March 18, 2005 Daniel Mark Epstein to Deliver Walt Whitman's "Death of Lincoln" Lecture on April 14

Event Marks 140th Anniversary of Lincoln’s Death and 150 Years Since the Publication of Whitman’s “Leaves of Grass”

Press Contact: Helen Dalrymple, (202) 707-1940
Public Contact: Barbara Bair, (202) 707-1097

The Library of Congress will present an evening concert and a dramatic reading of Walt Whitman’s historic lecture on the “Death of Lincoln” at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 14, in the Coolidge Auditorium of the Library’s Thomas Jefferson Building, 10 First St. S.E., Washington, D.C. The event, which is sponsored jointly by the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission and the Library’s Manuscript and Music divisions, is free and open to the public. Tickets are not required.

Award-winning poet, playwright and biographer Daniel Mark Epstein, author of “Lincoln and Whitman: Parallel Lives in Civil War Washington” (Ballantine Books, 2004), will offer a complete reading of Whitman’s tribute to the assassinated president. Whitman first delivered the “Death of Lincoln” lecture at Steck Hall in New York on April 14, 1879, to reflect upon the meaning of Lincoln’s death to an American nation pressed to reunite and heal from the wounds of the Civil War.

In keeping with the outline of Whitman’s original 19th century lecture program that began with a musical performance, Epstein’s lecture will be preceded by a short concert of musical selections, performed by members of the Air Force Band, in a brass quintet, in combination with tenor solo and piano. The lecture includes an account of the tragic events at Ford’s Theatre and a reading of poetry, including Whitman’s popular tribute to Lincoln, “O Captain, My Captain.”

The program commemorates the 140th anniversary of the April 1865 death of President Abraham Lincoln. It is also part of the Library’s upcoming celebration of the 150th anniversary of the landmark 1855 publication of “Leaves of Grass,” Whitman’s masterwork. In conjunction with the Whitman celebration, a display titled “Revising Himself: Celebrating 150 Years of Walt Whitman’s “Leaves of Grass,” will be on view in the “American Treasures of the Library of Congress” exhibition in the Southwest Gallery of the Thomas Jefferson Building, May 16 through Dec. 3. Items on display include the first edition of “Leaves of Grass,” Whitman’s favorite photograph of Lincoln, tickets to the original “Death of Lincoln” lecture, and other rare manuscript, book, print and photographic items from the Library’s Walt Whitman collections.

Copies of Epstein’s book “Lincoln and Whitman” will be available for purchase at the event.


PR 05-070
ISSN 0731-3527