Writing, the art of communicating thoughts to the mind through the eye, is the great invention of the world.” So said Abraham Lincoln, whose own renowned words gave purpose and meaning to a time of profound conflict and laid the foundation for a renewed nation that rose from it.
From more than 2,000 pieces in its Lincoln document collection, the Library of Congress has selected 40 manuscripts to feature in a new book titled “In Lincoln’s Hand: His Original Manuscripts With Commentary by Distinguished Americans.” Published by the Library in association with Bantam Dell Publishing Group, the book is the official publication of the Library of Congress Abraham Lincoln bicentennial exhibition
, “With Malice Toward None,” on view Feb. 12 through May 9, 2009.
On the occasion of the 200th anniversary of Lincoln’s birth, “In Lincoln’s Hand” offers an unprecedented look at perhaps our greatest president through vivid images of his handwritten letters, speeches, and even childhood notebooks—many never before made available to the public. Edited by leading Lincoln scholars Harold Holzer and Joshua Wolf Shenk, each manuscript featured in the book is accompanied by a reflection on Lincoln by a prominent American from the arts, politics, literature or entertainment. Contributors include writers such as John Updike, E.L. Doctorow, Toni Morrison and Walter Mosley; Presidents Jimmy Carter, George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush; Lincoln and Civil War scholars Drew Gilpin Faust, Doris Kearns Goodwin and James McPherson; and actors Liam Neeson and Sam Waterston.
Made possible through the generous support of Union Pacific Corporation, “With Malice Toward None: The Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Exhibition” will chart Lincoln’s growth from prairie lawyer to preeminent statesman and address the monumental issues he faced, including slavery and race, the dissolution of the Union, and the Civil War. Among the items to be displayed is the 1853 Bible published by Oxford University Press upon which Lincoln took the oath of office on March 4, 1861. President-elect Barack Obama has chosen that Bible upon which to use when he takes his oath of office on Jan. 20, 2009.
In addition to the exhibition and companion volume, the Library of Congress is planning several other events and programming in commemoration of the bicentennial of the nation’s 16th president. These include a Lincoln symposium on March 4, lectures, poetry readings, film screenings and a concert.
The 208-page hardcover book, with 40 high-resolution document scans and hundreds of full-color illustrations, is available for $35 in bookstores nationwide and in the Library’s shop, Washington, D.C., 20540-4985. Credit-card orders are taken at (888) 682-3557 or shop on the Internet at www.loc.gov/shop/
Founded in 1800, the Library of Congress is the nation’s oldest federal cultural institution. It is home to the collections of 23 U.S. presidents and some of the most extensive collections of Lincolniana in the world. The Library seeks to spark imagination and creativity and to further human understanding and wisdom by providing access to knowledge through its magnificent collections, programs and exhibitions. Many of the Library’s rich resources can be accessed through its Web site at www.loc.gov
via interactive exhibitions on a new, personalized Web site at myLOC.gov