Featured StoriesWilliam T. Coggeshall and Abraham Lincoln
By Katie Sabol, Reference Librarian
Where Abraham Lincoln is concerned, myths, legends and stories abound. But how can you separate the fact from the fiction? While working to put together the Forever Free: Abraham Lincoln's Journey to Emancipation exhibit for the State Library of Ohio, we compiled many facts about Abraham Lincoln from websites, books and original sources. In addition to separating the facts and myths about Lincoln, we were also interested in gathering information which could be used to enhance the exhibit experience for our guests. The resources that follow make up some of the best sources of information about Abraham Lincoln and provide an interpretation of his impact for today’s times.
While looking to verify quotes and stories of Abraham Lincoln, we consulted several sources. The State Library has many books about Abraham Lincoln including Abraham Lincoln and the Road to Emancipation, 1861-1865,The Lincoln Encyclopedia: The Spoken and Written Words of A. Lincoln Arranged for Ready Reference and Great Lincoln Documents: Historians Present Treasures from the Gilder Lehrman Collection. Additionally, various organizations have created detailed websites dedicated to Abraham Lincoln including The Papers of Abraham Lincoln (a project of the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency), The Lincoln Log (compiled by the Lincoln Sesquicentennial Commission), and the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum. In addition to the print resources we have at the State Library, we also have many electronic resources which assisted us in our research, including HeinOnline and LexisNexis products. LexisNexis provides access to congressional hearings, reports, American State Papers, and annual reports. Through LexisNexis, we were able to access copies of Lincoln’s State of the Union Addresses, Presidential Messages, and his Inaugural Address. The collection of resources available in HeinOnline allowed us to locate several ebooks including Abe Lincoln's Yarns and Stories - A Complete Collection of the Funny and Witty Anecdotes That Made Lincoln Famous as America's Greatest Story Teller, Abraham Lincoln: The Lawyer-Statesman, The Papers of the President (Volume 6, Abraham Lincoln), Lincoln the Lawyer, and Lincoln the Litigant.
There are a multitude of resources which allow teachers to incorporate ideas about Abraham Lincoln into current lesson plans. For example, the National Endowment for the Humanities has created a resource for studying the Emancipation Proclamation, the Abraham Lincoln Association has three lessons for studying documents created by Lincoln, PBS has created lessons to coordinate with their film, Abraham and Mary Lincoln: A House Divided, and the National Archives has created a lesson focusing on using documents to study the causes of the Civil War. Since the exhibit focuses on the Emancipation Proclamation, in addition to researching Abraham Lincoln, we also looked into educational tools to examine Ohio’s connection to the Underground Railroad. We found the Ohioana Library’s educational kit which contains tools designed to provide resources for students, teachers, and librarians to augment and enhance the standard classroom curriculum. The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center also created a Freedom Box- Traveling Trunk which contains objects, photographs, original theatrical scripts, books, movies and lesson plans for classroom use.
In anticipation of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, the New York Times began running a series on Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War including timelines and a blog which details the daily occurrences leading up to the Civil War. Since the 150th anniversary of the Civil War and the completion of the Ohio Statehouse both take place in the same year, the Capitol Square Review Advisory Board has also compiled resources detailing the history of the Statehouse, Ohio’s associations with Lincoln and involvement in the Civil War.
Overall, we discovered an extensive collection of materials about Abraham Lincoln to use as a basis for our research in preparing for this exhibit. The most difficult part was determining the quality and accuracy of each of the resources. We hope that the information presented in this exhibit sheds new light on our 16th president.
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