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101 Independence Avenue SE
Washington DC   20540

February 25, 2009

Press contact: Matt Raymond (202) 707-0020,
Public contact: Susan Mordan (202) 707-9203,


Award-Winning Scholars Gather on 148th Anniversary of Lincoln’s First Inauguration

Law and politics dominated Abraham Lincoln's public life, yet being president brought little reward, for he could not escape the weight of war and the issue of racial inequality. However, his words and deeds that shaped the country continue to resonate today.

The Library is sponsoring an all-day symposium on Wednesday, March 4, from 9 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. in the Coolidge Auditorium on the ground floor of the Thomas Jefferson Building, located at 10 First St. S.E., Washington, D.C. Reservations may be sent to

Commemorating the 148th anniversary of Lincoln’s first inaugural address, Harold Holzer will present a talk at 9:30 a.m. titled “Lincoln Comes to Washington: The Journey of a President-Elect.” Holzer, co-chairman of the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission and senior vice president for external affairs at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, is author, co-author, or editor of 33 books on Lincoln and the political culture of the Civil War era.

James M. McPherson will speak on “Abraham Lincoln as Commander in Chief” at 10:30 a.m. McPherson is the author of more than 15 books on the era of the American Civil War and Reconstruction. He has won numerous prizes including the Pulitzer Prize in History for his book “Battle Cry of Freedom” and the Pritzker Award for Lifetime Achievement in Military Writing.

William Lee Miller will discuss Lincoln’s struggle to transform ideals and bring about a better understanding of freedom at 11:20 a.m. Miller is a scholar of ethics and institutions at the Miller Center of Public Affairs at the University of Virginia and the author of “President Lincoln: The Duty of a Statesman.”

At 1:30 p.m., Lucas E. Morel will present “Lincoln on Race, Equality and the Spirit of ’76.” Morel is the Garwood Visiting Research Fellow at the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions at Princeton University and the author of “Lincoln’s Sacred Effort: Defining Religion’s Role in American Self-Government.”

Lincoln’s lifelong interest in language will be the subject of a talk given at 2:30 p.m. by Douglas L. Wilson, author of “Honor’s Voice: The Transformation of Abraham Lincoln” and “Lincoln’s Sword: The Presidency and the Power of Words.”

At 3:20 p.m., Elizabeth D. Leonard will deliver the final presentation of the symposium, “Ally on the Team of Rivals: Lincoln and His Point Man for Military Justice,” in which she will discuss Judge Advocate General Joseph Holt, the president’s chief of the War Department’s Bureau of Military Justice. Leonard is the author of three books on the Civil War era, including her most recent, “Lincoln’s Avengers: Justice, Revenge, and Reunion After the Civil War.”

The symposium is featured as companion programming to the Library exhibition “With Malice Toward None: The Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Exhibition,” which opened on Feb. 12 and runs through May 9. More information can be found at The exhibition and its national tour are made possible by the generous support of Union Pacific Corp.

The Library of Congress, the nation's oldest federal cultural institution, is the world's preeminent reservoir of knowledge, providing unparalleled collections and integrated resources to Congress and the American people. Many of the Library’s rich resources and treasures may also be accessed through the Library’s Web site and via interactive exhibitions on a new, personalized Web site at

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