department of Rare and Manuscript Collections.
Wayne said he noticed the display was missing a few weeks ago and asked librarians what had happened. He was told the screen had been removed after some sort of complaint, but gave no further details, according to the College Fix.
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The communications team for Cornell told Fox News Digital that the screen was a “temporary exhibit” installed to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Gettysburg Address in 2013.
“The bust of President Lincoln was part of a temporary exhibit to mark the 150th anniversary of the Gettysburg Address. The bust was on display in the Rare and Manuscript Collections from 2013 to 2021,” Rebecca Valli, media relations director at Cornell, told reporters. University, to Fox News. Digital on Tuesday.
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“Cornell proudly owns one of five known copies of the Gettysburg Address in Lincoln’s hand. The original is safely stored, with a digital facsimile on permanent display. Additionally, five Lincoln electronic exhibits are available to view online 24/7,” added Get to it.
Valli did not respond to Fox News Digital’s request for comment on Wayne’s claim that librarians had informed him that the screen had been removed following a complaint. Fox News also contacted the school’s library to inquire about his claim, but received no response.
Photos of where the display was once kept show that the area is now bare.
Before Valli gave the media a comment about the screen, Wayne had emailed Cornell president Martha E. Pollack on June 23, asking if she was aware of the screen removal and why, according to email correspondence reviewed by Fox News Digital. The email went unanswered until Tuesday, when an employee of Pollack’s office replied that “President Pollack is not usually notified of changes to library exhibits, which I believe is decided by library staff.”
Wayne said he believes no one “has the full story right now” about the deleted screen, stressing the importance the Gettysburg address has for he and his students†
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“When I bring my students to RMC every semester, I have one of them read the original in Lincoln’s hand. I’m in tears when I hear a student read those words,” Wayne told Fox News Digital.
“The Gettysburg Address is an incredible speech,” he added in a commentary on the College Fix. “We have a handwritten copy in Lincoln’s hand. It is known as the Bancroft copy. It comes with an envelope signed by Lincoln (using his postage right), and a letter to Bancroft, thanking him for asking for a copy of the address for a book being sold for charity.”
Exhibits, statues and names in honor of historical American figures have come under increasing scrutiny, particularly during the protests and riots of the summer of 2020.
Lincoln was one of the targets. Activists in Washington, DC, argued that a statue of Lincoln — funded in part by formerly enslaved Americans — of him freeing a slave wearing a loincloth and kneeling at his feet is being removed because it was humiliating. A replica of the statue in Boston was successfully removed in 2020 due to its depiction of the freed slave.