Editors' Note:

The following letters review our father's research on the two problem areas, their resolve, and his meeting with Dr. Cornelius.

All That is Excellent


  Springfield, May 2nd, 2011

  My dear Barry Bauman:  

It was a great pleasure to me, in this far out of the way place to receive your last letter. Since I last wrote you, I have been quite ill, confined to my bed, for ten wearisome days--and now I am just able, to creep about. A fearful cold, appeared to settle in my spine & I was unable to sit up, with the sharp, burning agony, in my back. (47)

The conspiracy will continue to unfold. Write me as soon as you can with more information on the two areas you referred to, and your meeting with Dr. Cornelius. I know him to be all that is excellent, gifted with a fine intellect and unerring judgment. (48)

I hope your family remain in good health. Believe me, most respectfully. (49)

  Mrs. Abraham Lincoln  





River Forest, Illinois

Dear Mary Lincoln,

  Dr. Cornelius was here yesterday. It is understandable he was quite shocked with the painting's condition. We reviewed the treatment procedures and afterward I showed him four examples, spanning a twenty-year period, of Carpenter's signature. I enclose these for your review. (50)  

Signature Detail
"Portrait of Lymon Lyon"
Lewis County Historical Society Museum
Lyons Falls, New York

Signature Detail
"Portrait of Abraham Lincoln"
The Union League Club
New York, New York

Signature Detail
"Portrait of Jenny Lind"
National Portrait Gallery
Washington, D.C.

Signature Detail, 1854
"Portrait of Franklin Pierce"
Bowdoin College
Brunswick, Maine
  As you can see, there is a uniformity within these representations: the initial capital letter "c" followed by lowercase letters; the way the "p" is made with the loop in the middle of the letter; the "t" that crosses through the vertical stroke; the strong capital "c" that begins with a slight v-shaped curl at the top of the letter; and the "n" that is drawn with not one, but two strokes. For comparison, we looked at the signature on the treated painting. I enclose a copy.  

There is no doubt; the painting's signature is spurious. Everything about it is wrong. Strange it was never mentioned in either of the restorer's letters.

Using a microscope, I then showed Dr. Cornelius that the brooch was also on top of the varnish and there were discernible strokes of something else underneath. I even showed him an image of the John Henry Brown miniature--clearly not the prototype for the painted broach. The angle of the face is different and the miniature is not in black-and-white.


John Henry Brown
"Abraham Lincoln"
National Portrait Gallery
Washington, D.C.


As we looked at the portrait on my easel, I could feel what he was thinking. There was a long silence, finally broken by his epiphanous words--"It's not Mary Lincoln,"--and my reply--"Not only is it not Mary Lincoln, it's not Francis Carpenter."

He ended his visit and agreed to contact me in a few days with his decision on how to proceed. I will let you know.


Best regards,


  Editors' Note:

We could not find a letter in which Mrs. Lincoln was informed of the curator's decision. Fortunately, we were able to retrieve a May 25, 2011, email from James Cornelius to our father. It reads, in part: "Please restore it to as original a state as you are able--to wit, with no Lincoln medallion, the original jawline and dressline, no artist signature, etc."

  Springfield, May 21, 2011  
  My very dear Friend:  

Words are powerless to express the delight I felt on hearing from you once more. You have been so frequently in my thoughts of late that I must give vent to them in words which will be but a faint expression of the love and gratitude I feel towards you. (51)

This is wonderful news. I told you Dr. Cornelius was an honest man. I am anxious to hear from you concerning the brooch. You must write me immediately upon your further work. I feel assured now, whilst this subject, is agitated, your voice & your pen will not be silent. Congratulations on your findings. Always your affectionate friend. (52)

  Mary Lincoln  


River Forest, Illinois

My dear Mrs. Lincoln,

  I very much appreciated your gracious words. The Carpenter "signature" was easily removed. A surprising reward occurred when the brooch was cleaned. There was another brooch, original to the painting and floral in design, underneath the later addition. I enclose images of this discovery.  

Before Cleaning

During Cleaning

After Cleaning

  After cleaning, the structural work was carried out, followed by the varnishing and inpainting. The conservation work has been completed. For your interest, I enclose six treatment images.  

Proper Left Hand
After Cleaning

Full View
After Cleaning


After Treatment

After Treatment

After Treatment

Full View
After Treatment

While I now understand many of the falsities surrounding the painting, I do not fully comprehend the conspiratorial evidence against Lew Bloom. Is there more you can tell me?

I trust all is well.



 Page 12



Page 1--Editors' Introduction

Page 2--You Must Not Fail Me

Page 3--An Artistic Conspiracy

Page 4--Principal Conspirator

Page 5--Co-Conspirator

Page 6--The Affidavit

Page 7--Unknowing Participants

Page 8--Accessories A, B, C, D

Page 9--Springfield

Page 10--Cleaning

Page 11--All That is Excellent

Page 12--Smoking Gun

Page 13--Judgment

Page 14--App./Acknowledgments



47. It was a great pleasure...last letter. Turner. p. 564. Letter to James Smith. 6/4/1870. Since I last wrote...in my back. Turner. p. 546. Letter to Sally Orne. 2/11/1870.

48. I know him to be all that is excellent. Turner. p. 521. Letter to Sally Orne. 11/7/1869. Gifted with a fine intellect and unerring judgment. Turner. p. 534. Letter to Sally Orne. 12/12/1869.

49. I hope your family...respectfully. Turner. p. 628. Letter to Jacob Bunn. 3/19/1877.

50. Signature examples: Mr. David Quinlan (Lynn Falls example); Ms. Cindy Lou Molnar (National Portrait Gallery example); Ms. Laura J. Latman (Bowdoin College example); and Ms. Sarah K. Cahill (The Union League Club example).

51. My very dear Friend. Turner. p. 550. Letter to Sally Orne. 2/18/1870. Words are powerless...once more. Turner. p. 519. Letter to Sally Orne. 10/18/1869. You have been so frequently...I feel towards you. Pritchard/Emerson. p. 132. Letter to Myra Bradwell. 12/1/1876.

52. I feel assured now...will not be silent. Turner. p. 191. Letter to Charles Sumner. 11/20/1864. Always your affectionate friend. Turner. p. 552. Letter to Sally Orne. 3/31/1870.




Barry Bauman Conservation
Contact: Mr. Barry Bauman
1122 N. Jackson Ave., River Forest, IL. 60305
Ph.(708)771-0382  Fax.(708)771-1532