Hidden Gems in the Museum
The "Kaplan Lincoln"
"There's a lot going on in the Military Room," says museum curator, Joe Laurenza. He's not wrong. There's so much to look at in the Military Room, you might have overlooked a small portrait. Unless you look closely, you might not noticed it, because the subject doesn't even look familiar. But it would be a mistake to overlook this 1840's daguerreotype (it's a copy.)
What makes this an item of interest? For one thing, the original daguerreotype was found by Albert Kaplan of Gouverneur and it is the earliest know picture of Abraham Lincoln.
Many authorities of 19th Century photography, backed by forensic scientists, are convinced it is truly Abe Lincoln. It is known as the "Kaplan Lincoln" and the original is valued at $11,000,000.00. That's eleven million dollars. Now THAT's interesting.
Albert Kaplan was the son of Sol and Esther Kaplan, owners of Kaplan Department Store in Gouverneur. Albert purchased the daguerreotype from a gallery in New York in 1977. He was convinced, after years of personal research, that the young man pictured in the daguerreotype was Abraham Lincoln. He sought out forensic specialists in Paris to find out more. Read more about the Kaplans here.
You can learn a lot more about this item and Albert Kaplan's discovery in the Special Report on the Kaplan Lincoln from the Journal of Forensic Identification.
The Kaplan Lincoln is just one of the hanging displays in the Military Room.
Curator Joe Laurenza explains the connection between the Kaplan Lincoln and our town.