About This Collection
In 1905, the farmstead where Abraham Lincoln was born, just outside of Hodgenville, Kentucky, was in a state of neglect and disrepair. As detailed in the February 10, 1906 edition of Collier’s, the Collier’s purchased the property with the intention of creating a park for the people of the United States “to be held forever by them as a garden spot in the nation’s history, a trysting place whence North and South, East and West may find the inspiration of national unity” in a country still deeply divided more than 40 years after the Civil War. The Lincoln Farm Association was founded to restore the property to create the park. Those who donated between 25 cents and $25 to the Lincoln Farm Association were granted honorary membership and received a certificate in the mail. Certificates displayed the name of the member, along with a photo of Abraham Lincoln, his birth cabin, and signatures from the Lincoln Farm Association Board of Trustees – including President William H. Taft, Samuel L. Clemens (who signed as Mark Twain) and other notable individuals. More background on this can be read here.
In a period of five years, mostly from 1906 to 1911, the bulk of public of donations occurred across the United States and internationally. Donations and certificates were handled in the New York City office of Lincoln Farm Association Treasurer, Clarence Mackay. Meticulous records were kept of each donation on index-sized cards, resulting in the Lincoln Farm Association Member Cards collection found here. When looking at records, the amount section typically has an alpha code. Records with “A” are believed to indicate a 25 cents donation while records with “Z” are in the $25 range.
Search for family names, hometowns, or current cities to browse donations. When possible, all records have been geocoded to street address or a city centroid.