Lincoln and Darwin had vastly different childhoods. We know that Lincoln was born dirt-poor and was largely self-educated, whereas Darwin was born to wealth and privilege, privy to the best education money could buy. Still, even 200 years later, both have left their mark upon our world. Unfortunately for both, that mark, or legacy, has become somewhat limited over time.
In the words of Adam Gopnik in his “Twin Peaks” article for the February, 2009 issue of the Smithsonian, ” With the usual compression of popular history, their reputations have been reduced to single words . . . “Evolution!” for one and “Emancipation!” for the other.” How true this is. Both were complex individuals who contributed in many other ways to our relative societies.
One of Lincoln’s legacies, of sorts, is the vast amount of literature that has been written about him. At least in the Western world, it is estimated that there have been more books written about Lincoln than any other individual (save possibly Jesus and Napoleon). And still, writers and researchers are uncovering new information and reformatting the old into numerous intriguing titles about Lincoln. Check out some of these new tomes about our legendary 16th President:
In Lincoln’s Hand: his Original Manuscripts
1864: Lincoln at the Gates of History by Charles Flood
“They Have Killed Papa Dead”: the Road to Ford’s Theater, Abraham Lincoln’s Murder and the Rage for Vengeance by Anthony Pitch
Giants: the Parallel Lives of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln by John Stauffer
Looking for Lincoln: the Making of an American Icon by Philip Kunhardt
Tried by War: Abraham Lincoln as Commander in Chief by James McPherson
Originally set aside to honor George Washington (whose birthday is actually February 22), Presidents’ Day has unofficially expanded to include Abraham Lincoln (born on February 12) and sometimes even some other former Presidents, depending on what state you live in.
While many government offices and schools are closed today, both locations of the Davenport Public Library will be open as usual – the Main Library will be open noon to 8pm and the Fairmount Library will be open 9:30am-5:30pm.
Have a great day!
There are very few individuals who are famous enough for society to continue to celebrate them 200 years after their birth, but on February 12, 1809, two very famous men were born. One, Abraham Lincoln, is very familiar to Americans, as our 16th President.
Another influential individual, born across the Atlantic on the very same day, was Charles Darwin. Though most people know that Darwin wrote about evolution in his On the Origin of the Species, there continues to be much controversy regarding this subject. So, why not use the month of February to find out more about both of these influential men? Drop by the library and see our displays on both! And check back here for continuing blogs on both of these birthday buddies.
Any book the President picks up instantly becomes the subject of analysis and fascination. Everyone knows that Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin which describes Lincoln choosing several political rivals for his cabinet and staff, is an Obama favorite.
According to AbeBooks.com, The Post-American World by Fareed Zakaria, and Lincoln: the Biography of a Writer by Fred Kaplan are some other books he has been seen with.
Check out Mr. Obama’s Facebook page for some of his favorite books, such as Moby Dick, Gilead by Marilynne Robinson, and the Bible.
Libraries love the fact that, not only is he the world’s most famous reader, he is also a talented writer (both attributes can do no harm to our bottom line…the number of materials that are checked out).
According to the New York Times, Mr. Obama’s own Dreams from My Father, “evinces an instinctive storytelling talent…and that odd combination of empathy and detachment gifted novelists possess.” Obama won the 2006 Grammy for “Best Spoken Word Album” for his reading of his memoir and search for identity.
So, check out one of these books, carry it around and see if anyone snaps a photo….