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Summers with Lincoln: Looking for the Man in the Monuments [NOOK Book]

Overview


Across the country, in the middle of busy city squares and hidden on quiet streets, there are nearly 200 statues erected in memory of Abraham Lincoln. No other American has ever been so widely commemorated.A few years ago, anticipating the bicentennial of Lincoln's birth in 2009, Jim Percoco, a history teacher with a passion for both Lincoln and public sculpture, set off to see what he might learn about some of these monuments—what they meant when they were unveiled, and what they mean to us today. The result is...
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Summers with Lincoln: Looking for the Man in the Monuments

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Overview


Across the country, in the middle of busy city squares and hidden on quiet streets, there are nearly 200 statues erected in memory of Abraham Lincoln. No other American has ever been so widely commemorated.A few years ago, anticipating the bicentennial of Lincoln's birth in 2009, Jim Percoco, a history teacher with a passion for both Lincoln and public sculpture, set off to see what he might learn about some of these monuments—what they meant when they were unveiled, and what they mean to us today. The result is this captivating book, a fascinating chronicle of four summers on the road looking for Lincoln stories in statues of marble and bronze. Of all the monuments, Percoco selects seven emblematic ones. He begins and ends the journey in Washington, starting with Thomas Ball's Emancipation Group, erected east of the Capitol in 1876 with private funds from African Americans, and dedicated by Frederick Douglass. Here, Percoco and his multi-ethnic band of teenage historians explore the impact of this Freedman's Monument showing Lincoln and a kneeling freed bondsperson. What does the statute say about race and freedom to today's Americans? What did Ball—and his sponsors—want it to say? From Augustus Saint-Gaudens's majestic Standing Lincoln of 1887 in Chicago, which helped move our image of Lincoln from great emancipator to that of statesman to Paul Manship's 1932 Lincoln the Hoosier Youth, in Fort Wayne, Indiana, which glows with an art deco sleekness, Percoco mines a wealth of Lincoln legacies—and our reactions to them expressed across generations. Here are controversial gems like Barnard's 1917 tribute in Cincinnati and Borglum's Seated Lincoln, struggling withthe pain of leadership, beckoning visitors to sit next to him on his metal bench in Newark, New Jersey. At each stop, Percoco chronicles the history of each monument, spotlighting its artistic, social, political, and cultural origins. His descriptions of works so often seen as clichés tease fresh meaning from mute stone and cold metal—raising provocative questions not just about who Lincoln might have been, but also about what we've wanted him to be in the monuments we've built.
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Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal

More statues exist of Abraham Lincoln than of any other American public figure. The nationwide fervor for erecting monuments in honor of the fallen President continued from after his death until at least the Great Depression. Percoco ( history, West Springfield H.S., Virginia) shows how he has used these Lincoln monuments as a means of incorporating his fascination with public sculpture into his school curriculum with admirable results. With a small group of teenaged students, he visited seven of these Lincoln statues, in places like Washington, DC, Newark, NJ, Chicago, Fort Wayne, and Cincinnati, each piece depicting a different artistic view of the President-e.g., youthful visionary, emancipator, statesman. The group examined newspaper accounts of the monuments' funding, creation, and dedications, learning that many of the sculptors were more concerned with their own egos than their art. Lincoln's only surviving son, Robert, was critical of many of the finished pieces, calling George Grey Barnard's statue in Cincinnati a "grotesque" likeness. Percoco's narrative is both engaging and thought-provoking, a wonderful example of classroom lessons brought to the streets of our hometowns. Recommended for all libraries as the Lincoln birth bicentennial draws near.-Susan Belsky, Oshkosh P.L., WI

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780823228973
  • Publisher: Fordham University Press
  • Publication date: 2/15/2008
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 224
  • File size: 2 MB

Meet the Author

James A. Percoco is an award-winning history teacher at West Springfield High School,in Springfield, Virginia, and is History Educator-in-Residence at the American University. He is a member of the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission's Advisory Board.
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Table of Contents

Foreword   Harold Holzer     xi
Preface     xix
Acknowledgments     xxxi
List of Photographs     xxxv
Charlotte's Seed: Thomas Ball's Emancipation Group / Freedmen's Monument (1876), Washington, D.C.     1
The Hero of Hoosierdom: Paul Manship's Lincoln the Hoosier Youth (1932), Fort Wayne, Indiana     31
A Different Kind of Civil War: George Grey Barnard's Lincoln (1917), Cincinnati, Ohio     49
Contemplative Statesmanship: Augustus Saint-Gaudens's Standing Lincoln (1887), Chicago, Illinois     89
Lincoln of Gethsemane: Gutzon Borglum's Seated Lincoln (1911), Newark, New Jersey     119
Lincoln the Mystic: James Earle Fraser's Lincoln (1930), Jersey City, New Jersey     145
A Lincoln for the Masses: Daniel Chester French's Seated Lincoln (1922), Washington, D.C.     175
Afterword     205
Other Lincoln Memorials of Note     207
State-by-State Breakdown of Lincoln Sculptures     219
Notes     221
Bibliography     227
Index     235
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