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Main Library 800 Vine Street Cincinnati, Ohio 45202–2009

Cincinnati, Ohio Permit No. 3221


Lincoln flag donated in 1933 to the Library by Hanselman family President-elect Abraham Lincoln was traveling through Cincinnati Feb. 12, 1861—his 52nd birthday—on his way to Washington, D.C. and his inauguration as the 16th president of the United States. A large crowd of Cincinnatians came out to see the native Kentuckian and wish him well. The family of Charles Hanselman claim that when an American flag fell from his horsedrawn carriage as it passed by Sixth Street and Freeman Avenue, it was trampled by some of the horses. Four-year-old Charles, who was at the parade with his parents, dashed into the street to retrieve it. Decades later in 1933, Charles’ sister Alice Isabel Hanselman donated the flag to the Library where it would hang in the board room of Old Main until the Library moved into its current location. The 15–by 21–inch American flag has 34 stars in its canton to represent the new state of Kansas, recognized Jan. 31, 1861. It had a number of tears and its silk was threadbare in some places when conservation began in 2008. The Library Foundation contributed more than $2,000 to have it restored so it could be included in a 2009 display of Lincoln artifacts at the Library commemorating President Lincoln’s 200th birthday. The work done by Jane Hammond included cleaning the surface, applying a silk crepe lined gauze underlay, reattaching the fringe with silk thread, mounting the flag in an archival frame, and creating a treatment report documenting the current flag condition. The hole was left in the flag since it is believed to have been caused by a horse’s hoof. And while we may never know whether or not this flag was actually on Lincoln’s carriage, we do know this flag is from the right time period and the newspaper account and letter from the donor are consistent. To see more artifacts from President Lincoln and the Civil War era, go to or stop by the Joseph S. Stern, Jr. Cincinnati Room at the Main Library.

ALL LIBR ARY LOCATIONS WILL BE CLOSED Thursday, Nov. 23, in observance of the Thanksgiving Day holiday; Sunday, Dec. 24, and Monday, Dec. 25, for the Christmas Eve and Christmas Day holidays; and Monday, Jan. 1, in observance of the New Years’ Day holiday.

Winter 2018 links  
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