Captain Amy Bauernschmidt, who assumed command of the USS Abraham Lincoln last year and made history on January 3, 2022, when the USS Abraham Lincoln became the, “first-ever U.S. aircraft carrier skippered by a woman. The ship departed with its strike group for a regularly scheduled deployment in support of global maritime security operations.” Capt. Bauernschmidt, who is originally from Milwaukee, had another first aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln. In 2016, she made history as, “the first female executive officer aboard a carrier.” The Foundation has ties to the USS Abraham Lincoln. In 2017, nearly 100 items from the Foundation’s collection were generously underwritten by Colonel J.N. Pritzker and donated for display aboard the carrier as the COL (IL) Jennifer N. Pritzker, IL ARNG (Retired) collection.
In recognition of National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month, we’re sharing the story of John Boston. Boston had been enslaved in Owensville, Maryland but succeeded in escaping to Union lines and to his freedom in January 1862. He wrote to his wife Elizabeth to share that he was free and safe with the “14th Regiment of Brooklyn.” In his letter, he expresses his fervent hope of a reunion with her saying, “My Dear I Cant express my grate desire that i Have to See you i trust the time Will Come When We Shal meet again And if We dont met on earth We Will Meet in heven Whare Jesas ranes.” He begs her to write to him soon, explaining how to get a letter to him. He closes by asking her to “Kiss Daniel For me.” and “Give my love to Father and Mother.” Lamentably, according to the National Archives and Records Administration, there is no evidence Mr. Boston’s letter made it to his dear wife. Instead, the letter eventually made its way to Secretary of War Edwin Stanton.
Matthew Brady, the “Father of Photojournalism” in recognition of World Photography Day on August 19th. Brady’s portrait photography—which included former President’s Taylor and Fillmore, in addition to Abraham Lincoln—and his studio’s battlefield photography have had a tremendous impact on how the war is viewed. The way Brady’s New York photography exhibit, “The Dead of Antietam” brought the horrors of war into sharp focus for the American public was unprecedented. https://www.battlefields.org/learn/biographies/mathew-brady
Victor David Brenner, in recognition of Jewish-American Heritage Month in May. 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. For more about the history of the Lincoln penny’s design: https://www.treasury.gov/about/education/pages/lincoln-cent.aspx
Robert Burns, in recognition of “Burns Night,” which takes places on January 25th, the famed Scottish poet’s birthday. The first “Burns Supper” as it is also sometimes known, was held in 1801, five years after the poet died. “Auld Lang Syne” is amongst the poet’s most famous and enduring works. Abraham Lincoln attended a Burns Night celebration in Springfield, IL in 1859, 100 years after Robert Burns was born. At the time it was reported that the, "supper was splendid and abundant, and was well attended. The toasts offered on this occasion were most appropriate, and were responded to by some of the most talented men of the state, among whom were, Abraham Lincoln….” In January 1865, Lincoln wrote a message for the 106th celebration of the birth of Robert Burns. His note stated, "I can not frame a toast to Burns. I can say nothing worthy of his generous heart, and transcendent genius.”
Sarah Bush Johnston Lincoln, in recognition of International Literacy Day (September 8) and National Step Family Day (September 16). According to the National Park Service, after Sarah married Thomas Lincoln and moved her children to his home in Indiana, she, “soon discovered that her new stepson was very intelligent and had a passion for knowledge; he was especially fond of reading. Consequently, her gift to him of three books left an indelible impression on him. Not only was it a priceless treasure to a boy who loved to read on a frontier where books were scarce, but it was an indication to him that Sarah would pick up where his mother had left off in terms of encouraging his quest for knowledge. The two quickly developed a close, intimate, mother-son relationship that would continue for the rest of Abraham's life.”