December 2016 Newsletter


Erin Directors Photo

Dear Friends,

It’s stunning to think of all that has changed in 2016. We initiated the new year by officially spinning off and becoming an independent, 501(c)(3) public charity, a profoundly gratifying moment that was several years in the making. Since independence, we’ve only deepened our commitment to our vision and mission with results that exceeded our expectations. We’ve collaborated with local artists, entrepreneurs, NGOs, and businesses; we’ve received several national awards for excellence in history and education; the State Department presented us with a Presidential Medal for our Students Opposing Slavery program; and most recently, we sent representatives to an anti-slavery forum in India, which led to the opportunity to bring the history and Lincoln’s fight for freedom to school children half-way around the world. Firmly rooted in scholarship, our programs continue to grow and have deeper impact in the communities we serve, in Washington, D.C., around the nation, and throughout the rest of the world. That remains important work. History and historical literacy are essential to understanding how we got here as a people and where we need to go to continue to make progress, together, in the name of shared ideals. We share the ideal of liberty, a word that, as Lincoln himself pointed out, was interpreted in such diametrically opposed ways in this country that the friction ignited the Civil War. As a people, we will always have different interpretations of our founding documents and all that they contain. That’s who we are. That’s what we do. Together and with your support, we can continue to ensure the Cottage is a place for all to gain new insights and new ideas about how we move forward, together.

Thanks for your support,


PRESIDENT LINCOLN’S COTTAGE ABROAD: Laureates and Leaders for Children Summit


His Holiness the Dalai Lama and fellow Nobel Laureate Kailash Satyarthi with a PLC Board Member, staff members, Students Opposing Slavery participants, and other young activists in New Delhi, India, December 10, 2016 

Just over a week ago, President Lincoln’s Cottage staff and participants from its award winning Students Opposing Slavery (SOS) program attended the Laureates and Leaders for Children Summit in New Delhi, India. They were honored to be invited and sponsored by Dr. Jean Baderschneider, Delegate to the Summit, President Lincoln’s Cottage Board Member and long-time supporter of the Cottage. There, they had the opportunity to meet with people from all over the world committed to harnessing their moral, intellectual and political authority for the benefit of the world’s children. Click here to read more about the Summit, to learn how PLC staff and SOS participants helped to bring Lincoln’s Cottage to India, and to view photos from the trip.


On the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, Ambassador Luis CdeBaca, formerly Ambassador-at-Large from the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, said of the Cottage and our work:


This holiday season, help us build Lincoln Cottage’s, over and over again, around the world.

Consider making a donation today. 


Whether you gave on Giving Tuesday, attended our Holiday Open House, or ordered an Emancipation Libation — a Cottage-inspired cocktail — at Timber Pizza, thank you for your continued support. In 2016 we were lucky to start and grow relationships with friends new and old, local businesses, and community partners. Now that’s something to cheers.


PRESERVATION UPDATE: Cocoa matting removal, wooden floor restoration


The deteriorating, wall-to-wall cocoa matting in the drawing room and library was removed this week to reveal the unfinished flooring beneath. While we still haven’t raised the necessary funds (you can help by donating here), this is the preliminary step to eventually replacing the matting with a permanent, certified, slavery-free carpet.

The new matting will not be wall to wall so the newly exposed wood floor will be refinished to match the rest of the wood flooring in the house.  According to Gail Winkler in her book Floor Coverings for Historic Buildings, grass matting was a popular choice as a seasonal or year-round flooring and could be tacked directly to wood floors or as a summer treatment over wall-to-wall carpeting. For more on the carpeting, read Senior Preservationist Jeff Larry’s full description here.

 STAFF SPOTLIGHT: Reflecting on our favorite 2016 Cottage moments


To wrap up 2016 — and what a year it has been! — this month staff reflect and share their favorite Cottage moments from the past year. Read the reflections here.



SOS participants Jessica Seidenberg and Courtney McCrimmon with the Presidential Award.

SOS participants Jessica Seidenberg (left) and Courtney McCrimmon with the Presidential Award at the Cottage Award Celebration, December 16, 2016.

Jessica Seidenberg has been a participant in Students Opposing Slavery since 2014 and co-lead her high school’s SOS chapter for several years where she organized school-wide initiatives to raise awareness of modern day slavery among her classmates. She explains that “President Lincoln’s Cottage taught me and many of my fellow SOS participants that President Lincoln’s legacy is one that we must continue to work for,” but also that, regarding the cocoa matting, “historical accuracy and ethical practice can clash.” Read Jessica’s full reflection here.


Braddock Elementary located in Fairfax County, Virginia, and recipient of our scholarship program, sent thank yous and feedback about how the Lincoln’s Hat Program affected their students. See more examples here.


  • WTOP included President Lincoln’s Cottage as a must-see on their Where to take your family when they visit DC list.
  • BBC Scotland: On January 25, 2017, “Burns Night,” a program to celebrate the birthday of Scottish poet Robert Burns, President Lincoln’s Cottage staff members will be included in the documentary, Burns in the USA, touching upon the connection between Burns and Lincoln.


Support our educational programs, preservation efforts and public events by making a contribution to President Lincoln’s Cottage. Donate online today.


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