Tag Archives: Abraham Lincoln

Traveling this summer? Don’t forget Flat Abe.

24 Jun

Balloons released with postcards.There are time honored traditions that every elementary student takes part in. I remember tying a postcard to a balloon and letting it fly, hoping whenever the flight ended someone would find my postcard, note where it landed and send it back to me. Some kids send out messages in bottles or the more traditional chain letter. The lesson in these exercises is to expand the worldview of the student. To show a child that there is so much more than their small insulated community. Similarly, the beloved children’s book Flat Stanley (by Jeff Brown in 1964) has evolved to the Flat Stanley project. In the Flat Stanley children’s books, Stanley travels the world in envelopes. Students who read the books send the paper doll and written notes to students in other parts of the world through conventional mail and e-mail. Children exchange ideas, photographs, questions and culture with students overseas. Once again, a world view is expanded and connections are made.

LMU’s Flat Abe project is aimed at providing a way for LMU students and alumni to share their blue and grey pride and document their travels. Flat Abe can be requested through the LMU Alumni page (alumni.LMUnet.edu/FlatAbe) and getting started is as easy as:

  1. Request Flat Abe
  2. Receive Flat Abe
  3. Take Flat Abe pictures
  4. Share Flat Abe pictures
Flat Abe in Zimbabwe.

Flat Abe visited Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe with Bill Hoffard.

As the alumni page explains, “Abe represents all of the LMU family and our impact on the world, because we represent LMU no matter where we are. Whether we are relaxing on the beach or volunteering our time on mission trips to underserved communities, we are carrying LMU’s legacy with us. And who better to bring with us on those trips but Abe himself?”

Since the program began Flat Abe has had some interesting journeys. He has celebrated important milestones including births, marriages and more. He has made it to quite a few locations including Labadee, Haiti; Cozumel, Mexico; Falmouth, Jamaica; George Town, Cayman Islands; and US cities in Florida, California, Texas, Nevada, and Tennessee. Flat Abe also hung out with some famous people like Clare Bowen from ABC’s Nashville.

Clare Bowen and Flat Abe.

Flat Abe and LMU Alum Jamie Mihalko met Clare Bowen of ABC’s Nashville, where else? In Nashville at a Predator’s Game.

So if summer adventures are on your horizon, don’t forget to pack Flat Abe and share your journeys with the LMU community. LMU Director of Alumni Services Donnie Lipscomb did just that earlier this week when he landed in Shannon, Ireland on his way to Galway with the current LMU Alumni Travel trip to the Emerald Isle.

 

Honest Abe in the Emerald Isle.

Flat Abe arrived in Ireland earlier this week.

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Celebrating Freedom with FREE Admission!

4 Jul

In honor of the birth of the United States of America, Lincoln Memorial University and the Abraham Lincoln Library and Museum is offering free admission to the Museum through the weekend.
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With one of the most extensive collections of Abraham Lincoln and Civil War artifacts in private hands, the Abraham Lincoln Library and Museum on the LMU Main Campus in Harrogate, Tenn., is a must-see for history enthusiasts. It also offers a wonderful experience for families looking for a special outing. Exhibited are many rare items – the cane Lincoln carried that fateful night at Ford’s Theatre, two life masks, the tea set he and Mary Todd used in their home in Springfield, and numerous other artifacts. Approximately 30,000 books, manuscripts, pamphlets, photographs, paintings and sculptures tell the story of President Lincoln and the Civil War period in America’s history. There are also children activities and interactive exhibits. Kids can don Civil War era clothes and partake in games and past times from the era.

While enjoying free admission to the ALLM, be sure to travel on down the road and visit the Cumberland Gap National Historical Park located just five minutes away in Middlesboro, Ky. Another great stop is the town of Cumberland Gap, which is home to quaint shops and LMU’s art studio which features a special Arts in the Gap exhibit this summer.

Happy Independence Day!

4 Jul

As a proud American on this Fourth of July, I am happy to live with the freedoms our founding fathers declared on July 4, 1776. Not to mention all the ones thathave followed as our Constitution has been amended over time. Today, I am doing some of the time honored traditions that have become synonymous with the Fourth of July in America. I will be spending time with my family, enjoying a nice backyard barbeque and watching fireworks this evening. I’m wearing red, white and blue and have an American Flag flying outside my front door.  It’s been the way I have celebrated Independence Day for nearly all of my 34 years and it makes me wonder how Abraham Lincoln celebrated this holiday.

At first I just wondered if LMU’s expansive archives included anything obscure or interesting about this national holiday. I was looking for a really great find that would make an awesome blog topic. My first stop was to check in with University Archivist Michelle Ganz. Of the top of her head, she couldn’t think of anything that fit the bill in the University archives, but she offered to check in the Abraham Lincoln Library and Museum vault. A couple days later, her response came in: “All I have is a replica gun used in the revolutionary war.”

RATS… where else could I come up with a great blog topic that would be timely and connected to LMU? My next stop was to fire up the old search engine and “Google” the history of the Independence Day. The search gave me a brief history of the holiday and a snapshot of celebrations over time. To my surprise, July 4 celebrations began in 1777, though they were mostly localized. On July 4, 1778, General George Washington celebrated by giving his troops a double ration of rum. The local commemorations went on year-to-year, though Congress itself didn’t make it a national holiday until 1870. It wasn’t a paid national holiday for government employees until 1938.

My last stop on the search for an interesting July 4th blog post was Abraham Lincoln Library and Museum Curator Steven Wilson. A published author of historical fiction, Steven is nothing short of interesting. If you’ve never been to LMU’s Abraham Lincoln Library and Museum, I encourage you to visit and seek out Steven for a tour. He has a special way of making history come alive.

Steven didn’t disappoint when I first approached him with the question “how did Lincoln celebrate the Fourth of July.” His first reply was classic Steven, “Let me check it out, I know he owned a jet ski.”

After some quick research, Steven got back to me with a more serious answer. Wilson’s research showed that the 16th President didn’t really do anything special or out of the ordinary on July 4. In the dark days of the Civil War, there were no double rations of rum from this Commander inChief. He left secretaries and Mrs. Lincoln to plan any Independence Day Celebrations on the grounds of the Executive Mansion. His July 4ths as President were spent seeing visitors in his office and receiving salutations from groups such as the Veterans of the War of 1812. I guess it was challenging to celebrate the birth of a nation that you were fighting to hold together.

Whether or not Lincoln actually participated in the fireworks and patriotic celebrations that exist today, it makes him no less a part of Independence Day in the United States. After all, freedom is a central part of the celebration and who in our history has played a bigger role in freeing a group of people than the Great Emancipator?

Honest Abe goes Hollywood

30 Mar

If you have a penchant for pop culture, like I do, then I’m sure you’ve heard that the Hunger Games had the third largest opening of any film in history.  It’s another example of a beloved book making a splash on the big screen.  One of this year’s other big hits at theaters, The Help, was also first an acclaimed book from author Kathryn Stockett. That adaptation even yielded an Academy Award for supporting actress Octavia Spencer, who brought Stockett’s Minny Jackson to life. The film also garnered several nominations and awards at various film festivals and awards presentations.  The horizon is filled with film adaptations of classic literature and more recently-released books.

June will bring the big screen version of Seth Grahme-Smith’s Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter. The highly-anticipated film based on the New York Times Bestseller offers the premise, what if the Civil War was fought not only over slavery, but to block the vampires’ access to human trade? It is yet another foray into film for Lincoln Memorial University’s namesake and the inspiration for the Abraham Lincoln Library and Museum’s newest exhibit: Lincoln at the Movies.

The exhibit, which opens Friday, was developed by ALLM Curator Steven Wilson and takes a look at the 16th President and his influence, representation and relationship to the motion pictures. There are few more recognizable figures in history than the president known as “Honest Abe.” The story of his life and death has been told and retold on page, on stage and on the silver screen.

Audiences have flocked to see serious portrayals of Abe’s story from the 1912 blockbuster Birth of a Nation to the 1940s Abe Lincoln in Illinois, to 2011’s examination of his assassination in the movie Conspirator. Audiences have also seen his character portrayed in a more comedic light by actors and non-actors including pro wrestler Hulk Hogan and comedian Johnny Carson. In the movies, Lincoln has traveled through time, beamed aboard starships, unintentionally insulted his long-suffering wife, and even wrestled George Washington. Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter will add another entry to that list of odd things he’s done on film that we’re quite sure Abraham Lincoln never really did.

Just as we're fairly certain Honest Abe never actually hunted vampires, we're he never addressed the students of San Dimas High.

Abraham Lincoln at the Movies uses photographs, artifacts, original posters and media to provide a means for today’s audience to see the constant and fascinating journey of Lincoln through American culture. The exhibit will also shine a light on LMU’s minor role in Lincoln’s life on film. In 1940, LMU was the site of the southern premiere of Abe Lincoln in Illinois. The film’s star Raymond Massey was on hand for the premiere and was also awarded a Lincoln Diploma of Honor for his performance in the motion picture and his role on stage.

The exhibit will be on display through February 12, 2013. The Abraham Lincoln Library and Museum is located on the campus of Lincoln Memorial University in Harrogate, Tenn. Admission to the museum is $5 for adults, $3.50 for senior citizens and $3 for children under 12. Housing one of the top five Lincoln and Civil War private collections in the world, the Museum is open Monday-Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday from noon to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

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.