Forever Free: Abraham Lincoln’s Journey to Emancipation

image “Forever Free” is a traveling exhibition that reexamines President Lincoln’s efforts toward the abolition of slavery during the Civil War. Organized by The Huntington’s John Rhodehamel, Norris Foundation Curator of American Historical Manuscripts, the exhibit consists of reproductions of rare historical documents from The Huntington’s collections and those of the Gilder Lehrman Institute, and draws on the latest scholarship in the field.

Each copy consists of six sections of panels running 75 feet in length. Each panel contains reproductions of rare historical documents, period photographs, and illustrative material, such as engravings, lithographs, cartoons, and political ephemera. The sections of the exhibition focus on young Lincoln’s America, the House dividing, war for the Union, the Emancipation Proclamation, the role of black soldiers in the Civil War, and the final months of the Civil War and Lincoln’s life. Two copies of the exhibit are traveling to 40 libraries around the country between September 2003 and February 2006.

Thanks to funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission external link, two additional copies of the exhibit will travel to a total of 63 libraries from September 2006 through May 2010.

Libraries selected for the tour will host the exhibition for a six-week period. Participating libraries are expected to present at least one program for library patrons and community members that features a lecture/discussion by a scholar on exhibition themes. All showings of the exhibition will be free and open to the public.

“Forever Free” is organized by The Huntington Library external link and the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History external link in cooperation with the ALA Public Programs Office and funded by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities external link (NEH).


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