Lost Lincoln document discovered at Pa. college

A certificate signed by Abraham Lincoln is displayed in the Lycoming College archives in Williamsport, Pa.

Ralph Wilson

In losing a president, Lycoming College found a piece of its history.

Retiring President James Douthat was cleaning out a closet in his office last week when he stumbled on a rather uncommon historical document that had been lost for years — a certificate signed by President Abraham Lincoln in 1863 that named the college’s founder a Civil War chaplain.

Displayed inside a slightly worn black frame, the certificate itself appears to be in good condition. Lincoln’s neat signature is clearly visible, just above an ornate, patriotic-themed imprint at the bottom of the commission certificate for Methodist clergy Benjamin Crever.

Douthat was clearing out boxes from the top shelf when he noticed what he initially thought might be a black-framed access panel — the kind to get to interior plumbing.

“When I took it down, of course I recognized Lincoln’s signature immediately.”