A piano often heard by Abraham Lincoln, and possibly even played at his wedding, needs your help to be fully restored.
A crowdfunding campaign hopes to raise the final $7,500 needed to bring a possibly 180-year piano back to playable condition.
The piano was owned by Lincoln’s in-laws, Ninian and Elizabeth Edwards. Elizabeth was the sister of Mary Todd Lincoln, and considering how often Abe was a guest at the Edwards home, this piano would’ve been a familiar sight and sound to him.
“He would’ve heard it when he was over there courting Mary Todd,” said Erika Holst, curator of collections for the Springfield Art Association. “It was reported to have played the wedding march at the Lincolns’ wedding, and he would’ve continued to hear it when he went to visit his in-laws as a married man.”
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Holst says the piano likely stayed in the Edwards family until the early 20th century. The state of Illinois bought it in 1922, and put it on view at the New Salem State Historic Site. It was later transferred to be used at the Lincoln Home National Historic Site, but was kept in storage since it wasn’t played by the Lincolns.
The years haven’t been kind, as Holst says the piano hasn’t been tuned in decades, and suffered damage thanks to moths. A Champaign company, The Piano People, is handling the restoration work.
Once restored to full playability, Holst says it will be played once again at a February 6 concert at the Edwards Place home in Springfield. For those who can’t attend in person, the concert will be recorded and released as an album.