Louise Taper owns one of most extensive collections of manuscripts and artifacts belonging to Abraham Lincoln, his wife Mary Todd, and their ancestors and descendants. The collection covers nearly every phase of Lincoln’s life from his earliest known manuscript, the first page of his “sum book”, through the blood-stained gloves and handkerchief that he had with him at Ford’s Theatre on the night of his assassination.
Mrs. Taper was the originator of the acclaimed exhibition “‘The Last Best Hope of Earth’: Abraham Lincoln and the Promise of America” which was at the Huntington Library from 1993-94 and at the Chicago Historical Society from 1996-97. Nearly one half of the pieces exhibited were from her collection.
She served as historical consultant for the television mini-series “Sandburg’s Lincoln,” which starred Hal Holbrook and was produced by David Wolper.
She also owns the largest number of extant letters and artifacts that belonged to John Wilkes Booth, Lincoln’s assassin, and the Booth family. She has created a major theater collection with them as her focus. She is co-author of the book “Right or Wrong, God Judge Me”: The Writings of John Wilkes Booth, published by the University of Illinois Press.
Mrs. Taper serves on the boards of the Abraham Lincoln Association, the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum Foundation, the Lincoln Forum, the Lincoln Legal Papers, and the Lincoln Prize at Gettysburg College. She is also a trustee of Lincoln College.
Appointed by the minority leader of the House of Representatives.