GREENTOWN, Ind. (AP) - Dwight Schaaf loves Abraham Lincoln.
When Schaaf was 14 years old, his grandmother gave him a scrapbook she’d been compiling for years, filled with pictures and news articles related to all things Lincoln, including Lincoln’s campaign, presidency, wife, assassination and legacy. That scrapbook sparked a lifelong fascination with the 16th president of the United States.
“He was basically one of the greatest, most intellectual men to walk the earth, I think,” he said.
Schaaf, now 64, has amassed a wide range of Lincoln-related items, everything from serious to whimsical, and some of his items date back to the late 1800s. His collection went on display at the Greentown Historical Society on Saturday, and it will be open to the public for the next several months.
Schaaf is used to housing his collection in a room at his house, but the Greentown Historical Society provided a larger space for him to spread out and display his collection, highlighting different items, such as two large busts of Lincoln, a mosaic puzzle with hundreds of Civil War images, hand-carved wooden reliefs and pipes, and an array of other objects.
“I don’t know what set it off,” Schaaf said. “I’m not a scholar, but with a collection you get a few pieces and it just keeps growing.”
Schaaf’s collection also includes 95 books, ranging from non-fiction books about Lincoln’s presidency, life and assassination to “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.” He said he hasn’t read that particular book, but he had to include it in his collection because it’s about Lincoln.
“I’m keeping Abe alive,” he said. “And I never want people to forget how great a man he was. We wouldn’t be in this predicament we’re in if he was our president.”
Schaaf isn’t looking for any items in particular to add to his collection, but he said his family and friends will give him Lincoln items for birthdays and holidays, and he said he’s constantly scanning eBay and antique stores to find new, interesting things to display.
The exhibit was initially scheduled to be at the Greentown Historical Society until June, but Schaaf said he was asked to keep the exhibit there until October so school groups could visit during the remainder of the spring semester and again in the fall.
Though the exhibit is set up in a small space, Schaaf said there is a holding room next to the exhibit where he plans to show a video on Lincoln. Large school groups could break up into smaller groups to visit the exhibit and see the video in turns, he said.
The Greentown Historical Society is located at 103 East Main Street in Greentown. For more information, visit greentownhistory.org.
Information from: Kokomo Tribune, https://www.ktonline.com
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