November 2017 Newsletter
I am thankful that Abraham Lincoln had the opportunity to serve as President of the United States. That might seem like an obvious statement, and yet his leadership and the cause of the Civil War continue to be questioned today. It was on this day, November 21, in 1860 that a crowd saw President-elect Abraham Lincoln off at the train station on his way to Chicago to meet his future Vice President, before continuing on to Washington, DC. Tensions were already mounting over Abraham Lincoln winning the election — South Carolina seceded one month later — but no one predicted the horrors that lay ahead for our country. Just four years later, on this same day, the famous “Bixby letter” was written, a piece that has come to symbolize both the extreme loss suffered by families and the nation as a whole, but also Lincoln’s leadership and character. Even if authorship of the letter is debated by some scholars, what it contains is plausibly Lincoln. He understood the terrible, human cost of war. He also understood the struggle was about something far greater than individuals — our experiment in democracy. He said this succinctly in a message to Congress on July 4, 1861:
“Our popular government has often been called an experiment. Two points in it our people have already settled – the successful establishing and the successful administering of it. One still remains – its successful maintenance against a formidable internal attempt to overthrow it. It is now for them to demonstrate to the world that those who can fairly carry an election can also suppress a rebellion; that ballots are the rightful and peaceful successors of bullets; and that when ballots have fairly and constitutionally decided, there can be no successful appeal back to bullets; that there can be no successful appeal except to ballots themselves, at succeeding elections. Such will be a great lesson of peace; teaching men that what they cannot take by an election neither can they take by a war; teaching all the folly of being the beginners of a war.”
If every time we didn’t like the outcome of an election, we seceded or took up arms — as the Confederacy did — the country would have ceased to exist long ago, undermining if not killing the notion that any democracy could succeed. Abraham Lincoln knew he owed his presidency to the democracy, and was determined to preserve it so that others could enjoy the same hope and opportunity he had, and continue to improve up on it. I think we can all agree there is still much to improve in our country. But our nation still exists as a democracy that can be improved, thanks in no small part to Abraham Lincoln’s leadership. For that and so much else, I’m thankful..
A VERY LINCOLN THANKSGIVING
Here at the Cottage, we tend to focus on Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, but since Thanksgiving is upon us, we thought we would highlight another one of Lincoln’s proclamations: the Proclamation of Thanksgiving. On October 3, 1863, Abraham Lincoln invited the nation to “set apart and observe the last Thursday of November…as a day of Thanksgiving.” Prior to this moment, the country celebrated Thanksgiving differently in each state. “In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity,” Lincoln saw it fit to nationalize the holiday in the spirit of unity.
Museum Program Associate Taylor Horst curated a list of Lincoln dishes to help inspire your own Thanksgiving spread. Click here for the full article.
Warning: do not read on a empty stomach.
You can also read our article on the creation of the Proclamation of Thanksgiving that Senior Executive Assistant Zach Klitzman wrote back in 2011. Click here for the full article.
SUPPORT PRESIDENT LINCOLN’S COTTAGE THIS HOLIDAY SEASON:
‘Tis the season for giving, and whether it’s visiting, shopping, clicking, or sipping, at President Lincoln’s Cottage we have a variety of ways for you to show your support:
MUSEUM STORE SUNDAY- NOVEMBER 26
In honor of Museum Store Sunday, on Sunday, 11/26 shoppers receive 10% off all purchases made in the store or ordered over the phone (not including ticket sales). Pop in anytime from 10:30 AM to 4:30 PM. We have everything for the Lincoln lover in your life, plus books, jewelry, cards, and more. Adorn your tree with our unique Cottage ornaments, sold exclusively at President Lincoln’s Cottage. All items are ethically sourced and fair trade.
CYBER MONDAY- NOVEMBER 27
While you’re filling your Cyber Monday cart with deals, don’t forget to log in to our Amazon Smile account — that way Amazon donates towards President Lincoln’s Cottage while you do your shopping. It’s easy: when you sign up for free at Amazon Smile, designate the Cottage as your charity, then Amazon will donate 0.5% of the purchase value to the Cottage. Click here to sign up.
GIVING TUESDAY- NOVEMBER 28
Join us again for our annual 24-hour day of online giving! You can donate online anytime between 12 AM and 11:59 PM on Tuesday, 11/28 or stop by Steel Plate in Brookland, anytime between 5-9 PM for a happy hour benefiting the Cottage. There will be drink deals, prizes, and 10% of the night’s sales will be donated to the Cottage.
Want to keep it simple? You can either write us a check at the address below or click here to give anytime until December 31st. All donations are tax deductible and go towards our award-winning education programs and preservation efforts.
Please mail checks to:
President Lincoln’s Cottage
ATTN: Nora Cobo
3700 N. Capitol Street, NW #558
Washington, D.C. 20011
STAFF SPOTLIGHT: Where’s The Strangest Place You’ve Spotted Lincoln?
It’s been a while since we posed an entire question to the staff, and things just got a little strange. Sure, we’ve all seen Lincoln depicted on the silver screen, engraved on a copper coin, and sitting over the reflecting pool, but we wanted to know: where’s the strangest place you’ve spotted Lincoln? Read on for descriptions–and photo proof!–of the oddest places we’ve stumbled upon the 16th president.
TEAM LINCOLN: Ted Bonanno
A few months ago, 76-year old Ted Bonanno walked into the Visitor Education Center and proclaimed he hadn’t been back here for sixty years, and he had footage to prove it. He showed staff vintage footage of President Lincoln’s Cottage and the Soldiers’ Home grounds from the 1940s, when he and his family would picnic on the lawn and listen to bands in the bandstand. He even worked the paper route on the grounds, delivering newspapers to veterans. Ted is the little boy in the footage, around two years old. Click here for his reflections on how the neighborhood has changed, and other memories of his time at the Old Soldiers’ Home.
PRESERVATION UPDATE: Replacing Trim and Shutters
Recently, our Senior Preservationist Jeff Larry reinstalled shutters that had been damaged back in 2015. A severe windstorm caused both shutters to come loose from their tiebacks and bang against the roughcast stucco so severely that numerous “louvers” were broken, rails and stiles were dented, and the window trim was torn from its frame. So it took two years to finally return these back to the Cottage.
CONGRATULATIONS TO ALL THE LOVELY COUPLES OF 2017
“The Cottage’s mission makes getting married here not only feel like a dream, but also an honor.” – Marie
Congratulations to all of the lovely couples who said “I do” at President Lincoln’s Cottage this year!
Looking to host your wedding here? Contact our award-winning Events Department at Events@lincolncottage.org for packages and more information.
NEWS and AWARDS
- Executive Director Erin Carlson Mast was quoted in the blog recap of the Center for Nonprofit Advancement’s 38th Annual Celebration held on October 31, 2017.
- The New York Times quoted Erin Carlson Mast in their October story, Trump’s Not Alone. A Lincoln Condolence Letter Stirred Controversy, Too.
Support our educational programs, preservation efforts and public events by making a contribution to President Lincoln’s Cottage. Donate online today.