Tom Lingenfelter of Doylestown is wildly patriotic, an outlook he gained from childhood exposure to comic books and movies where good guys wore white hats. His interest in the U.S. sparked an lifetime of collecting historical artifacts. He’s now amassed so many, writes Bridget Wingert for the Bucks County Herald, he seeks a permanent home for them.
Lingenfelter’s past includes a wide array of roles: athlete, public school teacher, political wannabe. He’s now president of the Heritage Collectors’ Society, Inc., in Doylestown.
He claims an innate ability to spot significant objects and recognize their value even from afar.
“I would see a pile of letters with the date 1776 on top. It was almost a religious experience. I had no knowledge of those letters but I knew I had to buy them,” he said.
That thirst has made him the owner of the one-true copy of the Declaration of Independence.
Also in his possession are:
- A handwritten letter of peace conditions for ending the Revolutionary War
- A Ben Franklin letter relating to the first fire company in America
- The Wright Brothers’ financial records
- A pistol from Buffalo Bill Cody
- A picture George Washington drew at 10 years old
All he needs now is a big space — a former church, a closed bank — in which to display it.
He had an offer from a site in Washington, D.C. But his connection to Bucks County runs so deep, he wants to house his treasures here.
More on history buff Tom Lingenfelter is at the Bucks County Herald.