Just about 200 years ago, or 10 score as Abraham Lincoln might say, one of the most iconic presidents in history was born. On February 12, 1809, Thomas Lincoln and Nancy Hanks gave birth to a baby boy in a one room cabin. He would grow up to lead the United States and make two of the most well-known speeches in United States history, the Gettysburg Address and the Emancipation Proclamation. Now, 200 years later, his country still throws him a birthday party.
President Obama, another tall, elegant man from Illinois who swore into office with his hand on the Lincoln Bible, will be in Springfield on Thursday in the company of $95 ticket holders who are ready for a monumental start to Presidents’ Day Weekend. Although Obama has said, “I cannot swallow whole the view of Lincoln as the Great Emancipator,” he has looked to Lincoln for help in speech writing and inspiration in leadership. The two have drawn constant comparisons in the press, and one can only wonder how the United States would celebrate Barack Obama’s 200th birthday.
This week, many will celebrate Abe by using the new Lincoln postage stamps, visiting one of the many Lincoln-centered exhibits at museums and libraries, watching the new play about Lincoln at Ford’s Theater, or browsing through the Abraham Lincoln material at Internet Archive.
Here are some highlights from our collections:
Happy Birthday, Abe!