Art: Lincoln in the Library

One of the proudest possessions in Dayton's public library museum has been a rare portrait of Abraham Lincoln without his beard. A small, clearly drawn painting, it was by a local artist named Charles W. Nickum, who, so the story went, got Lincoln to pose for him one day on a swing through Ohio in the late 1850s. A committee of Dayton's citizens gave Artist Nickum's widow $1,000 for it in 1928, and the museum has swellingly displayed it for the edification of Lincoln fans ever since.

But last week Dayton fervently wished it had been a little less enthusiastic. A commercial...

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