Gilding the lily A page of the earliest known draft of...


December 17, 1992

Gilding the lily A page of the earliest known draft of Abraham Lincoln's famous "house divided" speech sold for a record $1.54 million at Sotheby's auction house yesterday. The draft of the speech, believed to have been written in 1857 or 1858, contains the lines: "A house divided against itself can not stand. I believe this government can not endure permanently half slave, and half free."

The document was bought by New York businessmen Louis Lehrman and Richard Gilder, who have the Gilder-Lehrman collection on deposit at the J. Pierpoint Morgan Library in New York. The Lincoln document will be added to the collection and displayed at the museum.

Canadian Santa gives frosty reply

Vancouver hairdresser Wayne Bailey, 31, wrote to Santa Claus two weeks ago at the North Pole, Canada, asking for peace on Earth -- and was shocked at the reply. At the bottom of Santa's return letter was a handwritten note that read: "Don't you think you're a little old?" The word "old" was underlined, he said.

Canada Post Corp., the country's mail service, blamed the gaffe on the misguided humor of one of Santa's 10,000 postal elves who had become "giddy" with the excitement of Christmas. "Canada Post receives letters from many older children or adults. vTC We do not discriminate on the grounds of age," said spokeswoman Audra Witiuk.

Reagan will receive Medal of Freedom

President Bush will present the nation's highest civilian honor to his predecessor, Ronald Reagan, a week before Bill Clinton's inauguration, the White House said yesterday. Mr. Reagan will receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom in an East Room ceremony Jan. 13.

He will be the 301st recipient of the honor.

Mr. Bush has bestowed the distinction on 36 other notables, including Britain's Margaret Thatcher, Poland's Lech Walesa and former United Nations Secretary-General Javier Perez de Cuellar.

Orchestra to get credit from Jackson

The Cleveland Orchestra will get credit on Michael Jackson's "Dangerous" album for 67 seconds of its performance of Beethoven's Symphony No. 9, under terms of a court settlement. The orchestra sued Mr. Jackson and his company, MJJ Productions, because it was not credited. Also named in the suit were Mr. Jackson's record label, Epic Records and Epic's parent company, Sony Music Entertainment Inc.

Details of the agreement, entered into U.S. District Court records Tuesday, were not disclosed.

A choral snippet from the orchestra's recording is heard at the beginning of Mr. Jackson's song "Will You Be There."

Club manager cancels Ice-T rap concert

An Ice-T gig set for Tuesday in Pittsburgh has been canceled because police officers refused to provide security. It was a repeat of what happened in the Philadelphia area three weeks ago when the rapper's concert was scratched after off-duty police declined to provide security.

The problem is Ice-T's number "Cop Killer," about an angry young black man's desire to kill an officer. Robin Fernandez, manager of Pittsburgh's Metropol night club, said, "This show is not important enough to jeopardize my relationship with the city, the city police or the FOP [Fraternal Order of Police]."


Newspaper columnist William Safire is 63. Penthouse publisher Robert Guccione is 62. Singer-actor Tommy Steele is 56. Comedian Eugene Levy is 46.

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