Abraham Lincoln Exhibition at the Huntington Library

By Rhodehamel, John; Schwartz, Thomas F. | The Historian, Winter 1994 | Go to article overview

Abraham Lincoln Exhibition at the Huntington Library


Rhodehamel, John, Schwartz, Thomas F., The Historian


One of the most important exhibitions ever devoted to the life and achievements of Abraham Lincoln is on display at the Huntington Library in San Marino, California, until 30 August 1994. "The Last Best Hope of Earth: Abraham Lincoln and the Promise of America" exhibits some 200 pieces, including nearly 100 original letters and documents written by Lincoln, as well as many personal possessions of the sixteenth president and his family.

Visitors to the exhibit will see Abraham Lincoln's handwritten manuscript of the Gettysburg Address, a signed copy of the Emancipation Proclamation, and autograph letters in which Lincoln mused over slavery, freedom, and the meaning of the nation's ordeal in the Civil War. The U.S. system of self-government held out the promise of liberty to the world. By freeing the slave during the war, Lincoln sought to renew that promise and to ensure a "new birth of freedom" for all Americans. "As I would not be a slave, so I would not be a master," he wrote in 1858. "This expresses my idea of democracy. Whatever differs from this . …

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