Oregon

Oregon Historical Society Collection Opens Window On American Presidents

OPB | July 4, 2013 1:19 p.m. | Updated: July 8, 2013 12:14 p.m. | Portland

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A letter from Thomas Jefferson and a pay stub belonging to Meriwether Lewis are among the items on display now at the Oregon Historical Society. The museum collection highlights a broad range of presidential history.

Uniforms worn by Dwight Eisenhower, and a letter perforated by an assasin's bullet in the pocket of Theodore Roosevelt are all part of the collection.

Uniforms worn by Dwight Eisenhower, and a letter perforated by an assasin's bullet in the pocket of Theodore Roosevelt are all part of the collection.

April Baer / Oregon Public Broadcasting

The collection spans key moments in U.S. history, with rare copies of the Declaration of Independence, a Ford’s Theater program signed by John Wilkes Booth, and personal items from the Kennedy White House.

OHS Director Kerry Tymchuk explains they’re part of a collection gathered by real estate magnate Pete Mark.

“For 50 years this has been his hobby, collecting artifacts and documents, related to history and Presidents, specializing in America’s most iconic presidents,” Tymchuk said.

Some items, like a letter from Thomas Jefferson, give a glimpse of presidential personalities, like what the third president really thought of modeling for a marble bust.

“Dear Sir, If I could refuse you anything, it would be your request of the 9th, to submit to the operation of having my bust taken. Of all operations, it is the most revolting,” the letter reads.

April Baer / Oregon Public Broadcasting

Tymchuk says these items are only part of the collection, and may be the first of several exhibitions.

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