Ready, Willing and ‘Abe L.’ to Take the Stage
When the Association of Lincoln Presenters recently assembled for their 19th annual convention, held in Columbus, Ohio, it was an impressive sight. Roughly three dozen black-coated, bearded and top-hatted gents came together for a weekend in April, when they visited venues frequented by the former president, including the Ohio statehouse. They also attended a performance of Our American Cousin, the play that Lincoln and Mary Todd were watching when he was assassinated. The association’s website claims that the group “can bring 150 living Lincolns directly to you.” According to a recent Huffington Post article, some of these Abes earn hundreds of dollars for each appearance. And they’re not just pretty faces—many have spent years learning about the 16th president’s life and studying his writings. Their website, lincolnpresenters.net, notes that seven members have written books about Lincoln.
Kelly’s Ford Opens Interpretive Center
On the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Kelly’s Ford, the Civil War Trust, property owners, local businesses and preservationists jointly opened an interpretive center at Kelly’s Ford, Va. The new facility includes signage, fencing and trails related to the engagement on St. Patrick’s Day, March 17, 1863—the war’s first large-scale cavalry battle. The most famous of the fight’s 200 casualties was Confederate artillery Major John Pelham—dubbed the “Gallant Pelham” by Robert E. Lee and Jeb Stuart.
In November 2012, brothers Scott and Sam Woodward, who own the 964-acre farm where the battle took place, signed an easement whereby they would preserve the property and also interpret the site. They agreed to donate the time and resources to build and maintain the center with help from local businesses. The property, which is rich in local history, includes a mile of frontage on the Rappahannock River and portions of the Old Carolina Road, Norman’s Ford and the Carter House, at one time the property of Robert “King” Carter.
Website and Traveling Exhibit Honor African Americans in Civil War Medicine
Created by the National Library of Medicine, the traveling exhibit “Binding Wounds, Pushing Boundaries” offers a compelling view of the contributions of African Americans in medicine during the conflict, when doctors and nurses faced many cultural challenges in addition to the physical dangers of ministering to wartime casualties. While the exhibit will be touring the United States through 2017, the public can also explore its contents online through the Digital Projects tab on the library’s website, nlm.nih.gov/exhibition/bindingwounds. For example, you can search via display headlines, including “In Uniform,” which details the trials of battlefield surgeons and nurses, to explore the roles they played in armies North and South. “Nursing the Wounded” follows the women who served as nurses, laundresses and also cooks for the armies and hospitals, comforting the sick and caring for the wounded.—Lily Kleppertknoop
USPS Offers Emancipation Proclamation Stamps and Poster
To honor the 150th anniversary of President Lincoln’s signing the Emancipation Proclamation, the U.S. Postal Service offers a commemorative stamp and poster incorporating the phrase “henceforward shall be free,” taken from the wording of the proclamation. The first in a series of three Forever stamps to be issued this year (the others will honor Rosa Parks and the March on Washington), the Emancipation Proclamation stamps are available at post offices nationwide. For more on the stamps, or to order a poster, check out the website usps.com/stamps.
Grant’s Boyhood Home Reopens
The future general and president spent most of his childhood in a two-story brick house in Georgetown, Ohio. Ulysses was brought there when he was about 1 and left when he went to West Point at age 17. His father had built the house as well as a tannery. Designated a National Historical Landmark in 1985, the Grant house became the property of the Ohio Historical Society in 2002. Recently restored to its 1839 appearance, it will open to the public on Memorial Day. The $1.4 million, five-year project has greatly changed its exterior and interior appearance. Outside, its white paint was removed, the masonry was restored and a metal roof was traded for wood shakes. Inside, the home’s walls have been papered, floors are freshly carpeted and the doors have been grain-painted.
Earn Your Junior Ranger Patch!
This summer Gettysburg offers opportunities for visitors of all ages to commemorate the battle. (Visit Civil War Times’ Facebook page to see our continually updated listing of Gettysburg 150th activities.) There’s a special reward on offer for youngsters: Kids age 7 to 12 can earn a special Junior Ranger patch. Just pick up an Activity Guide for Junior Ranger Candidates at the Visitors Center, then answer a series of questions about exhibits and ranger-guided programs. See nps.gov/get/ forkids/beajuniorranger/htm for details.
Originally published in the August 2013 issue of Civil War Times. To subscribe, click here.