Before he became our 16th president, Abraham Lincoln was a lawyer in Springfield where he gained a considerable reputation as a courtroom advocate and orator.
A virtual tour of the state capitol as Lincoln would have known it will be the focus of a talk at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Oak Lawn Public Library, 9427 Raymond Ave.
Nancy McCully will take people on a slide show tour of Lincoln's home, the old state capital, law office and the train depot. McCully also will venture outside of Springfield to New Salem, where he lived as a young man, and Lincoln's tomb, which rests just outside the city. Information on the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum also will be part of the program. The talk is free and open to the public.
The presentation is part of series of programs folded around an traveling exhibition "Abraham Lincoln: Self-Made in America," that will be at the library through early October. The six-panel display is in the periodicals section on the second floor of the library.
This traveling exhibit, which opened in July, describes in pictures and documents the president's life from his birth to his election in 1860, the Civil War and his assassination. Replicas of artifacts are also present, including a draft of the Emancipation Proclamation, a stove-pipe hat where Lincoln kept his legal documents and notes for his speeches, lists of candidates for president in 1860 and the gloves he wore on that fateful night at Ford's Theatre on April 14, 1865.
The exhibition was developed by the Lincoln Library and made available to all institutions in the U.S., said Kevin Korst, the public library's local history coodinator.
Nearly two years ago, the library learned that the museum was promoting this exhibit; staff began talking about and gathering support to bring it to Oak Lawn, Korst said. A spot was secured in January 2011, he said. Reception so far has been great.
While Lincoln had no direct connection to Oak Lawn itself, this exhibition and all of the programs were a good way to broaden the horizons of residents.
"A lot of people may not like the subject of the Civil War, but they like Lincoln, he said. "It was a good opportunity to bring in something that a lot of people are interested in," he said.
Highlights of other events include movies, talks, a presentation by two reenactors of the lives of Lincoln and his wife, Mary, at the end of the Civil War and a trip to Springfield to see the library and other Lincoln sites. To see the complete list of programs, please read the PDF. All events are free.
For more information, call the library at 708-422-4990 or click here to get to the library's website.