Abraham Lincoln Exhibit

Feb 5, 2015


The sesquicentennial of Abraham Lincoln's assassination and funeral will be commemorated by an exhibition in the Rare Book & Manuscript Library of the University of Illinois Library at Urbana-Champaign.  "'A Nation in Tears': 150 Years after Lincoln's Death" will extend from February 12, Lincoln's 206th birthday, to May 4, the day of his burial in 1865.

The exhibition will include a copy of the initial printing of Lincoln's Second Inaugural Address on March 4, 1865; an uncut copy of the New York Herald of April 15, the first paper to report the President's assassination; an oversize lithograph of Lincoln on his deathbed surrounded by numerous dignitaries; and issues of the National Police Gazette which featured vignettes of John Wilkes Booth, the assassin, and his co-conspirators.

”A Nation in Tears” will also include a bust of Lincoln, plaster casts of his hands, and a piece of the blood-stained pillow slip on which Lincoln's head was laid.  In addition, the exhibition will display photographs of ceremonies in cities along the route of the funeral train from Washington, D.C., to Springfield, Illinois, as well as sermons, hymns, and artifacts which document the nation's mourning.

The exhibition will open at 3:00 p.m. on February 11 at a meeting of the No. 44 Society, the book collecting club of Champaign-Urbana, in the Rare Book & Manuscript Library (346 Library, 1408 W. Gregory Dr., Urbana).  The meeting is open to the public.

As items in the exhibition are mainly drawn from the Library's Illinois History and Lincoln Collections, John Hoffmann, the librarian of that unit, will talk briefly about the spectrum of objects on display. "No one in the land of Lincoln knows this topic better than scholar and librarian John Hoffmann," said Valerie Hotchkiss, director of the Rare Book & Manuscript Library. “We are honored to host this thoughtful and insightful exhibition."

On May 1, at 3:00 p.m. Richard E. Hart, past president of the Abraham Lincoln Association, will close the exhibition with a description of the final ceremonies in Springfield: "'Bear Him Gently to His Rest': The Funeral of Abraham Lincoln." The public is invited to this special event which will also take place in The Rare Book & Manuscript Library.

For more information about the exhibit, visit www.library.illinois.edu/rbx.

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