January 2017 Newsletter


Erin Directors Photo

Dear Friends,

This year marks the 175th anniversary of construction beginning on President Lincoln’s Cottage. The original owner, George Washington Riggs, who sold his estate to the Federal Government in 1851, had no way of knowing what would become of this place — nor the nation — just a decade later. He could never have predicted that this place would become the cradle of the Emancipation Proclamation. And yet it came to be. He could never have known that Lincoln’s experience here during the Civil War would result, nearly 150 years later, in this place becoming a National Monument — a concept that didn’t even exist then — and opening to the public as a museum. Yet here we are. It’s a small reminder that our past informs our present, but our future remains unwritten.

Being open to understanding the past and present changes how we operate in the here and now, from the choices we make as an organization, such as our cocoa matting campaign, to those we make as individuals. We know that understanding matters to our visitors, readers, and friends, and remain committed to sharing new scholarship and perspectives on all our tours and in programs such as Cottage Conversations and the Lincoln Ideas Forum. In addition, this month we’re excited to share another article by Jason Silverman, a member of the Cottage’s Scholarly Advisory Group and author of Lincoln and the Immigrant. I’m sure you’ll enjoy this article just as much as the last one.

Indeed, one of the great joys of studying Lincoln is that it seems there is always more to discover in ways that can morph our view of ideas he had and decisions he made that still impact our lives today. And while he couldn’t foresee the future, he at least appreciated that “the struggle of today, is not altogether for today — it is for a vast future also.”

Thank you for caring about the past — and the future,



On January 13, President Lincoln’s Cottage was thrilled to host a Cuban delegation on trafficking in persons–including Director Bilateral Issues Yuri Ariel Gala Lopez of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Directorate General for the United States–as well as representatives from the State Department’s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons.

Did you know that January is National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention month? President Lincoln’s Cottage and its youth education program, Students Opposing Slavery, are dedicated to continuing Lincoln’s unfinished work and fight for freedom. President Obama published the Presidential Proclamation late in December, and if you’ve been following our social media accounts, you’ll notice we’ve been joining the discussion with both Homeland Security’s Blue Campaign and the State Department’s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons’ #EndTrafficking campaign. We’ve been sharing pieces from our What I Would Miss campaign as well as our award-winning Can You Walk Away? exhibit to help raise awareness of the red flags, and what to do once they’ve been spotted.

Here are a few ways to participate:

  • Spread the word: Follow @LincolnsCottage and @StudentsOpposingSlavery on Facebook and Twitter, share our posts or tag your own using #EndTrafficking #ActAgainstTrafficking
  • Donate: In the spirit of Lincoln’s opposition to slavery, the Cottage is continuing our crowdfunding campaign to replace the cocoa matting with a certified slavery-free carpet. And we’re almost there! Help us make this a reality by donating today.
  • Get involved: Know anyone interested in getting involved with Students Opposing Slavery? The application for the 2017 International Summit, which will be June 26-30, will be available in late January. Click here to stay up to date on Students Opposing Slavery, and to be notified as soon as the application is posted. 
  • Shop smart: Read this month’s staff spotlight where we asked staff “how do you fight modern slavery?” It’s full of smart shopping tips and resources to make sure you’re aware about where your goods are coming from.

A Most Unlikely Friendship: Lincoln and Matias Romero

Carte de visite of Matias Romero presented to the United States government in 1863

Lincoln’s close relationship with Matias Romero, a Mexican politician and diplomat who served three times as Secretary of Finance and twice as ambassador of Mexico to the United States during the 19th century, was a most unlikely friendship indeed. To read more about their unique friendship, and “the day when [Romero] sat with one of the ‘greatest men [he] ever knew,’ President Abraham Lincoln,” click here.








At President Lincoln’s Cottage, Winter and Spring 2017 are full of events. Mark your calendars!


On Friday, February 24th at 1:30 PM, join President Lincoln’s Cottage for the annual Black History Month Commemoration Program at the Armed Forces Retirement Home, featuring Cosby Hunt. Mr. Hunt is the Senior Teaching & Learning Officer at Center for Inspired Teaching, and is also the course creator and instructor for Real World History.

CLICK HERE for more information and to register for this free program.


On Thursday, April 13th, we’ll be hosting the 2017 Lincoln Ideas Forum. Stay tuned for event and speaker details.


On Thursday, April 20th, join us as author Jonathan White and Michael Bishop of the George Washington University’s National Churchill Library, discuss White’s book, Midnight in America: Darkness, Sleep, and Dreams During the Civil War.

CLICK HERE for more info on the program and how to RSVP.


Stay tuned for details and information about tickets.

PRESERVATION UPDATE: Unveiling Lincoln Era Floorboards

The hand is on the original 1848 flooring, below the layer from the 1880s.

Continuing with the steps towards restoring the Cottage floors, over the holiday break preservationists refinished the floors in the Library and the Drawing Room. Since the cocoa matting was removed — the preliminary step to replacing it fully with a slavery-free carpet — visitors have been able to walk on the 1880s flooring. Sections of the 1880s flooring were removed recently to make repairs before the entire floor in the library is refinished–unveiling the original 1848 floorboards, the ones that Lincoln walked upon, for the first time. For more details on the renovation, read Senior Preservationist Jeff Larry’s full description here.

 STAFF SPOTLIGHT: How do you fight modern slavery?

Check out our staff’s reflections and tips on how to make the fight against modern slavery personal.



Meet Lanaya, our intern and newest team Lincoln addition. Currently a junior at Benjamin Banneker Academic High School, Lanaya will be working with the Programs department at President Lincoln’s Cottage this spring, focusing on Students Opposing Slavery. This internship is part of her requirements for her participation with Real World History from the Center for Inspired Teaching.

“I made a big decision to join Real World History because of my lack of confidence in my knowledge of history. I personally like to take on challenges, and I signed up for Real World History,” she explains. “So far, I’ve learned that President Lincoln’s Cottage teaches the history of Abraham Lincoln and his journey throughout his personal and presidential life. When I learned that President Lincoln’s Cottage is making a difference by spreading awareness about modern slavery, I wanted to intern here. President Lincoln’s Cottage is giving me an opportunity to be a voice for my peers and help to end modern slavery.”

Beyond the Cottage, Lanaya can be found on the courts playing basketball and softball, learning about cars or anything pertaining to math.



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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