Lawrenceville Archivist Jacqueline Haun oversees the thousands of items in the School’s archives – which one is her favorite? What’s the best concert she’s ever seen (Hint: She attended it in May with Library Director Paula Clancy!)? Find out this and more in 5 Questions 4.
What is your favorite item in the Lawrenceville Archives?
My favorite item in the Archives is a lock of Abraham Lincoln's hair in a Victorian mourning locket, which comes from the Lincolnalia collection given to the School in 1949 by Jeannette McPherson Raymond, the daughter of Head Master Simon J. McPherson. Mrs. Raymond's mother was Lucy Harmon McPherson, the daughter of Lincoln's close friend and fellow lawyer Oscar F. Harmon, who had practiced law with Lincoln in Illinois in the early days of Lincoln's career. When President Lincoln was assassinated, a lock of hair was cut from his head on his deathbed and placed (as was the tradition among Victorians) in a mourning locket. In 1896, Mrs. Lincoln's niece Julia Edwards Baker gave the locket to the Harmon family as a token of the two men's "warm and intimate friendship." Over the years, several prominent people sought to be given a strand of the lock of hair, but the only one we know to be successful was President Warren J. Harding, who wrote Mrs. McPherson a note of thanks for the gift in 1921. That note is also in the collection, along with other Lincoln and Harmon items.
What’s the best concert you’ve ever attended?
Hands down, BTS at MetLife stadium, which I attended with Library Director Paula Clancy this past spring, BOTH nights! Good concerts will put you in sync with everyone else in the audience as well as with the artists who are performing, so that you experience an almost magical/religious feeling of connection, beauty, and joy from the music. It is almost as if the performers and the audience as individuals fall away and only the music itself exists as a transcendent entity. Previous to BTS, the only artists where I experienced that level of performance magic was with the Indigo Girls in the 1990s.
What’s one talent that you’d like to have?
I know this is two, but they are related! I would love to be able to sing and to dance. I love music and enjoy singing but I do not have a naturally beautiful singing voice, and while my sense of rhythm is good, my physical coordination is terrible! I am sure both would improve with training and a lot of practice, but even so, I would be working hard just to come up to the basic skill level. If you have such talents naturally, you owe it to yourself and others to cultivate them and share them, especially for people like me who will never reach a high level no matter how hard we work!
If you had to be shipwrecked on a deserted island, but all your human needs—such as food and water—were taken care of, what two items would you want to have with you?
Something to write on and something to write with -- maybe a ream or so of paper and a box of sharpened pencils since I assume I would have no power for a laptop! I have always wanted to write fiction but never seem to have the time and energy, but I am sure I could create my own entertainment with time, imagination, and the right tools. (As a librarian, you thought I was going to name some books, didn't you? Why limit myself to two stories when my imagination can offer an unlimited number?)
If you had a choice of any super power, which would you select?
Flying. I already have this super power in my dreams and I am always disappointed to wake up and remember that in waking reality, I can no longer simply will myself into the air!
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