Pragmatic. It’s not a particularly exciting nor inspiring word, but, time and again, it’s the word I come back to when describing Abraham Lincoln and all he accomplished as president. Lincoln had very strong values and ideals, but he balanced his vision for the country with what he could do, bound by the U.S. Constitution and his oath of office, by the nation’s circumstances in the midst of Civil War, and by political alliances and public support he needed to achieve his most basic responsibility — maintaining the fragile Union. In my time here, I’ve heard all the complaints and all the praise typically showered upon Lincoln. It’s not uncommon for younger visitors to express disdain that Lincoln compromised on his ideals. And yet, that’s exactly what our politicians must do time and again, if they’re to get things done. We can and should expect very different behavior from individuals serving as elected officials and individuals serving as activists. That’s not to say one cannot turn into the other, but their mandates are fundamentally different. An activist should push the envelope and continually hold peoples’ feet to the fire. We ask our elected officials to find compromise in the name of the greatest benefit to the people. After all President Lincoln was pragmatic about his roles and his goals. He acted on slavery in measured steps, not in a single, dramatic event.
Our work often occurs in measured steps as well, though the goals are markedly different. In approaching preservation as an ongoing process, we are ensuring this authentic place, this home for brave ideas, remains available to the public year-round for reflection, education, and action. Recent events have underscored the need for continued education about our nation’s history in general and about Lincoln and the Civil War in particular. We are as committed as ever to providing new scholarship and innovative educational programs. I’m proud to be a part of a team that works very hard and strives for excellence in all we do. That commitment of not only our current staff and board, but of friends, volunteers — including former coworkers — and partners was on full display earlier this month at our annual Bourbon & Bluegrass preservation party. We were thrilled that the event sold out in only 3 days after the member pre-sale back in March. Thank you to all who came to rest, relax, and support the Cottage on the first sunny day we had in over a week. So much of our work is intensely serious — as it should be. Yet it’s important for us to find the lighter moments, as even Lincoln was able to do here in the darkest days. Having an event that so joyfully celebrates place, community, and craft, all while providing critical dollars for our preservation work is something we appreciate being able to do.
Thanks to everyone who helped make our third annual Bourbon & Bluegrass festival a success! This year we hosted over 600 people–the biggest to date–to sip, lounge, and listen to bluegrass on Lincoln’s lawn. Thanks to you, we raised nearly $40,000.
Special thanks to Petworth Citizen for providing the bartenders, Right Proper Brewing Company for the beer, Woodford Reserve for the bourbon, Whole Foods Markets for the desserts, Sugarplum tents for the tent donation, By&By and Justin Trawick and The Common Good for providing the tunes. For photos of the day’s fun, click here.
Miss out on your tickets this year? Want to skip the wait next year? When you sign up as a $100 Team Lincoln Member, you can enjoy an exclusive Bourbon & Bluegrass ticket pre-sale, two days before the tickets go on sale to the public.
And that’s not the only perk. $100 Team Lincoln members also receive:
In 1862, Mary Lincoln wrote to a friend about the Lincolns upcoming move to the Soldiers’ Home. In honor of this letter, 155 years ago this week, we’re reprinting an article by PLC Executive Assistant Zach Klitzman.
WHEN: Monday, May 29
WREATH LAYING CEREMONY AT CEMETERY
10:00 am. FREE. Meet at bandstand adjacent to Cottage at 9:30 am.
10:45 am and 12:30 pm. FREE. Meet at bandstand adjacent to Cottage at 10:15 am and 12:00 pm. Tours last approximately 30-45 minutes.
For more information on the program, and to reserve a spot on the tour, CLICK HERE.
Mark your calendars for June 8th! To celebrate the 24-hour day of online giving, we’ll be competing to win various prizes throughout the day and will participate in a special evening of giving for local businesses at Petworth Citizen. Stay tuned for more details on the event, click here for more details on how you can help, starting with giving today.
President Lincoln’s Cottage has been nominated for both Best Outdoor Event Space and Best Venue for Small Gatherings through Unique Venues. Help us claim the top spot! Vote by June 30th, and add why the Cottage is your number one pick. VOTE NOW.
Thank you for your support!
In the spirit (pun intended) of our Bourbon & Bluegrass festival, we’ve welcomed a new addition to our Museum Store: Good/Bad idea shot glasses. It’s a good idea to purchase this set of Made in America shot glasses, it’s a bad idea to miss out on a great gift. Stop by in person (anytime from 9:30am to 4:30pm in the Visitor Education Center) or call 202-829-0436.
For the month of May, we brought it back to the man himself. We asked staff, and even posed the question on social media: If you could describe Lincoln in only one word, what would it be, and why? For the answers and explanations, click here. Spoiler: No one on staff said “honest.”
On Tuesday, May 23, continuing in the spirit of Lincoln’s 1864 Act to Encourage Immigration, President Lincoln’s Cottage hosted a Children’s Citizenship Ceremony in partnership with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). We hosted 21 children, ages 4-14 from 13 countries including Belgium, Bolivia, Egypt, Ethiopia, Germany, India, Iraq, Italy, Pakistan, Peru, Sierra Leone, South Korea, and Vietnam.
It’s officially wedding season at President Lincoln’s Cottage! Most weekends from May to August are buzzing with people hosting their event in a unique, historic space. In honor of wedding season, we wanted to feature a lovely couple who recently said “I Do” at the Cottage on April 29, 2017: Jamila and Doug Gleason. Check out their thoughts on their Cottage nuptials:
“What does it mean to get married at President Lincoln’s Cottage? For students of history, from 3 to 90 years old, it meant perfection. We dined under his magnolia tree, played checkers on the Cottage’s checkerboard, and waited for the ceremony to begin in a special dressing room. During the cocktail hour, we received guests in the home where President Lincoln penned ideas for the Emancipation Proclamation. Our wedding day was special, magical, historic. Our guests were awestruck by the beauty and significance of the surroundings; we were all deeply humbled to celebrate such a special occasion in such a special place. We knew from the moment we found it that the Cottage was the right place for our wedding. The staff, including the Events Coordinator, are warm, enthusiastic, attentive, and have an extraordinary command of Cottage history. Our only regret is that our wedding day is over, but we look forward to attending the many incredible programs and events at the Cottage in the future.”
Support our educational programs, preservation efforts and public events by making a contribution to President Lincoln’s Cottage. Donate online today.