The Story Behind Lincoln Memorial University and Wayne’s Visit

In 1863, President Lincoln, in conversation with Union General Oliver O. Howard, expressed a desire to do something to help the people of East Tennessee. He wished to give thanks to those persons, whom remained loyal to the Union in Tennessee, despite the state’s greater secession.

The end result of that conversation, thanks to the recollection of General Howard, is Lincoln Memorial University, located in the town of Harrogate in Claiborne County, Tennessee, chartered by the State of Tennessee on February 12, 1897, Lincoln’s 88th birthday.

The memorial, which is a functioning university, named to honor the 16th President, houses the Abraham Lincoln Library and Museum. The museum is now home to one of the largest memorials to the life of Abraham Lincoln in the world, housing collections of artifacts, books and manuscripts related to Lincoln and his presidency.

Appreciation and recognition goes to former Union General Howard and a group of people who together, wanted to honor the memory of the late president, and through their efforts and commitment, founded Lincoln Memorial University, intended as a living memorial.

As part of Wayne’s project research, he visited the University and met first with, Gary Wade of the Duncan School of Law, who had commissioned the bronze statue. Wayne then was given a tour of the Abraham Lincoln Library and Museum.

One of the precious artifacts in the museum is the cane that Lincoln carried with him to the Ford Theatre on that tragic and fateful night. Others include a life mask of Lincoln, plus one of his hands, done by Leonard Volk, in April 1860, in Chicago, Illinois. Lincoln apparently found the process, which took over an hour,  “Anything but agreeable.”

All research conducted brings the artist closer to his subject and enables emotion and sentiment to show in the art.

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