Nov 16, 2013 1:47 PM by KATC
As Tuesday's 150th anniversary of the Gettysburg Address nears, octogenarians' memories are one of the only links to a children's coin drive in the 1940s that brought a manuscript of Abraham Lincoln's famous speech to Illinois, the president's home state.
Records show that in October 1943, Illinois Library trustee Oliver Barrett suggested students help raise $60,000 to buy a copy of the address written in Lincoln's hand from a New York manuscript dealer.
Children were asked to give 5 cents apiece. They raised more than $50,000, and Chicago department store heir Marshall Field III donated the rest.
Illinois residents, including Gene Rubley of Springfield, say the pennies were a big sacrifice because money was scarce during wartime. But Rubley says students were excited to be part of the historic effort.