News, schools, and views from a uniquely Lowell perspective
26th May 2010

Lincoln, Lowell – loved it!

posted in Books |

I went down to the Pollard Memorial Library this evening to join the Lowell Reads Lincoln discussion group, led by fellow-blogger, Richard Howe. This was an ambitious program with three books under discussion, but as it turned out, reading the book(s) was not a requirement to enjoying and participating in the conversation (due to frantic busyness, I was only halfway through one of the books). It seems that everyone has some set idea, some cherished notion or opinion, about Lincoln; perhaps, he is like our Shakespeare, just part of the air we breathe. In any case, digging down a bit beneath the folktales, legends and preconceptions made for a lively discussion, which I’m sure will be continued over on richardhowe.com. A highlight for me, besides sitting in a room with lots of historically-minded and knowledgeable folks, was the tour of the library given by one of the trustees, Rosemary Noon. I’ve been in the library tons of times, but seriously had never really noticed the portrait of George Washington hanging in the grand staircase, nor the portraits by Tarbell on the main floor (the frames are worth even more than the paintings). It was inspiring to hear how the trustees fought to retain the old building, despite pressure to move to a more efficient and convenient location. Memorial Hall on the second floor was viewed with new eyes, as we learned how it used to be before the fire (the grand chandelier, Pompeiian red walls, artwork) and how it got to be the way it is now. Learning about the Civil War murals was instructive (they came from a traveling circus!). There is a nice exhibit about Lincoln that should be seen as well as a newly restored portrait of the 16th president, positioned so he can glance over at that of the first. All in all, a great evening!

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