This past Saturday (February 12th) was the 202nd anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s birth. Two years ago, in honor of the bicentennial of Lincoln’s birth, Houghton Library at Harvard University unveiled an online exhibition, Harvard’s Lincoln, featuring the library’s Lincoln memorabilia, donated by alumni Alonzo Rothschild and William Whiting Nolen in the early twentieth century.
Interestingly, William Whiting Nolen is a famous cantabrigian in his own right: after studying at Harvard at both the undergraduate and graduate school and Harvard Law School, Nolen began his own training school to tutor students who wished to enter Harvard. His school was located in Harvard Square in the two buildings where the Holyoke Center is now located, and at its height of success enrolled over 400 students and had a staff of over 50 teachers. It was because of the great success of his school that Nolen was able to begin collecting Lincolniana.
Harvard’s Lincoln guides the visitor through Lincoln’s youth, his presidency, the Civil War, and his assassination, and features a variety of primary sources – including the sixteen year old Lincoln’s math exercise book and a letter from Mary Todd Lincoln to Massachusetts Senator Charles Sumner talking about the surrender of Robert E. Lee. To view the exhibition, click here: http://hcl.harvard.edu/libraries/houghton/exhibits/lincoln/.
William Whiting Nolen. Photograph, source and date unknown, Harvard University Archives.
**Special thanks to Susan Ciccone, Reference Librarian and History Specialist at the CPL for this post.