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Posts Tagged ‘Brown University’

Dear daydream believers,

You might have heard, say here, or here, or (shout-out to my adviser) here, that 2009 marks the bicentennial of the birth of Abraham Lincoln. And what better way to celebrate his memory than with Brown University’s enormous collection of “Lincolniana“—though I keep reading it as “Lincolnalia,”  suggesting both paraphernalia and a Victorian sexual pathology.

As it turns the 21st century has no monopoly on crass commercialization. See for instance this truly incredible advertisement from 1870, with the “Emancipation Proclamation” rolled up like cigarette paper, with the American flag waving above it like a trail of smoke.

Brown University, Center for Digital Initiatives

Yes America, you are free at last to smoke. And check out (in 3-D!!!) this delightfully kitschy 1950s Lincoln jug.

More genuinely moving is this beautiful 1904 silhouette portrait of the Great Emancipator beneath a tree.

Brown University, Center for Digital Initiatives

Though I have to say, my favorite portrayal of Lincoln appears in Behind the Scenes, the (mostly true?) memoir written by his Mary Todd Lincoln’s black dressmaker Elizabeth Keckley. As she tells it, President Abe was extremely fond of animals, especially his pet goats. “My pets recognize me. How earnestly they look!”  Read it on Google if you haven’t already!

Earnestly yours,

Stephen

P.S. Did you know you can become a fan of the “Young Abraham Lincoln” on Facebook? Find out what Joshua Speed saw in him!

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