Erin Carlson Mast
Foundation President & CEO
We hope you enjoyed the program about Kate Warne, the first female detective with the Pinkerton Detective Agency in the United States. If you missed the program, you can view the recording here. Warne may be a lesser known figure in history, but her critical role in uncovering the “Baltimore Plot” to assassinate Abraham Lincoln prior to his taking the oath of office cannot be overstated. For the first time in American history, the peaceful transfer of power from one president to another, a hallmark of the American experiment in representative government, was threatened by violence and secession. Warne was on the frontline, ensuring the new, duly elected President, would be inaugurated.
What we’re reading in May:
Drum-Taps, by Walt Whitman was published 156 years ago this month. Two poems that served as elegies to Abraham Lincoln, “When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom'd" and "O Captain! My Captain!" were originally published later that year as a Sequel to Drum-Taps. Subsequent printings combined the volumes into one Drum-Taps.
The Kate Warne program inspired us to re-read Doug Waller’s book, Lincoln’s Spies: Their Secret War to Save a Nation.
In preparation for the upcoming program with Jon White next week, we’re also reading Midnight in America: Darkness, Sleep, and Dreams during the Civil War.
What Abraham Lincoln read in May: King John, by William Shakespeare. On Friday, May 9, 1862, in the area of Fort Monroe, Virginia, President Lincoln read aloud from Shakespeare’s King John to Colonel LeGrand B. Cannon, who wrote about the experience in his memoir.
History Spotlight on Victor David Brenner and Joseph Pierce in recognition of May being both Jewish American Heritage Month and Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month!
Victor David Brenner is best known as the Lithuanian Jewish-American artist who designed the Lincoln one cent. Having first circulated in 1909, the Lincoln image on the observe is reportedly the “longest-running design in United States Mint history, and perhaps the most reproduced piece of art in world history.” In addition to potentially being the most reproduced piece of art in the world, it may well be the furthest traveled, too. A 1909 Lincoln penny was used by Nasa on Mars as a calibration target. You can read more about the history of the Lincoln penny’s design here: https://www.treasury.gov/about/education/pages/lincoln-cent.aspx
Joseph Pierce, whose adoptive father Amos Peck brought him to the United States from China, enlisted in the Union Army in July 1862. His service included major campaigns such as Antietam, Gettysburg, and Lee’s surrender at Appomattox Court House. The United States House of Representatives passed a resolution honoring Pierce’s actions and those of other Asian American and Pacific Islander Civil War soldiers. You can read the full resolution here: https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/110/hres415/text
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