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Abraham Lincoln Signatures – A Primer

Lincoln Signature with Carte

People are always curious about Abraham Lincoln Signatures. Where do they come from? What makes one example a “starter signature” and another a once-in-a-lifetime find?

In our latest video Daniel Weinberg shares examples of some of the most often seen types of Lincoln signatures. He also explains why knowing the differences can enhance your collecting experience.


Lakeside Classics

Daniel Weinberg talks about the Lakeside Classics.

Richard Robert Donnelly opened his Chicago printing company in 1864. In 1870, he changed the name to Lakeside Printing and Publishing Company. Rising from the ashes of the 1871 fire, by 1901 they moved into their own building. Located in today’s Printer’s Row neighborhood, the building is architect Howard Van Doren Shaw’s very first design of a commercial building. The building would be listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1976.

Lakeside Press had two avenues of business. Fine printing and binding, producing books for organizations like the Caxton Club and the Limited Editions Club; and mass commercial printing. The Sears Catalog was such a big client, that Lakeside Press dedicated an entire plant to the project.

R. R. Donnelly passed away in 1899, leaving it to his son Thomas E. Donnelly. In 1903, Thomas received a Christmas gift from a supplier. This set of razors gave him an idea. He wanted to produce a book for clients and employees for Christmas. It would feature the company’s finest work and become a lasting legacy, too. Donnelley believed a simple, well-designed book, would reflect the press’ mission perfectly.

Donnelly’s introduction in the first volume succinctly states his desire for these books : “If, in a modest way this volume conveys the idea that machine-made books are not a crime against art, and that books may be plain but good, and good though not costly, its mission has been accomplished.”

Today, these books are highly sought, collector’s items. Having an entire set will get you bragging rights in any collector’s circle. Full sets are hard to find; even more difficult to find in good, solid condition. We are fortunate to have a set right now.

Daniel Weinberg talked more about the Lakeside Classics here at the book shop. Take a Look!

Abe & Mary, A Reunion Over 150 Years in the Making

Abraham Lincoln by Leonard VolkRecently, we sold this Volk statuette of Abraham Lincoln.

It’s hard to not get attached to these things; and we are always a little sad when these beauties move on to a new home.  We miss him already!

We have a great packer/shipper for these types of objects and I was fully confident Mr. Lincoln would arrive at his destination. Dan and Brandon wrapped him in packing blankets; and off he went to the packaging house. In a few days, all the paperwork was in place and the pick-up was set. I expected an uneventful journey.

However, what happened when the statuette was a few miles from it’s final destination was a “WOW!” moment for everyone who works here!

Let’s start at the beginning…

We have this note, written by Abraham Lincoln on September 7th, 1863. Lincoln writes “Not Manchester N.H. but Manchester, Vermont.”

Apparently, the telegraph operator had made an error and sent Lincoln’s telegraph from September 6th to Manchester, New Hampshire.  Lincoln must have been annoyed; for a telegraph to Mary in Vermont arrived correctly on the 3rd of September! Perhaps there was a different telegraph operator on duty on the 6th of September.

The error was understandable, though. Mary had been in Manchester, New Hampshire the previous week!

Lincoln corrects the telegrapher with this note, written on September 7th. Learn more about the note.

Robert Lincoln would eventually settle in Manchester, Vermont; breaking ground on his prized summer home, Hildene, in 1902.  Hildene reports that Robert first visited Manchester Center, Vermont in the summer of 1863. This note might be a link to Robert’s first trip to Vermont!

So how does this note tie in with the Volk Statuette of Abraham Lincoln?

First, I have to say that I am always nervous when anything of value is “out there.” Insurance means nothing if something happens. All we will see is money if something undue happens. The piece is lost forever and what remains of the piece belongs to the insurance company. Plus, this was my very first “palletized freight shipment” too.  I set up the usual alerts. I didn’t see any service exceptions over the next few days as the parcel made its way to its destination.

By midday on the day of it’s intended arrival I got an email from the shipping company. The subject line read “EXCEPTION ALERT.”  I held my breath as I clicked on the email. Did something horrible happen? Had I a made a mistake? I always expect the worst! Every terrifying possibility crossed my mind.

I was much relieved to read “Your freight pallet has arrived at it’s local service center. We are attempting to notify the recipient so we can schedule it’s delivery.”

Whew! Mr. Lincoln was safely crated and attached to his pallet awaiting the final leg of his journey.

Can you guess where Mr. Lincoln was warehoused?

Take a look!

Mr. Lincoln was in Manchester, New Hampshire that morning!

I quickly send a text to my co-workers. A shop-wide eye roll and several broad smiles later we all breathed a sigh of relief.

Our customer got in touch with the shipping company and arranged for the delivery.

The statuette was delivered in a few days and now lives in New Hampshire.



Carl Sandburg: Poet, Music Anthropologist, Lincoln Biographer

January 6th marks the 140th Anniversary of Carl Sandburg’s birth. A true 20th Century Renaissance Man, among Sandburg’s accomplishments is bringing Lincoln to life for many early 20th Century Americans in The Prairie Years and The War Years. 

Carl Sandburg as a boyBorn in 1878, by the time Carl began school, he changed his name to the “more American” Charles. One of seven children, “Charles”  left school in 8th grade to drives a milk wagon. In 1896, he procures a three-day pass to Chicago courtesy of his father’s job in the Quincy, IL railyard. He spends all three days there. By 1878, he is gone for Galesburg.

He spent the next years drifting; riding the rails. He is the quintessential hobo of the day. He must have made a rookie mistake in 1902. Arrested in Pennsylvania, he sat in jail for a week because he couldn’t pay his fare. He served for 8 months in the Spanish American War, tried college home in Illinois, was booted out of West Point-ironically because he flunked is first grammar exam, then worked a variety of jobs, intermittently.

Somewhere along the way he learned to play guitar. He began collecting the local folk songs he heard and he interviewed people. He wrote songs about their lives, too. Music would be a lifelong love for him. A musician would be a wonderful diversion around a hobo camp; a rallying siren on the campaign trail, too. He wrote poetry as the landscape flew past. The musical rhythm of the rails and his wanderlust were at the beginning of their lifelong friendship.

He re-enrolled at Lombard College. Philip Green Wright, an economics professor who would go on to teach at Harvard, strongly supports his efforts. Additionally, Wright moonlighted as a poet, too as well as a printing hobbyist. Sandburg begins to write in earnest. He leaves college without a degree but with a new a sense of what he wants to do.

It was a time in our history when people gathered to hear lectures and talks by professional orators. Chicago’s Bug House Square, across from the Newberry Library, served this purpose. Sandburg joined a travelling lecture circuit. He sang songs, gave talks, and sold little pamphlets printed by Wright. These reprints of his lectures included a few pages of his own poetry.

By 1904, professor Wright publishes Sandburg’s first collection of only poetry, In Reckless Ecstasy. The same year, his poetry and prose volume Incidentals went on the letterpress. Others followed, but few sales did.

In 1907, Sandburg is hired to speak in Racine, WI. The Social-Democratic Party leader is so impressed that he gives Sandburg a party organizer job. For the next five years, Sandburg campaigned for the party; working especially hard to reform child labor laws. Carl is again riding the rails, but this time as a paying customer! He crisscrosses the state campaigning for Socialist causes.

Carl Sandburg and Lillian Steichen arrived in Milwaukee on the same day that winter. Lillian was saying good bye to her friends at party headquarters. After, she would go home to her teaching job in Princeton, IL. Later that year, after countless letters-sometimes even two a day-Lillian and Charles were married in Milwaukee.

Carl and Lillian Sandburg

Lillian Steichen’s brother was Edward Steichen, the important American photographer. Steichen’s work influenced American citizen involvement in both world wars. He also is responsible for elevating fashion photography to an art form; as well as being a painter and a curator. From Vogue to Victory, he was truly a photographer’s photographer. It was Edward who was the go-between when Edward and Lillian’s parents strongly objected to a mere political organizer and poet with an arrest record marrying their University of Chicago-educated, Phi Betta Kappa daughter. Carl, Lillian and Edward had a lifelong bond forged in respect and love.

The Sandburgs lived in many places in Wisconsin-Milwaukee,  Wauwatosa, and Appleton. He continued to self-publish poetry and prose, with little success. Lillian bred chickens and expanded her skills as an amateur geneticist and farmer.

By 1910 Carl’s dedication helps fuel a Socialist victory. Their candidate, Emil Seidel, won the Milwaukee mayoral race. Sandburg is appointed Secretary to the Mayor. In his spare time, he began experimenting with rugged, unorthodox free verse. He is inspired by the lives of the working people and the places he sees daily. That summer the Sandburg’s daughter, Margaret is born.

By 1912, frustrated with the plodding pace of reform, Sandburg takes writing jobs in Chicago. He will be working for two Socialist publications. Both published his poetry, too. The family moved to Ravenswood; a neighborhood near the north branch of the Chicago river. Their little home stands today and is only a few blocks from where Mayor Rahm Emmanuel lives today.

Carl Sandburg Home Chicago, IL

That spring, Chicago hosted the International Exposition of Modern Art—the infamous Armory Show. Even though it had been severely toned down from the New York version, the Chicago debut left art lovers shocked and disgusted. Works like DuChamp’s Nude Descending a Staircase caused the scandal to reach the governor’s office. The White Slavery Commission investigated.

But, soon the breezes of change would be blowing through the entire cultural landscape of Chicago and beyond.

1913 would prove a turning point in Sandburg’s life in many ways. He was hired by The Day Book,and was free to write what he wanted, eventually publishing over 100 columns. He picked up a freelance job, too. It meant he could support his family and write poetry at night. That was the writing that gave him the deepest satisfaction. By the summer of 1913, Sandburg has written the poem he titled Chicago.

In the fall, Sandburg’s second child, Madeline, dies during her birth; Carl is fired from The Day Book. When Lillian submits Chicago toThe American Magazine, the poem is rejected.

That winter, the couple chose nine poems to submit to Poetry: A Magazine of Verse.
Dedicated to only poetry and edited by Chicago Art and Culture denizen, Harriet Monroe, the magazine was funded by wealthy Chicagoans. Moore, who I like to think of as the grandmother of the poetry slam, accepted six of his poems for the March 1914 issue.

Poetry Magazine Spring 1914No mention of this era, dubbed “The Chicago Renaissance” would be complete without mentioning the Dill Pickle Club. Located in an alley, in Little Hell-the neighborhood we now call The Gold Coast-the club was a local hang-out frequented by the bohemians and free-thinkers that populated Chicago in those days. Carl became a long-time member of a scene that included Vachel Lindsay, Upton Sinclair and other Chicago literati and artists. I can imagine Sandburg and Lindsay sharing mad beats over strong whiskey late into the night.

The Sandburgs anxiously awaited the March issue of Poetry.The reviews were not good. Readers objected to the brutality.The Dial,another Chicago literary magazine, found “no trace of beauty in the ragged lines.” It was like The Armory Show, except for Poetry!

But, as people started to understand the more modern tone that was sweeping through art and literature, opinions about Sandburg’s work changed. Later that year, Alfred Harcourt, from Henry Holt publishing, read the manuscript for Chicago Poems. He loved it and recommended it for publication.

Carl Sandburg Chicago PoemsSandburg’s Chicago Poems saw its first printing in 1916. It is still in print today. In June of that year, Sandburg’s daughter, Janet was born.

With his chops as a writer firmly established, Sandburg started working as a reporter for the Chicago Daily News late in 1917. He would stay for thirteen years. The only time he left Chicago during his tenure was in 1918. His daughter, Helga was born while he was away covering World War I.

In 1919, he shared the National Poetry Society of America Prize (the forerunner of the official Pulitzer Prize) for Cornhuskers.He adds the title Film Critic to his job at the Chicago Daily News.

In the years from the publication of Chicago Poems to the day he left the Chicago Daily News, he published a dozen other works; including poetry, prose, children’s books, folk music anthologies and his biography of Lincoln’s early life, The Prairie Years.

The success of The Prairie Years allowed Sandburg to write full time. By the late 20s the family had moved to Michigan. Lillian wanted a small farm. Her skills in animal husbandry created two of her chicken breeds, both are prized even today. It was Carl’s idea that she raise dairy goats and Michigan was a much better place than the Chicago area for that. Carl would commute to Chicago on the train a few days a week.

Carl Sandburg The Prairie Years & The War YearsSandburg’s obsession with Lincoln–there was a fireproof vault in his home where he kept his Lincoln papers–drove him to finish Lincoln’s life story. The War Years, dominated his creative life until its completion in 1939. It was during this time he began to frequent Abraham Lincoln Book Shop. Carl was part of the original circle of Civil War and Lincoln enthusiasts that included authors Bruce Cat­ton, Otto Eisenschiml, E. B. ‘Pete’ Long, Stanley Horn, Lloyd Lewis, and T. Harry Williams, Illinois Governor Otto Kerner and William O. Douglas, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. The logo inside The Prairie Years inspired our logo, too.  Sandburg received his second Pulitzer Prize for the four-volume work in 1940.

The next three decades brought not only The War Years, but over 40 other titles ranging from biography, children’s books, musical anthology, poetry. Trying a new genre, his only novel, Remembrance Rock joined the list. Sandburg also garnered his first film credit during World War II. He wrote the script for Bomber, a 1941 film documentary detailing the manufacturing of warplanes.

Steichen The PhotographerSandburg was thrilled to work on projects with Edward Steichen during this era, too, Sandburg wrote the text for Steichen: The Photographer and collaborated on Road to Victory, Steichen’s World War II photographic exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art. Sandburg’s authored the interpretive panels and the companion book to the exhibit. Hastily assembled in the months following the bombing of Pearl Harbor,  it showed people how they could aid the war effort.

By 1945, the Sandburg family moved to their beloved home, Connemara, in Flat Rock, NC. It was primarily at Lillian’s desire, for the benefit of the goat farm. It had greener pastures and a longer growing season. Eventually she would found two goat breeds. Both thrive today at Connermara and are prized for their milk. Carl continued to publish poetry, prose, children’s books, and a couple of autobiographies. An elder bard of the era, his popularity only increased. His Complete Poems earned him his third Pulitzer Prize in 1951.

Edward Steichen honored his brother-in-law’s literary accomplishments In 1953. Steichen organized a photographic exhibit featuring the works of talented your imagists. The exhibit was titled Always the Young Strangers, after Sandburg’s then just-released book.

After World War II, Steichen served as the Director of Photography at the Museum of Modern Art. During his tenure, Carl wrote the text for the exhibition catalog for Steichen’s acclaimed Family of Man exhibit. Opening in 1955, this vast collection includes over 500 photos depicting life, love and death in 68 countries. The exhibit has a permanent home in northern Luxembourg.

In 1958, Sandburg appeared at the parole hearing of Nathan Leopold. Leopold’s attorney, Elmer Gertz, had defended Henry Miller and Jack Ruby. Ever the strong advocate of reform, we will never know what Sandburg said because the stenographer’s machine jammed during his testimony. However, Leopold was granted parole and shortly after left the country forever.

The World of Carl SandburgThe 1960’s saw the stage production of The World of Carl Sandburg, he even had a cameo at the end of the show. Also during the era, he campaigned tirelessly for John F. Kennedy. Mid-decade the last book in his lifetime, Honey and Salt was released, he also received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Lyndon Johnson. 

The Civil War Centennial provided ample speaking and singing invitations, too. Collecting the music he heard as he travelled gave him fodder for his three enormously popular musical anthologies. In the process, he saved a great deal of regional music from being lost forever.

Carl Sandburg died in 1967 at his beloved Connermara. His ashes are entombed at the home in Galesburg, under a boulder called Remembrance Rock. Lillian is there, too. The brick path to the rock is lined with flagstones that bear quotes from popular Sandburg poems.

Sandburg’s daughters carried on their parent’s legacies in both writing and animal husbandry. Embraced by  his hometown, Galesburg hosts Sandburg Days every spring. Connermara was the first National Park Site dedicated to a poet. It even has goats!

Two Goats

Sandburg himself would probably be most proud of Carl Sandburg College in Galesburg. Sandburg and Philip Green Wright envisioned such a college. They saw “a college, where people of all ages could learn everything from literature and art to metalworking and beekeeping.” It held its first classes in the fall of 1967; a few months after Sandburg’s death. It still has a similar mission today.

For me, he is the true 20th Century Renaissance man; a flaneur of culture. He wanders among it, collecting the things he loves, making them his own and then sharing them so we can learn to love them, too. 

Abraham Lincoln Book Shop has many wonderful Carl Sandburg items. If you come to the shop and sit on all the chairs at our round table you will surely sit in a chair that Carl occupied during one of his many visits to the book shop.

Take a look at our Carl Sandburg offerings today!

M. Sylvia Castle


Gwendolyn Brooks Centennial

Gwendolyn Brooks

Chicago is all abuzz about the Centennial of Gwendolyn Brooks’ birthday. One of the most highly regarded, highly influential, and widely read poets of 20th-century American poetry, Brooks was a much-honored poet, even in her lifetime, with the distinction of being the first black author to win the Pulitzer Prize.

Born in Topeka Kansas in 1917, she was six weeks old when her parents moved to Chicago. She would remain here until the end of her life. She sounds like many of today’s Chicagoans when she said “I am an organic Chicagoan. Living there has given me a multiplicity of characters to aspire for. I hope to live there the rest of my days. That’s my headquarters.”

Her parents encouraged her writing skills and by the young age of 13 she had published her first poem, Eventide, in a popular children’s magazine, American Childhood. By the time she was 17, the Chicago Defender would be publishing her work regularly.

George E. Kent, critic, and Professor of English at the University of Chicago, said it best when he commented that Brooks occupied “a unique position in American letters. Not only has she combined a strong commitment to racial identity and equality with a mastery of poetic techniques, but she has also managed to bridge the gap between the academic poets of her generation in the 1940s and the young black militant writers of the 1960s.”

Brooks once described her style as “folksy narrative,” but she varied her forms, using free verse, sonnets, and other models. Brooks first collection of poetry,  A Street in Bronzeville captures the  spirit and the essence of the Bronzeville neighborhood perfectly. A destination for many African-American people during the Great Migration, the neighborhood today includes the Black-Metropolis-Bronzeville District. The heart of the Chicago blues and jazz scene in the early 20th Century, this area includes many buildings included on the National Register of Historic Places, and nine buildings that appear on the Chicago Landmarks list, including the Chicago Defender Building. It is a neighborhood rich with African-American history and culture.

In 1950, Brooks received the Pulitzer Prize for poetry for her book Annie Allen. The poem traces the changes a young woman experiences as she moves from youthful dreams to the reality of married life. We see Annie Allen grow from childhood to womanhood in an atmosphere conditioned by poverty, racial discrimination, parental expectations, and unhappiness.

In 1953, her only novel, Maud Martha was published. It has been called a “fragmented, poetic narrative;” it again traces the life of a woman as she navigates the passage from childhood to adulthood in black Chicago neighbourhoods.

Just as her first poems reflected the mood of their era, her later works mirrored their time and the horror that racism, sexism and  indifference brought to the community. The title poem of her book,  In The Mecca is a heart-wrenching work that details a woman’s search for her lost child through Chicago’s Mecca Flats. The Mecca Flats was originally a posh hotel for visitors to the World Columbian Exposition, but by 1940 it had become a crowded and dangerous place; that many still called home. A victim of urban renewal, the building was demolished in 1952 to make way for the expansion of IIT.

In 1967, Brooks was commissioned to write a poem for the dedication of Chicago’s Picasso Sculpture, another Chicago institution that is enjoying an anniversary this year.

Brooks continued to work for the rest of her life. Her work matured in the direction of a stronger political stance. Brooks’ poems featured political subjects and figures, such as South African activist Winnie Mandela, the onetime wife of anti-apartheid leader—and later president of the country—Nelson Mandela.

Not just a poet, Brooks was an educator who took her mission seriously. She taught at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, City College of New York, Columbia College of Chicago, Northeastern Illinois University, and Elmhurst College. She was awarded over 75 honorary doctorates during her lifetime and won numerous literary awards.

At the time of her death in late 2000,  Ms. Brooks was the Distinguished Professor of English at Chicago State University and the Poet Laureate of Illinois, a position she had held since 1968.

There are many Gwendolyn Brooks Centennial events planned throughout the city this year. The Poetry Foundation has a comprehensive exhibit that includes Brooks’ scrapbooks, personal writings (she was a chronicler of her own life) as well and much correspondence from other African-American poets and publishing houses. Additionally, The Poetry Foundation has commissioned a play on Brooks’ life. Titled No Blue Memories: The Life of Gwendolyn Brooks, it debuts at The Harold Washington Library Center in November. Produced by Manual Cinema-a creative endeavor that is part design studio, part theatre company-the performance combines intricate paper puppetry, live actors working in shadow, and an original score. Other Chicago venues celebrating Brooks include include the Art Institute, The Newberry Library and Harold Washington Chicago Public Library.  You can learn more at Our Miss Brooks 100.

We Are ShiningOur Author’s Voice network contributed to the celebration. LadyBird & Friends featured a just released version of Brooks’ poem, We Are Shining. This powerful picture book is a celebration of the diversity of our world. Illustrated by Jan Spivey Gilchrist (our guest on the program, below), this life-affirming poem reminds all of us that “Life is for us, and it is shining. We have a right to sing.”  We have a very few signed, first edition copies of this fine book available. Order at AuthorsVoice.net.

Watch the program below:


Iannelli Bust to Be Reproduced, Displayed in Paris!

Alphonso Iannelli Abraham Lincoln Bust

One of the most rewarding parts of our jobs here are Abraham Lincoln Book Shop is the opportunity to find the right homes for the objects that come through the shop. What’s even more rewarding is learning what happens to these objects after they leave our hands.

Today’s Chicago Tribune brings us news that one of our favorite and most rewarding placements will bring joy to even more people!

While de-camping from our Chicago Ave. shop a two winters ago, we had the opportunity to place a Lincoln bust created my modernist Alphonso Iannelli. Iannelli was a student of Gutzon Borglum and has strong Chicago roots.

From 1912 to 1915, Iannelli designed posters for the vaudeville acts appearing at the Orpheum Theatre in Los Angeles. There he met Frank Lloyd Wright. In 1914, Wright convinced him to come to Chicago to work on the Midway Gardens. Iannelli is the man behind the still-popular Sprites. He designed many of the structures at the Century of Progress Chicago World’s Fair, too.

Later he opened studio with his wife, Margaret in Park Ridge IL. Together, they expanded into commercial design, advertising, product design and architectural interiors. Local venues, including his studio, and two theaters designed by him still stand today. Visitors to Chicago can see his work at the Adler Planetarium; as well as the carving at One Prudential Plaza, on Randolph St.

Alfonso and Margaret were the subject of a well-attended, months-long Messengers of Modernism exhibit at the Chicago Cultural Center in 2013. Our own M. Sylvia Castle, a fan of modernism and Chicago’s role in bringing it to the world,  attended the exhibit. Iannelli’s Park Ridge studio was acquired by the Kalo Foundation in 2001. It is now part of The Kalo Arts and Crafts Community House, a well-respected center for silversmithing and other disciplines of The Arts & Crafts movement.

Visiting the exhibit sparked her interest in The Kalo Foundation in Park Ridge, IL. Imagine her surprise when when she saw this membership brochure.

Alphonso Iannelli Abraham Lincoln Bust

She had been walking past the bust used on the brochure every, single day for years! Daniel Weinberg, the shop’s owner had acquired it from a long-shuttered gallery in Chicago’s Lincoln Square neighborhood.

Sylvia’s regular habit of attending First Fridays,  a monthly mass gallery opening the shop’s old neighborhood acquainted her with David Jameson, a dealer in modernist and architectural drawings. Jameson was also an expert in the works of Iannelli. He is the author of Alfonso Iannelli: Modern By Design. It was with David’s help that we confirmed that the Lincoln bust that had for years, welcomed visitors to the book shop, was indeed a modernist treasure.

As we started to pack and ready things for moving out of the old shop it became obvious that the best thing we could do is place as many things as we possibly could. The stress on these objects-the packing, the storing expense and environment, the unpacking-can damage them. We had spoken to the Kalo Foundation previously about the Lincoln bust; but they are a small operation with a limited budget. The move gave us all an opportunity to finally send Mr. Lincoln home to Kalo.

That brings us to today’s news. Thanks to Judy Barclay and the Paris-Chicago Sister City Committee the Iannelli bust is being replicated. The replica travelling to Paris! We are thrilled to play a small role in this success!

In his interpretation of Lincoln, Iannelli has a much different opinion of Lincoln than many of his predecessors and peers. Of the Lincoln art of the day, Iannelli said “I wish they appreciated the depth and the bigness, the loftiness of the character of Lincoln. If they did, how could they put up a building like this to commemorate him?” He was no fan of the Greco-Roman ideal that so dominated public monuments of the day.

Iannelli’s sculpture captures Lincoln as a human and not the godlike image so popular of that era. In a time dominated by formal, Romanesque renderings of Lincoln, this has an evocative, hand-wrought quality seldom seen in the early 20th Century. It is Lincoln at his informal, yet deeply serious and ponderous best. It is the very early modernist, Iannelli, deeply considering and responding to the very modern (for his era) Abraham Lincoln.

Modernism’s objective was to be a great equalizer—to bring beauty and design to the masses. The goal of Emancipation was equality—bringing freedom to the masses. Dying almost a century apart, the two men shared a mission.

Bon Voyage, Monsieur Iannelli!

Learn More About The Kalo Foundation

Learn More about the Paris replica in the Chicago Tribune.

Memorial Day at Chicago’s Rosehill Cemetery

Everett Monument Rosehill Cemetery

Yesterday was Memorial Day.

The usual story about it’s origin is that the holiday was started by Union General John Logan. Logan was commander-in-chief of a Union veterans’ organization called the Grand Army of the Republic. Logan issued a decree establishing what was then called “Decoration Day” on May 5, 1868.  The day was “designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village, and hamlet churchyard in the land.”

John Logan is a well-known Chicago figure. He has a boulevard and a neighborhood named after him; as well as a statue in Grant Park.

Another important Chicago landmark related to the Civil War is Rosehill Cemetery. Dedicated in 1864, the cemetery is the final resting place to over 350 Civil War veterans. Yesterday, as with all Memorial Days at Rosehill, was a day of honoring our soldiers from all wars. There are speeches, a parade, and a 21-gun salute. One of the most moving events in the program encourages attendees to plant flags at the graves of the soldiers.

Our own Bjorn Skaptason shared this from yesterday’s program:


Bjorn Memorial Day

The Civil War lives in every corner of Chicago, In many ways, all of us who work here are always working. Bjorn’s text from yesterday, shows that.

We all wish you and all your loved ones a joyous summer. While you’re having fun, please remember the soldiers and sailors that gave their lives for you.

Lincoln’s Journey Home

On this date 152 years ago Lincoln’s body was lying in state here in Chicago. Throughout the day-at a rate of 7,000 per hour-mourners filed past the casket paying their final respects to President Lincoln. That evening, the Lincoln Funeral Train would make the last portion of it’s journey home to Springfield, IL.

The Tribune solemnly reported, “Our father, our friend, our deliverer, is dead; the first outthrust of grief, great, overwhelming, though it were, was yet broken by the excitement of the occasion, and our subsequent wailings even have not been without sad interest.  But now that the form is forever departed, naught save the memory of the man remains, now comes the rank desolation and sorrow, which though not so demonstrative, is more affective.  The head of the nation, of the race, is gone from among us – even his form has departed.  We mourn him now as indeed gone; the place which knew him so long, shall know him no more forever.”  

Back in 2015, during the marking of the Lincoln Sesquicentennial, Abraham Lincoln Book Shop, Inc. organized and staged a commemorative event marking the anniversary of the Lincoln funeral train’s arrival in Chicago. Watch the video of our program:

Block Museum Receives Steichen Gift

Steichen and Sandburg

Followers of Carl Sandburg and his family will be happy to know that Northwestern University’s Block Museum of Art has just received a major gift of Edward Steichen’s photographs. These 44 photographs are a gift from Richard and Jackie Hollander.

These silver gelatin and platinum prints by the the iconic photographer are the second gift to the Block from the Hollanders. In 2013, they gifted the Block with 49 other Steichen photographs. The photographs were printed by the artist himself, bringing value as well as the artist’s true vision to the images.

Steichen is credited with elevating fashion photography to an art; as well as being a painter and a curator. His command of units dedicated to military photography in both World Wars helped win those wars. From Vogue to Victory, he was a “photographer’s photographer.”

Lillian Steichen, Carl Sandburg’s wife was Edward Steichen’s brother. Edward and Carl were lifelong friends. Edward went to bat for the couple when his parents objected to their University of Chicago-educated, Phi Betta Kappa daughter marrying a poet-drifter with a community organizer job. 

Sandburg wrote the text for Steichen: The Photographer and collaborated on Road to Victory, Steichen’s World War II photographic exhibit at the MOMA. Sandburg’s contribution also included writing the book that accompanied the exhibit.  Carl also wrote the text for the exhibition catalog for Steichen’s acclaimed Family of Man exhibit. Opening in 1955, this vast collection includes over 500 photos depicting life, love and death in 68 countries. The exhibit has a permanent home in northern Luxembourg, Steichen’s country of origin.

Learn more about the photographs and the Block Museum of Art.


Of Local Interest Art Young at Loyola University’s Cudahy Library

Art Young Cartoon

Anthony Mourek, long time friend, colleague and fellow Manuscript Society member, collects the political cartoons of Art Young. His collection is featured in an exhibit at the Cudahy Library, 6515 N. Kenmore Avenue, Chicago. The library is on the Lakeshore campus of Loyola University. Closing on March 31, we urge you to go see it!

Art Young (1866-1943) stood as a central figure in the most important magazines of art and politics of his time, including The Masses, The Liberator and his own brilliant, if short lived, humor magazine Good Morning. He was a contributor to Life, Puck, Judge, Metropolitan Magazine, The Nation. 

His non-factional politics and humanitarian vision, combined with a mischievously subversive sense of humor, also made Art Young uniquely capable of reaching well into the mainstream of American journalism.