Richard H. Stewart collection of Abraham Lincoln material

Biographical and Historical Notes

Native Delawarean Richard H. Stewart (1936-2013) was an avid student of history and collector of Civil War and Abraham Lincoln artifacts and memorabilia.

Stewart was born in New Castle in 1936, where he attended P.S. DuPont High School. He graduated from the University of Delaware in 1957 and was a member of the Kappa Alpha fraternity. Following his service in the United States Army, Stewart attended Boston University for his graduate studies. Stewart married Joan Bernard in 1959, with whom he had two children, Susan and Richard, Jr.

Stewart worked with the E.I. du Pont de Nemours Company for thirty-two years, retiring as an advertising director. His served as a lay minister at the Wilmington, Delaware, Emmanuel Episcopal Church and was a longtime member of the Masons. He was also very active in local theatre.

Stewart’s son, Richard Jr., died in the September 11, 2001, attack on the World Trade Center. He was a bond trader for Cantor Fitzgerald. Stewart and his son shared a love of history and the Civil War.

After 2001, the Stewarts relocated to Wilmington, North Carolina. Stewart became a charter member of the Richard Hansell Stewart, Jr., American Legion Post 543 in St. James, North Carolina, named in honor of his son.


Obituary of Richard Hansell Stewart, The News Journal , June 2, 2013. (accessed July 28, 2014).

Nunn, Cece. "Victim lives on in memories and a name." Star News, September 8, 2011. (accessed July 28, 2014).

Scope and Content Note

The Richard H. Stewart collection of Abraham Lincoln material comprises artifacts, prints, postcards, stamps, coins, clippings, publications, notes and research, and an 1861 appointment signed by Lincoln. The collection documents the nation’s mourning of Lincoln through contemporary and commemorative ephemera, artifacts, and prints and reflects the collecting and research pursuits of native Delawarean, University of Delaware alumnus, and DuPont executive Richard H. Stewart (1936-2013).

The collection contains a variety of Lincolniana dating between 1861 and 2009. Richard H. Stewart was a careful collector and often kept documentation about the provenance of his items. For example, the two original Currier & Ives lithographs in the collection had once been owned by renowned Lincoln collector Oliver R. Barrett.

Another highlight of the collection is an 1861 appointment signed by Lincoln and Secretary of State William Seward. The document appoints Joseph M. Sterrett to the position of deputy postmaster of Erie, Pennsylvania. Also included is a pair of Civil War-era handcuffs known as Phelps handcuffs. Orson C. Phelps patented his handcuffs in 1866, though this pair does not bear the typical patent stamp. The collection contains two reproductions of the April 15, 1865, edition of The New York Herald, which provided one of the most well known accounts of Lincoln's assassination.