Over the past week we have grappled with tremendous loss, from dozens of fellow citizens killed in two mass shootings in our country, to the death of Pulitzer Prize winning author Toni Morrison. I think of “Lincoln’s Heaven” in Song of Solomon and promises made that go unfulfilled.
One of the most memorable quotes of President Lincoln while he was living here comes from an exchange with former Wisconsin Governor Alexander Randall and Judge Joseph Mills. When they came to see the president on August 19, 1864, the Civil War was in its fourth year, Washington, DC had recently suffered a direct attack by Confederate General Jubal Early’s forces, and Lincoln’s reelection prospects looked grim. And it showed. Governor Randall was so affected by Lincoln’s appearance that he urged him to go away for a few weeks to reinvigorate himself. Lincoln replied that it would do him no good, explaining, “I cannot fly from my thoughts — my solicitude for this great country follows me wherever I go.” His words underscore that while this place may have offered a change of scenery and healthier climate for the Lincoln family, it was by no means an escape from reality and responsibility. Being here was a way to immerse himself in the big questions facing the nation. That reality is represented throughout our work, from tough visitor questions about Lincoln that we explore in our new podcast, to a display of Lincoln’s well-worn carpet slippers, to us hitting the road to exchange history and share our call to continue Lincoln’s fight for freedom. August signals both the waning days of summer and the preparations for all that comes with the fall season. I hope this issue provides you with both welcome opportunities to recharge your batteries and to dig deeper into big questions, whether you live nearby or are at a remove. Thank you for reading.
Lincoln’s Original Slippers Return!
When asked to picture Abraham Lincoln, you likely envision his usual public image defined by his signature stovepipe hat. At the Cottage, though, we get to know more about Lincoln’s private, more casual nature and style. Lincoln’s meetings at the Cottage were often impromptu and informal, and Lincoln was known to greet guests while wearing carpet slippers. We are happy to share that an original pair of Lincoln’s own slippers is back on public display at President Lincoln’s Cottage now until January 31, 2020! These slippers are on loan to us from the Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Library & Museum in Fremont, Ohio. Click here for more information about Lincoln’s slippers.
And if you’re wondering where you can pick up a pair of your own, you’re in luck! President Lincoln’s Cottage is honored to team up with Stubbs and Wootton, purveyors of luxury slippers, to recreate his famous carpet slippers. The iconic Goat is embroidered over velvet, linen or flax fabric, and soon will be available through our museum store!
If you’d like to be notified when slipper sales are live, send us an email at email@example.com with the subject “Slipper Sales!”
One of our favorite fall events, Homecoming, is coming up in just a few weeks! Lincoln is ready to run! Are you?
To help you get ready for our Freedom 5K, part of our annual Homecoming event, we put together a few different Lincoln themed running routes you can try in preparation for the big race! These runs vary in length and difficulty and you should always use your own best judgement when choosing a running route based on your own fitness level, time of day and year, traffic, and other safety factors. Feel free to share your own favorite running routes or pictures from your Lincoln-themed runs with us on social media!
Read more here about all of the different ways you can celebrate President Lincoln while getting ready for the Freedom 5k! And don’t forget to register for the race here. The Homecoming fun will continue after the race with our free Family Day!
*We are NOT fitness experts, medical professionals, or even serious runners. Please consult an actual 5k training plan if you aren’t accustomed to running this distance and looking for advice on how to get started.*
WHEN: Monday, August 19, 10:15am-11:30am
Join our new initiative for our youngest learners, Social Studies, which provides programming that encourages social and emotional intelligence through games, interactive play, and stories. Social Studies programming provides the space and opportunity for early learners to experiment and practice these social and emotional skills to become future leaders.
Lincoln expressed his feelings just like you. When he heard a good joke, he laughed. When we saw something sad, he cried. Sometimes Lincoln felt overwhelmed and needed to take a break. Join President Lincoln’s Cottage in an exploration of your feelings through storytelling and a hands-on activity. This program will include a story reading, a hands-on activity and mirror play, a sing along, and a craft project. Tickets are $5 per child. Click here to learn more and to register!
WHEN: Saturday, September 21
During the Civil War, the Lincoln family called the Cottage home. This year we welcome everyone back “home” to join us for a full day of racing and family fun activities at Homecoming! We’ll start the day off with our Freedom 5k and then continue the fun with Family Day including: Civil War encampments, pony rides, arts and crafts, picnics, story hour, and more!
We hope we’ll see you there!
We have two Cottage Conversations coming up this fall! Check them out below and be sure to register through the links provided!
Back by popular demand, and drawing inspiration from Abraham Lincoln’s legendary humor and self-deprecation, President Lincoln’s Cottage and The DC Improv are again partnering to present Two Faces Comedy, the first comedy series to transform Lincoln’s living room into a comedy den.
This will be a series of three comedy nights: Tuesday, September 24th, Monday, October 21st, & Wednesday, November 13th. Stay tuned for details. All shows begin at 7:30pm. Click here to register
We’ve recently started a preservation project to restore the pathways surrounding the Cottage. The cobblestone gutters around the entrance circle are a reproduction of the Lincoln era gutters, the remnants of which are underneath the reproduction gutter. As part of the project, all of the loose and missing stones in the gutter were reinstalled by a mason from Federal Masonry. Above you can see before, during, and after shots of one small area of repair. This project is supported by the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, which receives support from the National Endowment for the Arts.
The Making of Q & Abe
This summer we released the first-ever episode of our podcast Q & Abe! Executive Administrator & Editor Zach Klitzman sat down with Joan Cummins, Programs Assistant and co-producer of Q & Abe to talk about how the idea for this new podcast came about, the work that goes on behind each episode, and why the podcast is an important part of the mission of President Lincoln’s Cottage. Read Zach’s interview with Joan here.
The second episode of the podcast investigated another real questions from visitors to the Cottage — “Is it ok to call her Aunt Mary?” Visitors have asked about Mary Williams, a black woman who worked at the Cottage as a cook. Today we released bonus content related to that episode .
News and Awards
- CityLab included the Cottage in a story about how cities are handling a boom in tourism
- The Potomac Local shared a story about a local teacher’s recent experience with the Cottage’s Civil War Washington professional development opportunity for teachers
- Sites of Conscience gave a shout out to our Q&Abe podcast on twitter
- The DC Line included the History at Sunset event hosted by the Civil War Defenses of Washington at the Cottage in their Weekend Line Up
Support our educational programs, preservation efforts and public events by making a contribution to President Lincoln’s Cottage. Donate online today.