The New-York Historical Society’s newest exhibit, “Lincoln and the Jews,” is an exploration of Lincoln’s personal relationships with his Jewish contemporaries and his impact on nineteenth-century Jewish life in America. The New York Times covered the exhibit in a recent article:
“Lincoln played an important role in turning Jews from outsiders in America to insiders,” said Jonathan D. Sarna, a historian at Brandeis University and the author, with Mr. Shapell, of the new, separately published book “Lincoln and the Jews,” which inspired the show. “It’s a subject that has really been overlooked.”
Lincoln’s lifetime coincided with a dramatic increase in America’s Jewish population, which grew from about 3,000 in 1809, the year of his birth, to roughly 150,000 in 1860. Growing up in the Midwest, he probably encountered few or no Jews in person until he became a young man. But at a time when anti-Semitism and nativism ran high, the show notes, there is no evidence of Lincoln harboring any animus toward Jews.
The U.S. Capitol will host a celebration of the 150th anniversary of Lincoln’s second inaugural on March 4. Stephen Lang will deliver the same speech Lincoln wrote for his 1865 swearing-in, and the event will also feature remarks from Congressman Ray LaHood, historian Edna Greene Medford, and prominent Lincoln authority Frank J. Williams.
Oak Ridge Cemetery is repairing the receiving vault that housed the remains of Abraham Lincoln and his son Willie before their relocation to the Lincoln Tomb. The restoration should be completed in time for the 150th anniversary commemoration of Lincoln’s burial, which will also include
A California store owner recently bought a supposed Lincoln document for $50 from a man who walked in off the street. It turns out the document is authentic, and worth anywhere between $20,000 and $50,000.
Researchers working on the Papers of Abraham Lincoln project have found two new Lincoln letters at the University of Alabama:
The first is a letter to Lincoln’s former secretary of war, Simon Cameron, concerning treason cases against prominent Baltimore officials in 1863. The second concerns the use of several thousand Enfield muskets captured from British ships trying to run blockades into the Confederacy in 1862.
“It is amazing that in the 21st century, new Lincoln materials are still being found,” Professor Charles Summersell of the University of Illinois Springfield said in a statement. “Once again, the relentlessly diligent researchers for the Invaluable Papers of Abraham Lincoln have discovered previously unknown material on our sixteenth president.”
Experts have confirmed that handwriting in an Illinois library’s copy of Types of Mankind is that of the Great Emancipator. The book is a lengthy justification of racism based on the notion that different races constitute separate species.
Lincoln made a notation inside the book with the name and place of residence of its owner, a fellow attorney named Clifton Moore, from whom he probably borrowed it to study his opposition’s arguments in preparation for a legal case or political debate.
An excavation in Bloomington, IL has uncovered traces of a courthouse where Lincoln practiced. Archaeologists are digging at the site before construction begins on a project for the McLean County Museum of History.
Producer Chris Ryder is working with the Lincoln Monument Association to film a documentary on Lincoln’s tomb to coincide with the 150th anniversary of the president’s death.
You can help fund the project by donating through Indiegogo; a contribution of $25 will get you a copy of the finished film.
An Illinois man named David Kloke is commemorating the sesquicentennial of Lincoln’s assassination by building a full-scale replica of the president’s funeral train car. He hopes to recreate part of the 1865 funeral train’s journey, followed by an educational tour with stops across the country. You can learn more at the project’s official website.
In his latest project, The Address, the acclaimed filmmaker focuses on Lincoln’s most famous speech and the efforts of a group of young students to memorize and recite it. Burns recently talked to National Geographic about the documentary, which premieres April 15 on PBS.