Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Lincoln by Augustus Saint-Gaugens

Sometimes a quest about which you read inspires your own quest. In Land of Lincoln, Andrew Ferguson tells of visiting Lincoln sites, including famous statues, around the country. Included was the Lincoln Memorial, which Bonnie and I saw this summer on our trip to the American Library Association Conference in Washington, D.C. Ferguson reminds us that there was another famous Lincoln just outside the Chicago History Museum, forty minutes from our house. So we used last Saturday to make a visit.

Neither Bonnie nor I remembered seeing the statue before. It is behind the building, not visible from any of the nearby streets. Its location would have been in front of the museum many years ago before remodeling moved the entrance to the other side of the building.

Ferguson says that this is the most famous of all Nineteenth Century Lincoln statues. (The Lincoln Memorial is Twentieth Century.) It is bigger than life and emphasizes the statesman rising up to act. Still it is a rather calm depiction of the president. It is worth seeing.

We also went into the museum, where a few Lincoln items, including the death bed, are prominently displayed. We were mostly pleased with the new permanent exhibit on Chicago history, which mixes artifacts with media. An entertaining audio-tour on iPod comes with the admission.

The bookstore has a good collection of Chicago history titles, some published by the museum. On display are numerous books that Baker and Taylor and other sources say are out of print. There are also little known books and DVDs that many Chicago libraries do not own. I need to go back with a tax letter to buy some books.

No comments: