Abraham Lincoln: Self-Made in America” was created to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the birth of America’s greatest president by the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum. The “We, the People” program of the National Endowment for the Humanities, a federal agency, provided major financial support for the exhibition and accompanying programs. The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation and the History Channel provided additional financial and in-kind support.
The exhibit covers Lincoln’s childhood, his self-education, his careers as a surveyor and lawyer, his family life, the Lincoln-Douglas Debates, the 1860 Presidential election, the Civil War, the 13th Amendment, the Emancipation Proclamation, his assassination, and other important periods and events in his life. The reproduction artifacts on display, all modeled from originals in the Presidential Library and Museum, include: Lincoln’s favorite books; his son Tad’s toy cannon; the nameplate from his Springfield home; his stovepipe hat, which he used like a briefcase to hold important papers; a Presidential campaign banner; an axe that Lincoln used to chop wood; the bloody gloves found in Lincoln’s pocket the night of his assassination; and many other unique and interesting items.
The traveling learning station exhibit is being displayed in 40 public libraries and historical societies over the next two years. It was one of just two “We, the People” programs for the Lincoln Bicentennial funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities. The exhibit will travel the nation from September 2008 through September 2010.
Abraham Lincoln, the son of a subsistence farmer, came of age during a dramatic transformation in America’s economic life. Like many of his contemporaries, he embraced a new emphasis on personal initiative, risk-taking, and ambition. He was only 22 when he left his family home to find his own way. After enduring a series of personal failures in business, he became a prosperous attorney, devoted husband and father, successful politician, and, finally, the 16th President of the United States. While Lincoln benefited from close association with a number of powerful friends, his own talents and ambitions combined with hard work and a dedication to self-improvement to produce a unique American specimen - the self-made man.
The American Library Association of Chicago and the Tribeca Film Institute of New York made strong contributions to the exhibit programming.
Our thanks to the Lesher Foundation for major funding of the Danville Exhibit.
For more information about the “Abraham Lincoln: Self-Made in America” exhibit, visit www.PresidentLincoln.org.