Marvin Library Learning Commons

"Lincoln: The Constitution and the Civil War" Exhibition

President Abraham Lincoln.
President Abraham Lincoln.
Image Courtesy of Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division

This portrait was used as a model for the engraved bust of Abraham Lincoln that appeared on the United States five dollar bill for many years.

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"Lincoln: The Constitution and the Civil War," a traveling national exhibition, will be on display in the Marvin Library Learning Commons from Friday, Jan. 18 through Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013. This exhibition explores how Lincoln used the U.S. Constitution to confront three intertwined crises of the Civil War -- the secession of Southern states, slavery, and wartime civil liberties.

Open to the public free of charge during regular library hours, the exhibition is located in the library's Troy Savings Bank Charitable Foundation Atrium.

An Opening Reception for the exhibition will be held on Tuesday, Jan. 29 from noon to 1 p.m. in the Troy Savings Bank Charitable Foundation Atrium of the Marvin Library Learning Commons. All are invited to attend. This reception follows the lecture, "How a Railroad Lawyer Became the Great Emancipator," by Dr. Paul Finkelman. Read below for more information.

A list of library resources related to the exhibition is available.

All are welcome to attend related scheduled programs. School groups are requested to contact the library before planning a visit to the exhibition. Please email or call (518) 629-7333 to make arrangements for group visits.

Lincoln: the Constitution and the Civil War, a traveling exhibition for libraries, was organized by the National Constitution Center and the American Library Association Public Programs Office. The traveling exhibition has been made possible by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Lincoln: the Constitution and the Civil War is based on an exhibition of the same name developed by the National Constitution Center.

ALA American Library Association National Endowment for the Humanities
National Constitution Center

Related Programs

How a Railroad Lawyer Became the Great Emancipator
Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2013
11 - 11:50 a.m.
Bulmer Telecommunications Center Auditorium

Was President Lincoln really the “Great Emancipator”? Did he free the slaves? Why did he wait so long to issue the Emancipation Proclamation? Internationally recognized American legal history expert and dynamic speaker Dr. Paul Finkelman, of Albany Law School, examines Lincoln’s road to issuing the Emancipation Proclamation. Finkelman considers the political and constitutional constraints on Lincoln, as well as the impact of the military progress of the Civil War on his decision to issue the Emancipation Proclamation.

Opening Reception "Lincoln: The Constitution and the Civil War" Exhibition
Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2013
Noon - 1 p.m.

Troy Savings Bank Charitable Foundation Atrium in the Marvin Library Learning Commons

All are invited to attend.

Freedom’s Eve: The Tradition of the Watch Night Service
Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2013
Noon - 12:50 p.m.
Bulmer Telecommunications Center Auditorium

As we recognize the 150th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, many African-American churches continue to celebrate the Watch Night service in commemoration of the night before the Emancipation Proclamation took effect on January 1, 1863. The Reverend Dr. Edward B. Smart, pastor of the “First” Israel AME Church in Albany, speaks about the tradition of the Watch Night service and its historical link to Freedom’s Eve. He draws from Dr. Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech, the experience of his own church community and that of the wider African-American community through the ages.

"The Capital Region's Role in the Story of the U.S.S. Monitor"
Monday, Feb. 11, 2013
6:30 p.m.
Troy Public Library, 100 2nd Street, Troy

The famous 1862 Civil War encounter between the U.S.S. Monitor and the C.S.S. Virginia, popularly known as the Battle of the Monitor and the Merrimac, is generally agreed to be the world's first military engagement between two ironclad vessels. The circumstances of this battle changed the course of naval warfare and eventually rendered the wooden warship obsolete. Dr. P. Thomas Carroll, executive director of the Hudson Mohawk Industrial Gateway in Troy, discusses the making of the U.S.S. Monitor and the battle that would not have happened had the ship not been constructed in record time in late 1861 and early 1862. Nearly the entire ship was made in New York State, with the Capital Region playing a central role in lobbying for it, financing it, fabricating its parts and supplying its crew. The tale of its construction and deployment involves Abraham Lincoln and has some of the most improbable twists imaginable, making it one of the most colorful accounts in the history of naval warfare. Dr. Carroll's slide-illustrated lecture recounts in vivid detail the local elements of that story.

Lincoln’s Five Key Decisions
Thursday, Feb. 21, 2013
1 pm - 1:50 p.m.
Bulmer Telecommunications Center Auditorium

Seth Bongartz, executive director of Hildene, The Lincoln Family Home in Manchester, Vermont, focuses on five key decisions Abraham Lincoln made during his presidency and how those decisions are evidence of his extraordinary effort to save the Union. Bongartz illustrates Lincoln’s unparalleled combination of intellect, good sense and leadership.

African-American Troops in the Civil War
Monday, Feb. 25, 2013
11 a.m.
Bulmer Telecommunications Center Auditorium

As participants in many major Civil War battles, African-Americans endured individual and institutional racism. Dr. Allen Ballard, professor of History and Africana Studies at the University at Albany, will explore the role of African-American troops in the war. As part of his presentation, he will read a selection from his historical novel, "Where I'm Bound," a fictional account of the experiences of an African-American regiment in the Union Army. Ballard is the author of another novel, "Carried By Six," two non-fiction books, "The Education of Black Folk" and "One More Day's Journey: The Story of a Family and a People," and, most recently, a memoir titled "Breaching Jericho's Walls: A Twentieth-Century African American Life." His articles have appeared in scholarly and popular journals, including The New York Times Magazine.

Lincoln Log Building Contest
Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013
Entries due by 8 a.m.
Marvin Library Learning Commons

Students in grades K-8 may use Lincoln Logs to build a version of Abraham Lincoln's boyhood log cabin or another style of historic cabin or building from the period of Lincoln's life. See the contest announcement for a full description. Submit an entry form with your completed structure. Entries will be on display through March 5.

Lincoln’s Other Address: Making Over the Hildene Farm in Manchester, Vermont
Tuesday, March 5, 2013
Noon - 12:50 p.m.
Bulmer Telecommunications Center Auditorium

Mark Lee Wesner, of Keefe & Wesner Architects in North Bennington, Vermont, discusses the recent historic preservation projects at Hildene, The Lincoln Family Home in nearby Manchester. The surviving members of the Lincoln family spent a good deal of time in Vermont and left a lasting legacy of buildings and small-scale farming. Hildene is now an educational center of ecology, sustainable farming, cheese making and history.