"With Hayseed in My Hair": Abraham Lincoln and Massachusetts
"I had been chosen to Congress then from the wild West, and with hayseed in my hair I went to Massachusetts, the most cultured State in the Union, to take a few lessons in deportment."
-Abraham Lincoln recollecting his first visit to Massachusetts in 1848.
To celebrate the bicentennial of Abraham Lincoln's birth, from 12 February through 30 April, the MHS will mount an exhibition documenting Lincoln's strong political and personal ties to Massachusetts. In September 1848, Abraham Lincoln, then a relatively unknown congressman from Illinois, made an 11-day visit to Massachusetts as a stump speaker supporting Zachary Taylor, the Whig candidate for the presidency. Although Lincoln only made one brief return visit to Massachusetts in February 1860, stopping in Boston to change trains on a trip to New Hampshire to visit his son Robert who was attending Phillips Exeter Academy, he maintained strong political and personal ties to Massachusetts throughout his career. The exhibition will document Lincoln's connections with people and places of Massachusetts using manuscripts, artifacts, engravings, photographs, and sculpture drawn from the Society's extraordinary research collections.
Among the items on display will be a letter from Lincoln to William Schouler inquiring about the position of Massachusetts in the 1848 election; the pen Lincoln used to sign the Emancipation Proclamation, which was presented to Massachusetts abolitionist George Livermore; an exchange of letters between Lincoln and Edward Everett of Massachusetts, concerning the Gettysburg Address and their respective orations at the ceremony; diary entries by citizens of Massachusetts recounting the 1860 and 1864 elections, as well as Lincoln's assassination and funeral in April 1865; and a bronze casting of Daniel Chester French's sculpture of the seated Abraham Lincoln, which, recreated in much larger size, adorns the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC
The exhibition will be open Monday through Saturday, 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM, from 12 February through 30 April 2009.