Traveling "Abraham Lincoln: Self-Made in America" exhibit comes to Downtown Los Angeles Federal Courthouse

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A traveling exhibit titled “Abraham Lincoln: Self-Made in America” will be on display from December 8, 2011 to February 14, 2012 in the foyer of the Edward R. Roybal Federal Building and Courthouse located at 255 East Temple Street in downtown Los Angeles. Presented by the Ninth Judicial Circuit Historical Society and the Central District of California, the exhibit was created by the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum to commemorate the 200th anniversary of our 16th President’s birth. The exhibit covers Lincoln’s childhood, his self-education, his careers as a surveyor and lawyer, his family life, the Lincoln-Douglas debates, the 1860 Presidential election, the Civil War, the 13th Amendment, the Emancipation Proclamation, his assassination, and other important periods and events in his life. The reproduction artifacts on display, all modeled from originals in the Presidential Library, include some of Lincoln’s favorite books; his son Tad’s toy cannon; the nameplate from his Springfield home; his stovepipe hat, which he used as a briefcase to hold important papers; a Presidential campaign banner; an axe that he used to chop wood; the bloody gloves found in his pocket the night of his assassination; and many other unique and interesting items. The exhibit will be open to the public during the Edward R. Roybal Federal Building and Courthouse’s normal operating hours, 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding court-observed holidays.

In conjunction with the exhibit, six letters written by Lincoln will be on display at the nearby U.S. Courthouse at 312 North Spring Street. The letters, which have been reproduced from the Huntington Library’s vast collection, include an 1838 letter to a friend describing a young woman’s rebuff of his marriage proposal; an 1848 letter confirming a loan of money to his father; an 1854 letter describing a case Lincoln handled for the Illinois Central Railroad; an 1862 letter of recommendation; a comment on slavery written in 1864 for a charity auction; and an 1864 letter to General Ulysses S. Grant expressing Lincoln’s confidence. The letters will be on display in the Main Street lobby of the courthouse, alongside a statue of the young Lincoln by sculptor James Hansen that is permanently housed there. The display will be available to the public during the Spring Street Courthouse’s normal operating hours, 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding court-observed holidays.

Terry Nafisi

District Court Executive