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Welcome to Stories from the Vault the official podcast of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum. Each month we’ll be bringing you stories and insights about the artifacts, events, and life of our nation’s sixteenth President.

The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum houses more than 52,000 Abraham Lincoln artifacts in our collection, and as a result we cannot always display these items. The Stories from the Vault podcast and companion YouTube video series allow us to bring these artifacts to the public while still safely housing the items in our collection.


  • Episode 26, Abraham Lincoln’s Stovepipe Hat: Abraham Lincoln’s Hat is possibly the most recognizable piece of Presidential clothing ever. This month, Dr. James Cornelius sits down with us to discuss this fantastic piece of American History. Listen to the Stream/Download
  • Episode 25, Steven Spielberg’s “Lincoln”: We return from a brief hiatus to discuss with Dr. James Cornelius Steven Spielberg’s new movie about Abraham Lincoln entitled, “Lincoln”.  Listen to the Stream/Download
  • Episode 24, The Emancipation Proclamation: Dr. James Cornelius sits down with us once again do discuss the Emancipation Proclamation and our copy of this landmark document that will go on display September 5. We also revisit a new discovery on the Deathbed Painting of Mr. Lincoln. Listen to the Stream/Download
  • Episode 23, John Wilkes Booth’s ring: We sit down with Dr. James Cornelius for a short discussion on a ring John Wilkes Booth gave Isabel Sumner. Listen to the stream/Download
  • Episode 22, Abraham Lincoln’s relationship with his father, Thomas: This month, we sit down with Dr. Cornelius for a special Father’s Day themed episode of “SFTV” and discuss Mr. Lincoln’s role as both son to Thomas Lincoln and father to his own boys. Listen to the stream/Download
  • Episode 21, Abraham Lincoln’s last visit to his step mother: This month, we sit down with Dr. Cornelius for a special Mother’s Day themed episode of “SFTV” and discuss Mr. Lincoln’s last visit to his step mother, we answer some questions from Facebook, and debunk a “famous” Mr. Lincoln quote often attributed to him on Mother’s Day. Listen to the stream/Download
  • Episode 20, Book Discussion with author Randall Fuller: In this special episode, we present a book discussion with Randall Fuller author of the book, “From Battlefields Rising: How The Civil War Transformed American Literature”. The discussion took place April 10, 2012 in our Union Theatre. Listen to the stream/Download
  • Episode 19, The Roundtable Discussion on Mary Todd Lincoln’s Insanity Retrial (Part Two): In part two of the Roundtable Discussion, our panel focuses on the medical and legal aspects of Mary Lincoln’s first trial. Listen to the stream/Download
  • Episode 18, The Roundtable Discussion on Mary Todd Lincoln’s Insanity Trial (Part One): In this two part episode, we present the audio from the Roundtable Discussion on Mary Todd Lincoln’s Insanity Trial. Part one of the discussion focuses on the historical, cultural, and legal surroundings of Mrs. Lincoln’s original trial. Listen to the stream/Download
  • Episode 17, The Deathbed Painting of Abraham Lincoln: This month on Stories from the Vault we sit down with Dr. James Cornelius to discuss a painting of Abraham Lincoln on his deathbed. You may view the painting in our companion video series. Listen to the stream/Download
  • Episode 16, Mary Lincoln’s Jewelry: Once again, we are joined by Dr. James Cornelius to discuss artifacts from our collection. This month, we discuss pieces of Mary Lincoln’s jewelry. You may also view the jewelry by watching our companion “Stories from the Vault” video. Mary’s jewelry will be on display this summer. Listen to the stream/Download
  • Episode 15, The 13th Amendment: This month, we speak with Dr. James Cornelius about our recently restored copy of the 13th Amendment which has been signed and dated by Abraham Lincoln. You can also view our companion “Stories from the Vault” video which shows the document. Listen to the stream/Download
  • Episode 14, The Commissioner’s Sale Document for Slaves: This month, we sit down with Dr. James Cornelius to discuss the broadside announcement for a slave auction in Mr. Lincoln’s home county in Kentucky. Listen to the stream/Download
  • Episode 13, An interview with Abraham Lincoln presenter, Fritz Klein: On this episode of Stories from the Vault, we speak with Fritz Klein who has been portraying Abraham Lincoln for over 30 years. We discuss a wide variety of topics and he delivers an amazing version of Mr. Lincoln’s Farewell Address to Springfield. Listen to the stream/Download
  • Episode 12, “Killing Lincoln” Book Discussion: On a special podcast, a panel of historians including: James Cornelius (Lincoln Curator, ALPLM), Daniel Stowell (Director and Editor, Papers of Abraham Lincoln), Ron Keller (Assistant Professor of History and Political Science, Lincoln College, and Director, Lincoln Heritage Museum), and Matthew Holden (Wepner Distinguished Professor in Political Science, University of Illinois Springfield) discuss the Bill O’Reilly/Martin Dugard book, “Killing Lincoln”. The panel is moderated by former Chicago Tribune reporter Patrick Reardon. Listen to the Stream/Download
  • Episode 11, The Law Office Clock: This month, Dr. James Cornelius discusses our Featured Artifact of the Month: The Law Office Clock. Plus, he answers questions regarding Mr. Lincoln’s voice and the soldiers who carried Mr. Lincoln to the Petersen house after he was shot. Listen to the Stream/Download
  • Episode 10, The Presidential China: We are joined, once again, by our curator Dr. James Cornelius to discuss our Featured Artifact of the Month: The Presidential China. In addition, we answer a question courtesy of Facebook regarding Mr. Lincoln’s Portfolio. Listen to the stream/Download
  • Episode 9, The Stereocards of Mr. Lincoln’s first tomb & the box at Ford’s Theatre: In addition to talking about the stereocards, we talk with Dr. Cornelius about a recent donation surrounding the receiving vault at Oak Ridge Cemetery, and a discovery made as a result of our blog. Listen to the stream/Download
  • Episode 8, The Effigy Doll of Mr. Lincoln: This month we talk with Dr. James Cornelius about our Featured Artifact of the Month: The Effigy Doll of Mr. Lincoln. We also find out which biography is Dr. Cornelius’ favorite and settle a small Bob Dylan discrepancy. Listen to the stream/Download
  • Episode 7, Mr. Lincoln’s Sum Book Page: This month we sit down with Dr. James Cornelius to discuss our Featured Artifact of the Month: Mr. Lincoln’s Sum Book Page. We also take the time to answer questions submitted via facebook. Listen to the stream/Download
  • Episode 6, An interview with Richard Hellesen: On this episode of Stories from the Vault, we sit down with playwright Richard Hellesen. We discuss his writing process, the play One Destiny and his newest work Necessary Sacrifices. Listen to the stream/Download
  • Episode 5, Mr. Lincoln’s Presidential Seal: Once again, we visit with Dr. James Cornelius about our Featured Artifact of the Month, Abraham Lincoln’s Presidential Seal. Listen to the stream/Download
  • Episode 4, Mr. Lincoln’s Promissory Note: We talk with Dr. James Cornelius about Mr. Lincoln’s Promissory Note. We also answer some of your questions submitted via facebook. Listen to the stream/Download
  • Episode 3, Mr. Lincoln’s Quill Pen: We talk with Dr. James Cornelius about our Featured Artifact of the Month, Abraham Lincoln’s Quill Pen. We also ask Dr. Cornelius about Mary Lincoln’sStrawberry dress. Dr. Cornelius also answers your questions submitted via facebook. Listen to the stream/Download
  • Episode 2, Mr. Lincoln’s Bloody Gloves: We talk with Dr. James Cornelius about our Featured Artifact of the Month: Mr. Lincoln’s Bloody Gloves. We also talk about events surrounding Mr. Lincoln’s assassination, the conspiracy surrounding the death of John Wilkes Booth, and historian Thomas Lowry. Listen to the stream/Download
  • Episode 1, Mary Lincoln’s Cameo Portraits: We talk with our curator Dr. James Cornelius about our Featured Artifact of the Month for March. We also find out the story behind the donation of a rare photo of Mr. Lincoln’s son, Willie and we answer your questions submitted online. The episode is available for download here: Stories from the Vault Episode 1