Tag Archives: Abraham Lincoln Library and Museum

Abraham Lincoln Library and Museum gets aniversary gift from ETF

10 Sep

The East Tennessee Foundation (ETF) has been doing good works in this region for over 25 years. Their work is executed through grants and awards to non-profit organizations in 25-counties in East Tennessee.  LMU is proud to be one of those organizations. Throughout its history, the ETF has supported LMU and the Abraham Lincoln Library and Museum with enrichment programs and by providing funds for special projects and events including the Mountain Heritage Literary Festival.

In 2011, ETF is celebrating 25 years of thoughtful giving – Neighbors caring for Neighbors. To mark the occasion and to demonstrate what the Foundation does in our 25-county service area, ETF will award 25/$2,500 grants (one $2,500 grant to one nonprofit in each of the 25 counties we serve) and one $25,000 ETF recognition endowment to a nonprofit located within our service area.

The unusual part of the 25th Anniversary Grant is that there was no application. All the recipients were evaluated and selected by the ETF staff and its board without even knowing they were under consideration.  That is what happened for the Abraham Lincoln Library and Museum. One day, they got the call that they had been selected and a few weeks later ETF Senior Vice President for Programs and Regional Development Terry Holley presented the award to Museum Director Thomas Mackie.

Holley noted in her presentation that ETF and ALLM have partnered in the past to support a variety of educational and cultural programs. The Museum is a unique treasure in this region and ETF has supported efforts to promote public awareness and appreciation of LMU’s historical legacy of documentary resources relating to Abraham Lincoln, the Civil War era and regional Appalachian history.

The overall objective of our 25th Anniversary Celebration is to bring greater awareness and understanding throughout East Tennessee of how East Tennessee Foundation works with donors and through nonprofits in the region and how each person in our service area can have a relationship with the Foundation.

The Museum  will use the grant to complete one of our public programs later this year.

Pictured during the presentation are Associate Professor of Criminal Justice Philip Supina, Administrative Assistant for the Paul V. Hamilton School of Arts and Science Laura Mackie, University Archivist Michelle Ganz, Abraham Lincoln Library and Museum Assistant Director and Curator Steven Wilson, East Tennessee Foundation Senior Vice President for Programs and Regional Development Terry Holley, Abraham Lincoln Library and Museum Director Thomas Mackie, President B. James Dawson, Assistant Vice President for Academic Affairs Evelyn Smith, Lincoln Historian and Professor of History Charles Hubbard and Vice President for Academic Affairs Clayton Hess.



What is in a name?

1 Aug

Today’s blog post was inspired by @BenjaminMerry who tweeted “Got a letter in the mail inviting me to apply to Lincoln Memorial University. We name schools after objects now?”

Okay here is a history lesson for anyone who might wonder who or what Lincoln Memorial University is named for and how the University came to be (Hint- Abraham Lincoln had a hand in our founding). Benjamin, I guess that means you.

First, I would like to note that Lincoln Memorial University is one of thousands of dots on maps across the country that bears the name of our 16th president. There are automobiles (Lincoln), toys (Lincoln Logs), cities, towns, tunnels, battleships, vessels and forts. There are Lincoln Counties in Arkansas, Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Oregon, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming. Bottom line, LMU is not original. Or is it?

General Oliver Otis Howard

Lincoln Memorial University is nestled in the heart of the Cumberland Gap, where Kentucky, Tennessee and Virginia converge.  How a college came about in this setting is a testament to President Abraham Lincoln and a group of determined visionaries near the end of the 19th century. During the Civil War this area around the Cumberland Gap remained staunchly loyal to the Federal Government. In 1863, President Abraham Lincoln met with General O.O. Howard and expressed his desire to repay that loyalty after the war. Remembering that comment, on February 12, 1897, Howard helped charter Lincoln Memorial University as a living memorial to Abraham Lincoln.  The University’s mission would be to provide educational opportunities to the then isolated citizens of Appalachia.


Courtesy of the Abraham Lincoln Library and Museum



Monuments and memorials to the slain President began popping up immediately following his assassination. And demands for a national monument were voiced well before Congress passed the first bill to provide for planning and funding for the endeavor in 1867. The initial design never gained the support needed to see it through and hope for a national memorial fell into doubt. It wasn’t until December 13, 1910, that a final bill passed. The Lincoln Memorial Commission had its first meeting the following year under President William Howard Taft.

From the time the Civil War ended to 1912 when the national monument for Lincoln got off the ground, many schools, tunnels, roads and memorials here dedicated throughout the Northern Union states. Naturally, the Southern Confederate states were less apt to honor the “Great Emancipator.” But, in Tennessee one remained that Lincoln himself had a hand in creating.

Now, back to Benjamin’s original query: ‘We name schools after objects now?’ Though I am sure that there are some colleges out there named after an object, Lincoln Memorial University is not one of them. In fact, as a member of our communications team, I stress that we always refer to ourselves as Lincoln Memorial University or LMU, just to be sure there is no confusion with the Lincoln Memorial.

That is not to say we aren’t big fans of the Lincoln Memorial, because we certainly are. Every year we have the honor of being the only educational institution to lay a wreath at the wreath laying ceremony in honor of Lincoln’s birthday. The Abraham Lincoln Library and Museum on the LMU main campus also contains a number of Lincoln Memorial artifacts. Our collection includes a casting used in sculptor Daniel Chester French’s studio during the design of the interior sculptor around 1916. The casting was a working model, never meant for display and is one of a handful of such that exist. Several poses were proposed during the design process and the LMU French casting is actually very close to the final marble figure.

So to answer the great debate of which came first, LMU, with a founding date of 1897, wins over the Lincoln Memorial, with a completion date of 1922. But no matter where we stand in the chronology of entities named after the 16th president, we wear his name proudly.