Eisenhower as President on Abraham Lincoln Applauds "...a knowledge of Lincoln's greatness"
Two page typed letter signed, 7.25" x 10.25", on White House letterhead. Dated "September 16, 1960", and boldly signed by President Eisenhower with a large 4.5" signature as "Dwight Eisenhower". Accompanied by the original mailing envelope, 7.25" x 3.75". Matted together with two windows to a completed size of 18.5" x 14", with top mat remainging loosely placed.
A phenomenal association letter from President Eisenhower to William Townsend discussing the success and completion of the Lincoln Sesquicentennial Commission. In 1957, Townsend was appointed to the Lincoln Sesquicentennial Commission by former President Dwight D. Eisenhower, and was the renowned authority on Abraham Lincoln including writing 5 books on him, "Lincoln and the Bluegrass: Slavery and Civil War in Kentucky;" "Lincoln, the Litigant," and "Abraham Lincoln, Defendant." The commission was organized to commemorate honoring the memory of Lincoln's life and accomplishments on his 150th anniversary of his birth.
At an early meeting, the Commission set forth three objectives:
- To stimulate Lincoln observance throughout the year by public and private bodies
- To encourage and to undertake itself contributions of lasting value
- To emphasize the contribution of Lincoln's thought, ideals, and actions to the United States and the world
Congress resolved that "it is incumbent upon us as a Nation to provide for the proper observance of the birth of this great man."
If a reason for celebrating the life of Abraham Lincoln needs recording, it is this: he was truly a great man. He influenced the course of history. His wisdom and innate faith in his countrymen enabled him, as President of the United States, to lead the Nation safely through the horrors of a civil war and then to "bind up the Nation's wounds" and look toward national unity.
Eisenhower's letter to Townsend is shown in part below:
"The completion of the work of the Lincoln Sesquicentennial Commission bring to mind the many accomplishments of the Commission that will make 1959 a memorable year for Lincoln scholars and admirers of Lincoln everywhere … The school and college programs implanted in many youthful, impressionable minds a knowledge of Lincoln's greatness that should mold character and inspire better citizenship …
In short, the Commission has done much to respond to, and to deepen, the interest which people everywhere have in Lincoln's ideals and in Lincoln as the "Symbol of the Free Man .."
In an address to Sangamon County, March 9, 1832, Abraham Lincoln declared: "Every man is said to have his peculiar ambition. Whether it be true or not, I can say for one that I have no other so great as that of being truly esteemed by my fellow men, by rendering myself worthy of their esteem. How far I shall succeed in gratifying this ambition, is yet to be developed."
We believe that Lincoln obtained his humble wish!
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