Purpose of this Blog...

You may have noticed that not all books are equal in capturing children's imaginations and in cultivating those innocent, tender souls. My goal is to help you find the ones that do!
(Painting by Mary Cassatt: "Mrs Cassatt Reading to her Grandchildren" -1888)

Monday, September 1, 2014

Traveling In Lincoln's Footsteps

I was born in Illinois, living there until first grade, and was always proud to know that Abraham Lincoln, though born in Kentucky, lived much of his life in my home state before becoming our 16th President.  I moved away from Illinois without ever having visited a home he lived in. It took a road trip back to the mid-west, with our little grandson in tow, to finally get there!
At a fun coffee shop across the street from the Lincoln
Home National Historical Site in Springfield, IL.
We were able to make a stop at the only home Abraham Lincoln ever bought when we visited The Lincoln Home and Neighborhood in Springfield, Illinois, where he practiced law.  We found it fascinating to follow in the footsteps of Abraham Lincoln while exploring the beautifully restored historic neighborhood homes surrounding his home of seventeen years.

Below is a photo of the house, that I took from the same vantage point as the black and white photo (taken in 1860) in which you see Abraham Lincoln and his son standing behind the wrought iron fence.

The house was originally constructed in 1839 as a one-and-a-half story cottage.  It was later expanded by the Lincolns into a two-story house with corner columns, moulding and other Greek revival features, to accommodate their growing family.  The Lincolns lived in this house from 1844 until Lincoln's election as President in 1860.

We stopped by the museum gift shop, which was full of books about Lincoln's life.  Go here to read about two exceptional picture books I reviewed about Abraham Lincoln in a past blog post.

Did you know...?
In 1860, eleven-year-old Grace Bedell wrote to Lincoln suggesting he grow a beard: "let your whiskers grow...you would look a great deal better for your face is so thin. All the ladies like whiskers and they would tease their husbands to vote for you and then you would be President."
Last beardless photo - August 13, 1860
The President-Elect responded, "As to the whiskers, have never worn any. Do you not think people would call it a silly affection if I were to begin it now?" 
Photograph taken two days before
he left Springfield en route to Washington, DC,
for his inauguration - February 9, 1861
Well, the next time he visited his barber William Florville, he announced, "Billy, let's give them a chance to grow." By the time he began his inaugural journey by rail from Illinois to Washington, D.C., he had a full beard.  [source and more photos: go here]

In 1909, President Lincoln appeared on a one-cent coin and became the first American president to have his face appear on a regular-issue American coin.
Go here for more information, photos, and virtual tours of the Lincoln Home.

Travel Tip:  Stop in for food, fun decor and art, and great coffee at Wm. Van's Coffee, right across the street from the Lincoln Home historical site.
If you're interested in visiting more Lincoln sites, there are quite a few places that you can visit, as outlined in the book In Lincoln's Footsteps: A Historical Guide to the Lincoln Sites in Illinois, Indiana, and Kentucky.


  1. I ♥ that wood portrait of Lincoln that is in the shape of the state of Illinois!

    1. Martha, I'm embarrassed to say I didn't even realize it was in the shape of the state until you left this comment. Thanks for pointing that out! :) It was a stunning work of art.