Near the end of his life, Lincoln called upon the country to “strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation’s wounds.” As our speakers at the second annual Lincoln Ideas Forum shared, Lincoln clearly had an eye fixed on the future while displaying a deep appreciation for the past. His actions continue to influence our lives today in sometimes surprising ways, and we’re still learning lessons from the successes and failures of the Civil War and Reconstruction. Throughout the program, I was reminded of one of my favorite Lincoln quotes, “The struggle of today is not altogether for today, it is for a vast future also.”
That sentiment from Lincoln continually inspires us to keep this place for all as a Home for Brave Ideas. You will find that effort evident throughout this issue. Our feature article, by Burrus Carnahan, looks at the Lincoln War Department issuing rules of war, including the treatment of POWs, which later influenced Geneva Conventions. We’re also pleased to offer poetry by Sarah Browning; provide details about can’t-miss programs this month; reveal images of our latest preservation project involving a 19th century water tower across from the Cottage; share our favorite reads; and highlight recent press—including how the Cottage ranks amongst a top 10 list of places for history buffs.
I also must thank you for the words of support many of you have sent us in response to the news that President Lincoln’s Cottage is now an independent 501(c)(3) public charity. Some of you have also had questions about how that impacts your membership and donations. We’ve provided a handy chart in this issue to help explain the impact.
Last but not least, I’m delighted to share that our Students Opposing Slavery program was awarded an American Alliance of Museums EdCom Award for Innovative Programming this month. This is a tremendous national honor in our field, and is a testament to the efforts of staff and student alike to take up Lincoln’s unfinished work.
On January 1, 2016, President Lincoln’s Cottage officially became an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. While we remain affiliated with the National Trust for Historic Preservation, our operations and governance are wholly separate including membership.
FIND OUT MORE about the change in President Lincoln’s Cottage membership.
Issued in April 1863 the U.S. Army issued General Orders No. 100. Known as “the Lieber Code” this order regulated treatment of prisoners of war as well as general conduct in wartime. Fundamental to the Lieber Code was that the violence of war should be directed only at valid military objectives, and that acts of revenge or cruelty, intended merely to increase the suffering of enemy soldiers or civilians, were prohibited and must be punished. Read more from Burrus Carnahan on the creation of the Lieber Code and how it continues to have tremendous influence on the law of war.
Meanwhile, Callie Hawkins and Curtis Harris provide recent blog posts on interpreting slavery at historic sites as well as the 150th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1866.
Stay up-to-date on our latest programs by visiting our Public Programs page.
Last week installation of safety anchors and venting system began on the historic water tower adjacent to President Lincoln’s Cottage. Find out more about the work as well as the history of the tower from our Preservation Manager, Jeff Larry.
Poet Sarah Browning provides us a moving piece of poetry describing the life of Harriet Tubman, Abraham Lincoln’s commute from the Soldiers’ Home to the White House, and the neighborhoods of Petworth and Park View in Washington, DC.
On Friday, May 6, DC Mayor Muriel Bowser and the DC Statehood Commission unveiled a draft constitution at President Lincoln’s Cottage for the proposed state of New Columbia.
READ MORE ABOUT THE EVENT
President Lincoln was known to be an avid lover of books. Although we’ve added radio, movies, and the internet to the mix since 1860, the Cottage is still filled with bookworms. Naturally, all of us who work at the Cottage have read many books about Lincoln, the Civil War, and the Cottage, so we are thrilled to share our favorites with you all in this issue’s Staff Spotlight.
CHECK OUT OUR FAVORITE BOOKS
Support our educational programs, preservation efforts and public events by making a contribution to President Lincoln’s Cottage. Donate online today.