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Press Release
November 4, 2008

The National Archives Celebrates Lincoln’s Bicentennial

Special programs, speakers, events and document displays mark 200th anniversary of birth

Washington, DC…The National Archives will celebrate the 200th anniversary of President Abraham Lincoln’s birth throughout 2009 with special films, public programs, lectures and document displays that will provide historical insight into Lincoln's effect on such things as the Constitution, the Emancipation Proclamation and his legacy as commander in chief. These events are free and open to the public and will be held at the National Archives Building in Washington, DC, which is located on the National Mall at Constitution Avenue and 7th Street, NW, and is fully accessible.

The highlight of the year-long celebration of Lincoln's birthday will be a special display of the original Emancipation Proclamation signed by President Lincoln, over the Presidents' Day holiday, from Thursday, February 12 through Monday, February 16, in the National Archives East Rotunda Gallery. The special display of the original Emancipation Proclamation is free and open to the public.

Saturday, January 17, 2009 - Film: Abraham Lincoln
Noon, William G. McGowan Theater

Thursday, January 22, 2009 - Lecture: Giants: The Parallel Lives of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln
Noon, William G. McGowan Theater
This work stands apart from traditional biographies as author John Stauffer discusses how these two men made themselves, and how in many ways they defined each other and their times through use of language, self-education, hard work, compromise, persuasion, and an intuitive genius for politicking.

Saturday, February 7, 2009 - Lincoln Family Day
Noon–3:00 p.m.
Hands-on activities featuring the life and times of Abraham Lincoln.

Monday, February, 9, 2009 - Lecture: Lincoln the Inventor
Noon, Washington Room
Jason Emerson is the first historian to treat the subject of Abraham Lincoln’s invention of “a device to buoy vessels over shoals” and its subsequent patent as more than a historical footnote while also delving into the ramifications of Lincoln’s intellectual curiosity and inventiveness and how he even encouraged the creation of new weapons for the Union during the Civil War. To understand Lincoln the inventor, is to better understand Lincoln the man.

Thursday, February 12, 2009 - Lecture and discussion with Senator George McGovern on Abraham Lincoln
6:00 p.m., William G. McGowan Theater
Author discussion with Senator George McGovern speaking on his book, Abraham Lincoln, the latest in the Times Books American Presidents series. Series editor Sean Wilentz will join Senator McGovern in the discussion.

**February 12-16, 2009 - Featured Document Display: The Emancipation Proclamation**

Thursday, February 12 through Monday, February 16, 2009
National Archives East Rotunda Gallery

In celebration of Lincoln's birthday and the Presidents' Day holiday, the National Archives will display the original Emancipation Proclamation signed by President Lincoln. The special display of the Emancipation Proclamation is free and open to the public.

President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863, during the American Civil War, formally proclaiming the freedom of all slaves held in areas still in revolt. The issuance of this Proclamation clarified and strengthened the position of the Union government, decreased the likelihood of European support of the Confederacy and, as the Union armies extended their occupation of the southern states, brought freedom to the slaves in those states. The Proclamation invited black men to join the Union Army and Navy, resulting in the enlistment of approximately 200,000 freed slaves and free black people before the War's end.

Although the Emancipation Proclamation did not end slavery in the nation, it placed the issue squarely on top of the wartime agenda. It added moral force to the Union cause and was a significant milestone leading to the ratification of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution in 1865, formally outlawing slavery throughout the nation.

The Emancipation Proclamation linked the preservation of American constitutional government to the end of slavery and has come to take its place with the great documents of freedom.

Saturday, February, 14, 2009 - Film: Young Mr. Lincoln
Noon, William G. McGowan Theater

Wednesday, March 4, 2009 - Lecture: The Great Comeback: How Abraham Lincoln Beat the Odds to Win the 1860 Republican Nomination
Noon, Jefferson Room
After his loss to Stephen Douglas in the 1858 senatorial campaign, Lincoln was in despair and taking stock of his life. Author Gary Ecelbarger takes us on a journey with Abraham Lincoln from the last weeks of 1858 until the end of May in 1860, on the road to his unlikely presidential nomination.

Saturday, March, 28, 2009 - Film: The Prisoner of Shark Island
Noon, William G. McGowan Theater

Wednesday, April 8, 2009 - Lecture: Lincoln and the Speeds
Noon, Jefferson Room
Author Bryan S. Bush tells the story of the close friendship between brothers Joshua and James Speed and Abraham Lincoln and how the three men worked together to preserve the Union, even though they followed different paths. After Lincoln’s death, the Speeds helped to preserve his legacy.

Thursday, April 16, 2009 - Lecture: The Lincoln Conspirators:  Their Confinement and Execution as Recorded in the Letterbook of John Frederick Hartranft
7:00 p.m., William G. McGowan Theater
Author discussion with Harold Holzer and Edward Steers, Jr., editors of prison commander John Frederick Hartranft’s account of the confinement of the Lincoln assassination conspirators, while they were incarcerated at the Washington Arsenal in 1865.

Saturday, April 25, 2009 - Film: The Littlest Rebel
Noon, William G. McGowan Theater

Saturday, May 16, 2009 - Film: Abe Lincoln in Illinois
Noon, William G. McGowan Theater

Saturday, June 13, 2009 - Film: National Treasure II
Noon, William G. McGowan Theater

Related Exhibitions

"BIG-Celebrating the 75th Anniversary of the National Archives"

To celebrate a big anniversary--our 75th--the National Archives presents an exhibition featuring big records, big events, and big ideas. The exhibition opens on March 13, 2009, in the Lawrence F. O'Brien Gallery, and will run through January 3, 2010. "BIG" features architect John Russell Pope's proposal for a monument to Lincoln, and a photo of Lincoln at Gettysburg the day he delivered the Gettysburg Address. The photo is included with a map of Gettysburg that measures roughly 13'x13'.

Discovering the Civil War

The celebration will continue in 2010, with “Discovering the Civil War” -- a new two-part exhibition in the Lawrence F. O'Brien Gallery. Part A of the exhibition will open in March, 2010. Part B will open in September, 2010.

Public Vaults permanent exhibition

The Public Vaults exhibition of the National Archives Experience features a Lincoln telegram, an image of Lincoln and his general after Antietam, a facsimile of all five pages of the Emancipation Proclamation, a letter congratulating Lincoln on his re-election, and an interactive exhibit about the Lincoln assassination and the Booth conspiracy.

To verify the date and times of the programs, the public should call the Public Programs Line at: (202) 357-5000, or view the Calendar of Events online. To contact the National Archives, please call 1-866-272-6272 or 1-86-NARA-NARA (TDD) 301-837-0482.

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For Press information, contact the National Archives Public Affairs staff at (202) 357-5300.

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