In the News
Hildene Announces Statewide Lincoln Essay Competition Winners
The winners of the 2013 Hildene Lincoln Essay Competition were selected from 145 entries submitted by eighth grade public, independent and home study students coming from 30 Vermont schools. In the words of Hildene Executive Director, Seth Bongartz, “The program’s goal is to promote awareness in the minds of a young generation of Americans of the contributions of this nation’s 16th president, Abraham Lincoln. This is an objective that fits squarely within Hildene’s mission: Values into Action.”
The students who accepted the challenge this year were required to respond to the following question in an essay of no more than 500 words: Is civil discourse necessary for civil society? Sometimes? Always? Never? Support your position. Essays were evaluated by a panel of judges based on the content, the student’s understanding of the subject and his or her ability to convey that understanding using good writing practices including style, composition, factual accuracy and grammar.
Hildene applauds all participating students and teachers and congratulates the 2013 winners: First Place, $1,000, Isaac Dodson, Edmunds Middle School, Burlington; Second Place, Sarah Mangiacotti, $750, dual student at Maple Street School, Manchester and Stratton Mountain School; Third Place Tie, $500 each, James Reilly, Maple Street School, Manchester and Rebecca Berlind, Edmunds School, Burlington; Honorable Mentions, $200 each: Conor Joyce, Hartford Memorial Middle School, White River Junction; Sabrina Amorocho Laing, Edmunds Middle School, Burlington; Anneka Williams, Harwood Union Middle/High School, Moretown; Maya Homziak, Edmunds Middle School, Burlington.
Student responses came in on the side of “sometimes and always.” “Never” was not an option for them. Some even noted that there have been times in the nation’s history, such as the women’s and civil rights movements, where civil disobedience was used as a method that led to civil discourse. The young essayists drew inspiration from a wide range of sources to come to their conclusions from research to personal experiences. These experiences included town meeting, classroom debates, role models both contemporary and historical, school based programs that address differences, and observations of the dysfunction in government that results from the absence of civil discourse.
A celebratory luncheon will be hosted by Hildene at the Lincoln family estate on Sunday, May 19, 2013, following a tour of The Lincoln Family Home. Each winner, along with their parents, teacher, and principal will attend as Hildene’s guests. All Hildene Lincoln Essay Competition 2013 winners will receive their awards. The first, second and third place winners will read their essays.
Perfect Wife and Spiral Press Café are this year’s sponsors. To learn more about Hildene, visit www.hildene.org or find us on Facebook.
Conservationist Darby Bradley is Hildene Award Recipient
This year’s recipient of the Hildene Award is well known conservationist and past president of the Vermont Land Trust, Darby Bradley. The Hildene Award is given to Vermonters who have made extraordinary contributions in the areas of land conservation or historic preservation. The inaugural award was bestowed on Senator James Jeffords in 2004 for his work helping to preserve the Civil War battlefields upon which Vermonters fought. Those who are honored have lived Hildene’s mission of Values into Action.
Darby Bradley will be feted by family, friends and colleagues at a luncheon in his honor at Hildene on Sunday, July 15 at 12:00. Bradley has dedicated more than 30 years of his life to conserving Vermont’s forest and farmland. In the words of Hildene Executive Director, Seth Bongartz, “Bradley’s conservation legacy runs as deep as any Vermonter who has ever lived and it is an honor for us to honor him. Darby will retire next year and Hildene believes it is the right time to both recognize his lifelong achievements and provide a time and place for the public to show their gratitude for his work.”
Beginning this year, the Hildene Award, given annually to deserving Vermonters selected by Hildene’s Board of Trustees, includes a $10,000 prize that will go to a community project of the recipient’s choosing. Bradley will announce his project of choice at the luncheon. Following appropriate tributes from his colleagues, those in attendance are invited to the unveiling of markers memorializing James Jeffords and Darby Bradley.
This celebration is open to the public. If you wish to attend the luncheon, the cost is $30 per person, $20 for Hildene members and volunteers and includes admission to Hildene for the day. Reservations are required. For more information or to make a reservation, contact Stephanie at 802.367.7960 or email@example.com.
Hildene Announces Statewide Lincoln Essay Competition Winners
The winners of the 2012 Hildene Lincoln Essay Competition were selected from 142 entries submitted by eighth grade public, independent and home study students from 21 Vermont schools. In the words of Hildene Executive Director, Seth Bongartz, the program’s goal is, “to promote awareness in the minds of a young generation of Americans of the contributions of the nation’s 16th President, Abraham Lincoln, the embodiment of civic responsibility. Through this process we also hope to instill awareness of the responsibility each of us has to do our part to make our community, our state, our country and even the world a better place. The essay challenge and resulting submissions collectively fit squarely within Hildene’s mission: Values into Action.”
Students were challenged to respond in 500 words or less to the following question: About what wrong in need of righting, or what opportunity to make a difference, do you feel passionately enough to try to do something to make your community, your state, your country or even the world a better place? As you answer this question, compare and/or contrast the values that motivate you to those that motivated Lincoln. Essays were evaluated by a panel of judges based on the content, the student’s understanding of the subject and her or his ability to convey that understanding using good writing practices including style, composition, factual accuracy and grammar.
Hildene applauds all participating students and teachers and congratulates the 2012 winners: First Place, Talia Boyers , Albert D. Lawton Intermediate School, Essex Junction; Second Place, Emma LeMay, Maple Street School, Manchester; Third Place, Mahli Knutson, Mount Abraham Middle/High School, Bristol; Honorable Mention: Lucy Anderson, Mater Christi School, Shelburne; Peter Feehan, Albert D. Lawton Intermediate School, Essex Junction; Eva Paradiso, Edmunds Middle School, Burlington; Andrew Spencer, Arlington Memorial Middle/High School, Arlington. The topics these students “felt passionately enough about to try to do something” included: bullying, poverty, homelessness, gay rights, adoption, discrimination against people with disabilities, and nuclear fusion.
A celebratory luncheon will be hosted by Hildene at the Lincoln family estate on Sunday, May 20, 2012, following a tour of The Lincoln Family Home. Each winner, along with their parents, teacher, and principal will attend as Hildene’s guests. The first, second and third place winners will read their essays and receive their awards. Winners will be awarded the following prizes in 2012: First Place, $1,000; Second Place, $750; Third Place, $500; and the four Honorable Mentions of $200 each.
Perfect Wife, Spiral Press Café and r.k. Miles are this year’s sponsors. To learn more about Hildene, visit www.hildene.org or find us on Facebook.
Grant has Positive Impact on Hildene's Natural Environment
Springtime guests who venture out on the Hildene Farm Trail this season are certain to notice improvements made to the pond area, a popular site for summer camps such as “Nets, Buckets and Boots” and “Watershed Wonders” or school programs like “Pond Discovery.” A generous grant from The Sarah K. deCoizart Article TENTH Perpetual Charitable Trust made it possible to construct a handicapped accessible path and a combination of fixed and floating platforms at the pond.
Hildene has long been committed to the preservation and stewardship of the Lincoln family’s estate. Consistent with its mission: Values into Action, Hildene has expanded environmental programming and has a plan to address the needs of both the programs and the habitats that are used. This effort to make the pond more accessible is based on the belief that the most effective way to teach about fragile ecosystems is to provide children and adults respectful ways to experience them up close.
Making Hildene’s water resources accessible will also add a significant dimension to the community’s ability to investigate, understand and respect these habitats and the wildlife that live there. Whether for education, contemplation, exercise or simply to be outdoors, these spaces will be available for generations to come to enjoy and it is the generosity of donors and foundations like deCoizart that makes this possible.
Hildene is open daily from 9:30 to 4:30. To learn more visit www.hildene.org or find us on Facebook.
Arbor Day at Hildene
On Friday, May 4, children grades K-2 are invited to join Hildene in their annual celebration of Arbor Day at The Lincoln Family Home. More than 135 years ago, agriculturalist, J. Sterling Morton founded Arbor Day with the simple idea of setting aside a special day for tree planting. An idea that Hildene believes is more important than ever.
This year’s celebration will differ from those in previous years when the focus was on the planting of a tree native to Vermont and chosen from a list of protected trees which are or have been threatened with extinction. These trees populate the arboretum in front of the Welcome Center. On May 4, as stewards of the Lincoln family’s Hildene estate, the staff, with assistance from the children, will be working to restore the century old Hawthorn Allee located behind the Welcome Center, formerly the carriage barn. The children will assist in planting the young Hawthorn trees that will one day be woven together (pleached) to restore this special walkway to its intended and original shape as a covered path. This type of environmental restoration is one example of Hildene’s mission Values into Action.
After the students help to plant a tree, each will receive a sugar maple seedling to take home for planting. Hawthorns are quite thorny making them more difficult to plant at home.
The Arbor Day Program is free. Each year the number of participants has grown, so this year teachers can register for either a 10:00 am to 11:00 am session or a 12:30 pm to 1:30 pm session, subject to availability and based on 50 children per session. Classes are also welcome to stay for a picnic lunch.
The sessions fill up quickly so registration is required. To register email Stephanie@hildene.org or call Stephanie at 802.367.7960.
Lincoln Author Presents New Book: Giant in the Shadows
On Saturday, April 7, author and historian, Jason Emerson, will launch the tour for his new book, Giant in the Shadows: The Life of Robert T. Lincoln at the Manchester, Vermont home of the presidential son and captain of industry. Emerson will present on the book and take questions in the Beckwith Room at 10:00 am and again at 2:00 pm. Each presentation will be followed by a book-signing in The Museum Store.
Published by Southern Illinois University Press, Emerson’s is the first new biography of Robert T. Lincoln in more than four decades. It represents nearly 10 years of research, a considerable part of which was done by the former Hildene Scholar in Residence in The Lincoln Family Home’s archives. Giant in the Shadows is the missing chapter of the Lincoln family story and its pages are flush with never-before published photographs. The work provides new insight into historical events and more than simply a biography, it is a tale of American achievement in the Gilded Age and the endurance of the Lincoln legacy.
To learn more about this author presentation, that is free and open to the public, call Stephanie at 802.367.7960 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. For information on Hildene visit www.hildene.org or find us on Facebook.
Christmas 1912 Lincoln Style at Hildene
The Lincolns were often reluctant to leave Hildene as autumn waned and as a result the family celebrated several Christmases here. During this festive season they had their own holiday traditions, and for the past three decades countless families have made a visit to Hildene festooned for Christmas a tradition as well. This year from December 1 through January 2 the house will be decorated and staged as though it were Christmas Eve, 1912, one of the years Robert, Mary and family spent the holidays at their Vermont retreat. From the candlelit windows, winterberries and greenery that greet guests at the port cochere to the center hall yuletide floral arrangement, bursts of evergreen fastened with burgundy satin ribbon and a Christmas tree replete with Victorian ornaments, a sense that the family is preparing for Christmas morning has been created. Greeting cards, stockings hung on the mantle, wrapped parcels and even the menu for Christmas dinner portend of wonderful things to come on Christmas day. During regular hours, 9:30 to 4:30, interpreters and staff are on hand to answer questions about Hildene ’s history and its famous residents.
Music is to Christmas as ornaments are to the tree so throughout December on weekends, the melodious sounds of the season will resonate throughout Robert and Mary’s home from the pipe organ and Steinway piano courtesy of the following musicians: Dr. Joseph Eppink, Joanne Beck, Michael Gallagher, Stephen Morse, Annette Cohen, Stan Hynds, Gary Schmidt, Alan Dann and Deirdre Donaldson. For a complete schedule of holiday music at The Lincoln Family Home visit www.hildene.org/news/calendar.html.
In The Museum Store on Saturday, December 3 and Sunday, December 4, Hildene’s annual Our House for the Holidays welcomes neighbors and new friends alike to the warmth of the Lincoln family’s one hundred year old restored carriage barn dressed in all its holiday finery. The spirit of the season abounds in this historic place where the aroma of hot apple cider and fresh cider doughnuts wafts through the air. Add the crisp fragrance of pine boughs, the sounds of the season and Vermont specialty food tastings and the mood is set for a unique holiday shopping experience. Visitors will find distinctive items for holiday gift giving that are sure to please young and old alike, from Victorian Era ornaments and holiday cards to choices for children from books to bees. All conspire to create a unique holiday shopping experience. Adding to the festive atmosphere will be live period music including George Haggerty on dulcimer from 12:00 to2:00 on Saturday and The Emerald Valley Recorder Ensemble from 1:00 to 3:00 on Sunday. On Sunday, December 18 from 1:30 to 2:30, members of Burr and Burton Academy’s Advanced Vocal Ensemble under the direction of choral director, Julie Freebern, will sing carols in the Welcome Center.
Sunday, December 4 will also be the last day for guesstimating the amount of Lincoln pennies in the big jar. Winners in two categories: youth 5-15 and adults 16 and older will be drawn on Monday, December 5. The winner in the youth category will receive a check for half the amount of pennies in the jar. A donation in the winner’s name for the amount of the other half will be made to The Vermont Community Foundation/Irene Recovery Efforts. The winning adult will be awarded a book of their choosing from the Hildene Library series, with a second copy to be donated to that winner’s hometown library.
Admission to the house and grounds including Hildene Farm and Pullman car, Sunbeam is $16.00 for adults and $5 for youth 6-14. Members, volunteers and youth under 6 are free. Admission is not required for visitors to the Welcome Center and The Museum Store.
For more information about the December 3 and 4 Our House for the Holidays, call Carol at 802.367.7968 or email email@example.com. Hildene is closed on Thanksgiving and December 24 and 25.
Giving Thanks for Volunteers and Veggies
It’s the time of year when family and friends tend to reflect on the past year giving thanks while looking toward the season of giving. Such is the case when it comes to reporting on another prosperous year for Hildene’s “Plant A Row for the Hungry” Garden. This is a special place on the Lincoln family estate where harvesting and giving go hand in hand. The annual effort combines the collective energy and time (more than 100 hours) of a small but dedicated group of volunteers whose goal is to put food on the tables of those in need. So although the vegetable garden is already asleep for the winter, the memory of what was achieved there remains fresh and is worthy of note here.
The Plant A Row Garden located in the Lincoln family’s original Cutting and Kitchen Garden was tended by volunteer gardeners, Bill and Becky Burke, Liz Luca, Jane Moriarty, Carol Munson, Gary Roosma and Ron Rusche and yielded more than 500 pounds of vegetables this season, surpassing last year’s numbers by more than 100 pounds. The harvest included beans, broccoli, cabbage, cucumbers, kale, lettuce, peas, peppers, squash and a bumper crop of tomatoes for the Community Food Cupboard. The tomato plants were the big surprise this year, seemingly thriving in their newly constructed cages and producing a record 215 pounds of the vegetable.
Thrive is what volunteers and vegetables alike do in the Plant A Row Garden. In the words of Jane Moriarty who coordinated this year’s effort, “What can be better than having fun while doing something worthwhile.” She is quick to point out that the group is always looking for new members to join in the gardening work and comradery on Tuesdays and Fridays in the morning throughout the growing season.
To learn more about volunteerism at The Lincoln Family Home, contact Paula at 802.367.7961 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Historian from Lincoln's Springfield Home Historic Site Hildene Speaker
Timothy Townsend, historian at Lincoln Home National Historic Site in Springfield, Illinois will make the fourth presentation of the 2011 Hildene Winter History Series on Tuesday, April 12 at 7:00. This year’s thematically linked talks take attendees on a chronological journey following the life of the nation’s 16th president from the perspective of those entrusted with preserving and interpreting the historic properties that he called home. Representatives from each historic site focuses on what makes their particular Lincoln site unique, how it shaped the future president, its mission and how the site is advancing the Lincoln legacy.
In a presentation entitled “Here I Have Lived: The History of the Lincoln Home and Neighborhood,” Townsend will focus on the history of the Lincoln home from the time of its construction in 1839, through its evolution to a modern urban residential and commercial area, to the ongoing restoration efforts of the National Park Service. Abraham and Mary moved into this house when their first son, Robert, was an infant. It was the only home they owned, all three of Robert’s brothers were born there, and it was while living in this Springfield house that Lincoln was elected President.
Townsend earned his BA in history from St. Ambrose University in Davenport, Iowa and holds a Master of Arts degree in history from the University of Illinois at Springfield. He has worked on the curatorial staff at the Rock Island Arsenal Museum and has been an interpreter at the Ulysses S. Grant Home, the Vachel Lindsay Home, and the Lincoln-Herndon Law Offices. Townsend currently serves on the Abraham Lincoln Association Board of Directors and the Lincoln Forum Board of Advisors.
Erin Carlson Mast, Director of President Lincoln’s Cottage, Washington, DC will make the last presentation of the 2011 Hildene Winter History Series on May 10. In 2000, President Clinton declared the Lincoln Cottage and 2.3 acres of surrounding land the President Lincoln and Soldier’s Home National Monument in honor of the site’s notable role in the presidency of Abraham Lincoln. Mast played an integral role in developing the site interpretation for the Cottage’s 2008 opening. Hildene expanded its typical offering of four themed lectures to five, in order to give attendees a close up look at this important national monument. Having spent a quarter of his presidency in residence there, The Cottage is the most significant historic site directly associated with Lincoln’s presidency aside from the White House.
Each Winter History Series talk will be held on the second Tuesday of the month in the Beckwith Room at 7:00 pm. The 45 minute presentation will be followed by a 15 minute question and answer period and all are free and open to the public.
Attendees of this year’s series should plan to spend a bit of extra time at the Welcome Center. The Museum Store will be open before and after each lecture. In March they will be sampling Hildene Farm Artisanal Cheese. Plentiful parking is available. For further information please call Stephanie at 802.367.7960 or email Stephanie@hildene.org.
Hildene Part of Civil War Sesquientennial Celebration Kickoff at New York State Museum, Albany
On Friday, February 18, Hildene Executive Director, Seth Bongartz and Deputy Director, Laine Dunham represented the Vermont Lincoln site at the New York State Museum at the invitation of State Historian, Robert Weible. February 18, 2011 marked the 150th anniversary of the president’s stopover in Albany on his trip by rail from his Springfield home to his March 4 inauguration in Washington. As part of a national kick off for the multi-year sesquicentennial commemoration of the Civil War the National Park Service is retracing this famous journey.
Central to the celebration was an address delivered by Fritz Klein, widely considered to be the foremost Lincoln re-enactor in the country. Klein has been portraying the 16th president for more than three decades. At the request of Weible, Bongartz and Dunham brought the Amos King bible from the Hildene exhibit to be displayed at the event. The book was gifted to Lincoln by Amos King, a Port Byron, New York, boatman. King had been inspired to purchase the bible, which was bound with high quality leather and printed by Cambridge University Press in England, when he read the President’s farewell address at the train station in Springfield at the start of the inaugural trip. The inscription is dated March 4, 1861, the day of the inauguration. Bongartz commented, “What makes the bible so remarkable is that it still exists … by that I mean it was clearly important to Lincoln and then to his descendants. It was in the family’s home when we took over at Hildene. It may well have been important to them because it was given by a comparatively humble person. That says a lot about Lincoln.” Bongartz also referenced the work of a diligent and committed Port Byron town historian, Dawn Roe. It was Roe’s relentless research that uncovered the thank you note from President Lincoln’s Secretary, John Nicolay, proof positive that the bible did indeed reach the President’s hands. She even offered several scenarios for how this may have happened logistically. In short, this important artifact is connected to the inaugural journey that was being celebrated in Albany and Hildene was honored to be a part of the event.
On Friday, March 4, the bible will again travel, this time to Burlington, Vermont, for a Civil War Sesquicentennial event sponsored by the 18th Vermont Regiment Civil War Living History Organization. The event which focuses on relevant Civil War history surrounding this particular date begins at 2:00 pm at the Fletcher Free Library. It will include a presentation by Lincoln re-enactor, Bob Bushnell, a question and answer period, remarks from Seth Bongartz, executive director of Hildene, The Lincoln Family Home and by Bill McKone, president of the 18th Vermont Regiment and the event’s organizer. Activities will then move to City Hall for re-enactments of Abraham Lincoln’s First Inaugural Address and of the President’s swearing in. March 4, 2011 marks the 150th anniversary of this momentous occasion. To learn more about this event, contact Bill McKone at 802.644.2433.
The bible that Amos King gave to President Lincoln is on permanent display at Hildene and is currently a part of the exhibit: The American Ideal: Abraham Lincoln and the Second Inaugural. Hildene, The Lincoln Family Home is open daily from 9:30 to 4:30. To learn more about Hildene, go to www.hildene.org or visit Hildene on Facebook.
An Unexpected Gift for Hildene
Just in time for Lincoln’s birthday, Hildene will find itself celebrating the date and honoring Abe in a special way this year. They recently learned that unbeknownst to them, their popular children’s book about the President, Mr. Lincoln’s Gift, A Civil War Story had been awarded an honorable mention at the 2009 San Francisco Book Festival. The exposure this type of recognition in the literary world garners for books, their authors and publishers is significant. For this work, the seventh in the Hildene Library series and its first children’s book, the award was a Lincoln’s birthday gift. It honors not only the author, Whitney Stewart and illustrator, Laine Dunham, but the President himself for an act of personal kindness previously unknown until the author uncovered her storyline in a most unexpected way. It all began when one evening Stewart’s stepfather handed her a box of old letters and photographs that he inherited from his great, great grandfather, artist, Francis B. Carpenter. Among the fragile pieces of paper that dated back to the 1800s, the well known children’s author would discover the seeds of a story for her book, Mr. Lincoln’s Gift.
This story of life in the White House with the 16th President is a newly revealed piece of his legacy. The tale follows Francis Carpenter in his effort to save a wrongly imprisoned soldier, all the while working in the Lincoln White House on his famous painting, “First Reading of the Emancipation Proclamation Before the Cabinet.” The artist was patiently waiting for just the right moment to approach the President about the soldier’s predicament. The story and all the dialogue is documented in Carpenter’s private diary and personal letters, in magazine articles that he wrote and in his book.
This Lincoln tale has a direct connection to Hildene, whose mission is to advance the Lincoln legacy and the President’s highest ideals. The painting that Carpenter was working on in the story was made into an engraving. Lincoln ordered and paid for print #1 but died before the work was completed. This engraving went to Robert and is one of the key pieces in Hildene’s collection today. This historic piece hangs in the current exhibit, “The American Ideal: Abraham Lincoln and the Second Inaugural.”
Hildene guests can purchase Mr. Lincoln’s Gift in The Museum Store. Hildene, The Lincoln Family Home is open daily from 9:30 to 4:30. To learn more about Hildene visit www.hildene.org.
Hildene's 9th Winter History Series: Places A. Lincoln Called Home
The next Hildene Winter History Series lecture commences at 7:00 pm on Tuesday, February 8 with a presentation by Kendell Thompson, Superintendent at the Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial in Lincoln City, Indiana. His talk will be the second in the series of thematically linked presentations that will take attendees on a chronological journey following the life of the nation’s 16th president from the perspective of those entrusted with preserving and interpreting the historic properties that he called home. Representatives from each of these well-known historic sites will focus on what makes their particular Lincoln home unique, how it shaped the future president, its mission and how the site is advancing the Lincoln legacy.
Presenter Thompson has served in 12 National Park Service areas during his career spanning 32 years with the famed U.S. system entrusted with the mission, “to promote and regulate the use of the … national parks … which purpose is to conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and the wildlife therein and to provide for the enjoyment of the same in such a manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations.” `Most recently Thompson was able to “switch sides” when in 2010 he transferred to Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial from Arlington House, The Robert E. Lee Memorial. He has worn many hats over his three decades with the Service among them interpreter/educator, resource management specialist, ranger, park planner and park manager. Attendees may look forward to the superintendent’s views on how Lincoln’s time spent at the Indiana site during his formative adolescent to young adult years might have influenced his presidential perspectives on life and a range of issues including but not limited to: slavery, literacy and technology.
Tim Giunan, superintendent of Lincoln’s New Salem State Historic Site in Illinois will be the speaker on March 8. On April 12, historian,Tim Townsend, will travel to Hildene from Springfield, Illinois to represent the Lincoln Home National Historic Site. The series will conclude with a presentation on May 10 by Erin Carlson Mast, director, President Lincoln’s Cottage, Washington, DC. All of the above speakers are passionate about history and the role the site they represent played in the life of the President.
Each Winter History Series talk will be held on the second Tuesday of the month in the Beckwith Room at 7:00 pm. The 45 minute presentation will be followed by a 15 minute question and answer period and all are free and open to the public.
Attendees of this year’s series should plan to spend a bit of extra time at the Welcome Center. The Museum Store will be open before and after each lecture. In February they will be sampling Hildene Farm Artisanal Cheese. Plentiful parking is available. For further information please call Stephanie at 802.367.7960 or email Stephanie@hildene.org.
Sunbeam to make Celebratory Arrival in Manchester June 4, 2011
The excitement is palpable, and the anticipation is building as the Pullman car, “Sunbeam,” enters the final stages of 3 years of refurbishment and prepares to travel the approximately 900 miles from Lancaster, South Carolina to its new home in Manchester, Vermont. The 412 acre Hildene estate that served as the Lincoln family’s residence for 70 years is perfectly suited as a site for Sunbeam, the finest example of a wooden Pullman car in existence. It is after all the ancestral home of Robert Todd Lincoln, son of President Abraham Lincoln. This car came off the line in 1903 during Robert’s tenure as president of the Pullman Company. Acquired in 2007 after an exhaustive two year cross country search, the 65 foot executive car played a role in the histories of three U.S. presidents, William McKinley, Theodore Roosevelt and Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
In the heyday of the nearly 100 year history of the company, more than 100,000 people across the U. S. slept on Pullman cars every day. Thus Sunbeam will be treated as the celebrity it is with an old fashioned parade on June 4 that will take the car south on Route 7A into Manchester Village and down the entrance road at Hildene. Site preparation has begun and planning for a daylong hometown style celebration at Hildene to follow the parade is already underway.
The celebratory welcome planned for Sunbeam seems a fitting way to honor the famous father and son pair, Abraham and Robert Lincoln, and their connections to railroading. President Lincoln signed the Transcontinental Railway Act in 1862, paving the way for a transcontinental railroad destined to bring the entire nation closer together with Americans traveling from coast to coast. Pullman actually built a specially made car for the President but unfortunately it was never used until it became part of the funeral train that brought him home to Springfield after his assassination in 1865. Robert’s connection to railroading began at an early age. He first traveled to Vermont by train as a young man with his mother, Mary Todd and brother Tad during the Civil War and nearly four decades later returned as a successful railroad magnate and captain of industry aboard a Pullman belonging to the company he then presided over. This time, the rails carried him back to purchase land, to plan the design and construction of his ancestral home, Hildene. His personal history with Pullman began when he was counsel to the company. Upon the death of founder George Pullman in 1897 he served briefly as acting president and then as president until 1911. At this point Mr. Lincoln became chairman of the board serving until 1924, two years before his death.
Sunbeam will give Hildene a platform to interpret not only this important chapter in Robert’s life but that of the country during the Gilded Age, a period in our history that gave voice to the labor movement and the rise of the Black middle class with the Pullman porters. Hildene looks forward to the arrival of Sunbeam in June which opens to the public on August 1, 2011.
Hildene is open year round from 9:30 am to 4:30 pm. To learn more about Hildene visit www.hildene.org.
Lincoln's Birthday is Deadline for Lincoln Essay Competition Submissions
Students participating in this year’s Lincoln Essay Competition are reminded that all essays must be submitted to Hildene no later than 5:00 pm on February 12, 2011, Abraham Lincoln’s birthday. In the fall of 2010 competition packets went out to teachers of 8th grade English, history, and/or social studies, librarians and homeschool networks. With all materials available on line, interested students may enter the competition independently as well. The program’s goal is to promote awareness in the minds of a young generation of the contributions of this nation’s 16th president and to honor his legacy. Through this process Hildene hopes to foster an understanding of the importance of civic responsibility: the thoughtful discourse and active engagement in social and political issues within communities to improve the quality of life for all. Academically, this exercise also reinforces the importance of research, critical analysis and good writing.
The students who accept the challenge this year are required to explain in their own words in a non-fiction essay of no more than 500 words: If Lincoln was willing to tolerate slavery in the southern states, why was he so vehemently opposed to its extension into the territories? To interpret his seemingly ambiguous position on slavery it will be necessary for students to research the president’s evolving views on slavery, as well as those of his contemporaries. To assist them, the competition packet includes background materials such as key Lincoln speeches and examples of winning essays from years past.
Essays will be evaluated by a panel of judges based on the content, the student’s understanding of the subject and his or her ability to convey that understanding using good writing practices including style, composition, factual accuracy and grammar. All winners will be notified by the end of March, however the top three will not find out whether their essay placed first, second or third until the celebratory awards luncheon. The gathering will be at Hildene on Sunday, May 22, 2011, following a tour of The Lincoln Family Home which will include the exhibit, “The American Ideal: Abraham Lincoln and the Second Inaugural.” Each winner, along with their parents and teacher, will attend as Hildene’s guests. The first, second and third place winners will read their essays and receive their awards. Winners will be awarded the following prizes in 2011: First Place, $1,000; Second Place, $750; Third Place, $500; and up to ten Honorable Mentions of $200 each.
Lincoln Essay Competition entry packets are still available by download at www.hildene.org/schools.html. If you have questions or would like to receive a packet by mail, call Stephanie at 802.367.7960 or email email@example.com. Perfect Wife, Spiral Press Café and r.k. Miles are this year’s sponsors.
January 3, 2011 - Restored Pullman Car Arrives at Hildene June 4
The 65 foot long wooden luxury Pullman car, Sunbeam, the finest example of such a restored railcar in existence, opens to the public on August 1, 2011 at the Hildene estate of captain of industry, Robert Lincoln, son of President Abraham Lincoln. The family’s Vermont residence for 70 years and three generations of Lincoln’s descendants was built by Robert and wife Mary in 1905 and will be a fitting home for Sunbeam. Making the Pullman connection at Hildene not only advances the family’s legacy but it symbolically links the lives of the father, Abraham and the son, Robert and their shared belief in the importance of the railroad. There is great anticipation about its arrival in an old fashioned hometown celebratory parade on June 4. This event will mark the culmination of a 2 year nationwide search for the right car, a three year restoration project and a 1,000 mile journey from the restoration site in Lancaster, South Carolina to the 412 acre Lincoln estate.
Sunbeam came off the line in 1903 during Robert Lincoln’s tenure as president of the Pullman Company, the largest manufacturing corporation in the world at the turn of the 20th century. Adding to the allure of this particular car is the fact that in its various configurations Sunbeam was directly connected to three U.S. presidents: William McKinley, Theodore Roosevelt and Franklin Delano Roosevelt. In keeping with Hildene’s mission, Sunbeam will provide the cultural institution and popular attraction a platform to interpret not only this important chapter in Robert’s life but that of the country during the Gilded Age, a period in our history that gave voice to the labor movement and the Pullman porters who gave rise to the black middle class.
Funding for the 1.5 million dollar project, that included the purchase, restoration, site work and construction of the open pavilion that will house the car, took 5 years to raise and came from individual donations ranging from $1.00 to several hundred thousand dollars.
To learn more about Hildene and the Sunbeam project, visit www.hildene.org.
December 21, 2010 Hildene's Ninth Winter History Series: Places A. Lincoln Called Home
The ninth Hildene Winter History Series commences at 7:00 pm on Tuesday, January 11 with a presentation by Park Guide Gary Ferguson from Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historic Park in Hodgenville, Kentucky. His talk will be the first in the series of thematically linked presentations that will take attendees on a chronological journey that follows the life of the nation’s 16th president from the perspective of those entrusted with preserving and interpreting the historic properties that he called home. Representatives from each of these well known historic sites will focus on what makes their particular Lincoln home unique, how it shaped the future president, its mission and how the site is advancing the Lincoln legacy.
Presenter Gary Ferguson brings a myriad of experiences to bear on his role as National Park Service Guide at the Lincoln Birthplace. He received his Masters Degree in history from Western Kentucky University in 2006 and currently serves as an adjunct history professor there. This former high school social studies teacher began working in the park system at the Birthplace seasonally in 2005, and accepted his first permanent position in 2008 at Natchez National Historic Park. He came full circle in 2010 when he returned to the Lincoln Birthplace in Hodgenville. Ferguson notes, “My love of history and working for the National Park Service proved to be a powerful combination that brought me to the realization that the National Park Service was a career I wanted to pursue.” He added that he is looking forward to his visit to the home of the President’s son, Robert Lincoln.
In the second presentation of the series on Tuesday, February 8, Kendell Thompson, superintendent at the Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial in Lincoln City, Indiana will discuss with the group that site’s interpretation of Lincoln’s formative adolescent to young adult years. Tim Giunan, superintendent of Lincoln’s New Salem State Historic Site in Illinois will be the speaker on March 8. April’s presenter will travel to Hildene from Springfield, Illinois to represent the Lincoln Home National Historic Site.
Each Winter History Series talk will be held in the Beckwith Room at 7:00 pm. The 45 minute presentation will be followed by a 15 minute question and answer period and all are free and open to the public.
Attendees of this year’s series should plan to spend a bit of extra time at the Welcome Center. The Museum Store will be open before and after each lecture. In January they will be sampling Hildene Farm Artisanal Cheese. Plentiful parking is available. For further information please call Stephanie at 802.367.7960 or email Stephanie@hildene.org
December 13, 2010 - The Hildene Guest Experience
Winter guests arriving at Hildene, The Lincoln Family Home in Manchester,Vermont are struck by its beautiful surroundings and quickly learn why tens of thousands of annual visitors say, “Hildene is so much more than a house museum.” Discovery awaits them as they explore the mansion and grounds that three generations of President Lincoln’s descendants called home for 70 years. Hildene opened to the public in 1978 three years after the death of its last Lincoln inhabitant, Miss Peggy Beckwith. Since that time restoration efforts have been ongoing. There are no more direct Abraham Lincoln descendants.
The guest experience begins at the Welcome Center located in the Lincoln’s original carriage barn. It includes an observation bee hive, Jessie Lincoln’s 1928 Franklin car, a “working telegraph” and model train with Pullman cars. This is also the site of The Museum Store where a wide range of distinctive items from Lincoln to Gilded Age, gardens, history, nature, farm and Vermont can be found. Visitors view a short video about the home and its famous inhabitants before walking or taking the shuttle up to the house for a self guided tour or guided tour by prior arrangement.
The mansion stands on a promontory between the Taconic and Green Mountain Ranges surrounded by spectacular views. A 412 acre working estate established in 1905 by the only child of President and Mary Lincoln to survive to maturity, Robert Todd Lincoln, Hildene is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and named Nationally Significant by the U. S. Park Service. Inside, guests experience the home of Robert Todd Lincoln, wealthy president and board chairman of the Pullman Company; the largest manufacturing corporation in America at the turn of the 20th century. They will also visit an exciting new exhibit “The American Ideal: Abraham Lincoln and the Second Inaugural.” Among the artifacts included in the exhibit are; one of only three of Lincoln’s iconic stovepipe hats in existence, one of his bibles; a life mask and a scrapbook that belonged to a supporting actress who appeared in the final production of “Our American Cousin,” the play the President was watching on the evening of the assassination. The scrapbook contains a swatch of wallpaper from his Fords Theater box.
Hildene’s guests are encouraged to head out for a stop at the Rowland Agricultural Center at Hildene Farm. The milking herd of Nubian goats loves visitors. At this time of year visitors may arrive on skis, snowshoes, on foot or by shuttle. The 40 by 100’ barn is designed specifically to house the goats and for public viewing of cheesemaking from milking to processing, pasteurization, aging and finishing of signature Hildene farm cheeses. A cheese tasting can be arranged for groups by prior reservation. Both Robert Lincoln and Peggy Beckwith raised dairy herds and chickens. The eggs, milk and butter were used on the estate and shared with friends.
Once the snow falls, the Ski Touring Center opens for x-country and snowshoeing enabling enthusiasts to enjoy their sport on approximately 14 kilometers of trails of which 80% are for the novice. The Ski Pavilion, built in 2005 with lumber harvested and milled at Hildene is designed to be in keeping with its natural surroundings. It is post and beam construction with an open floor plan. The woodburning stove is set against an imposing stone wall that rises from floor to ceiling adding warmth and New England charm. Skis, poles, and snowshoes are available for rental or skiers may bring their own equipment. Lessons are available by prior arrangement. Trails passes are available at the Welcome Center. Passes also provide admittance to the house.
In June of 2011 the Sunbeam, a 65 foot long wooden Pullman car of Robert’s era arrives at Hildene and opens to the public on August 1. This completely refurbished executive office car with accommodations for family travel as well, includes several state rooms, dining and meeting space, self contained kitchen and staff quarters and an observation area at the rear of the car. Sunbeam will provide a link to one of the most influential periods of U.S. history and Robert Todd Lincoln’s role in it as president and chairman of the Pullman Company.
Through its exhibits, tours, events and educational programming, Hildene continues it mission to “advance the Lincoln legacy through education, commitment to community, and active stewardship of the family’s home and land.”
Hildene, The Lincoln Family Home is open daily, year round from 9:30 to 4:30. Admission is $13.00 per person. For information on Hildene, The Lincoln Family Home visit www.hildene.org, call 802.362.1788 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
December 30, 2009 - Winter History Series Begins with Lincoln’s Family
On Tuesday, January 12, author and historian, Jason Emerson, will make the first presentation of the 2010 Winter History Series, speaking on “Robert Todd Lincoln and His Parents.” The focus of this year’s series is the multifaceted personality and life of Hildene’s own Gilded Age gentleman and former turn of the century Manchesterresident, Robert Todd Lincoln. As the only child of President Abraham Lincoln and wife, Mary, to survive to adulthood, Robert carried what was often seen as a burdensome name and legacy with him throughout his life. In this first talk, Emerson, an emerging Lincoln scholar who is currently completing a biography of Robert Todd Lincoln, will look more closely at Lincoln’s relationship with his famous parents, specifically examining his role as the president’s confidant during the Civil War, and explaining his belief that Mary Todd Lincoln was actually closer to her son Robert than she was to Abraham.
The presenter has written about both Robert’s father and his mother, penning Lincoln, the Inventor in 2009 and The Madness of Mary Lincoln in 2007. Emerson’s new biography of Robert Todd Lincoln will be published by Southern Illinois University Press in 2011. When asked about his decision to write a book about Abe Lincoln’s son, Emerson responded, “It is exciting to write a new, detailed book about Robert Todd Lincoln because every day, in the course of my research both at Hildene and elsewhere, I am finding unknown, unpublished information about RTL, his family, and all the events in his life. If RTL weren’t overshadowed by his father, he would be studied by schoolchildren just for his own accomplishments.” In addition to his books, articles by Emerson have appeared in American Heritage, American History, Civil War Times, Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society, Lincoln Herald, and Lincoln Forum Bulletin.
Held on the second Tuesday of each month, each Winter History Series talk will be held in the Beckwith Room at 7:00 pm. The 45 minute presentation is followed by a 15 minute question and answer period and all are free and open to the public.
Jason Emerson will present on the following topics throughout the 2010 series: February, 9, “Robert Todd Lincoln as Captain of Industry;” March 9, “Robert Todd Lincoln and African Americans;” and April 13, “Robert Todd Lincoln and his Children and Grandchildren.”
The Museum Store will be open for a cup of coffee and a snack before the event and plentiful parking is available. For further information please contact Stephanie at 802.367.7960 or email Stephanie@hildene.org. December 21, 2009 FAVORITE SON; HILDENE WINTER HISTORY SERIES EXPLORES ONE THEIR OWN
The 2010 Winter History Series will consist of four thematically unified lectures exploring the multifaceted personality and life of its own Gilded Age gentleman and former turn of the century Manchester resident, Robert Todd Lincoln. This year’s sole presenter, Jason Emerson, author and historian, will speak on topics that span Lincoln’s lifetime. Emerson has penned works on both his father, Abraham Lincoln, Lincoln the Inventor and his mother Mary Todd Lincoln, The Madness of Mary Lincoln, as well as numerous articles and book reviews in both scholarly and popular publications. There is great anticipation at Hildene about the book he is currently working on, a comprehensive biography of Robert Todd Lincoln.
Held on the second Tuesday of each month, January through April, each Winter History Series talk will be held in the Beckwith Room at 7:00 pm. The 45 minute presentation will be followed by a 15 minute question and answer period and all are free and open to the public.
On January 12, Emerson focuses on “Robert Todd Lincoln and His Parents” At the February 9 presentation he examines “Robert Todd Lincoln as Captain of Industry.” “Robert Todd Lincoln and African Americans” will be the topic explored on March 9. The series will conclude on April 13 with a presentation on “Robert Todd Lincoln and his Children and Grandchildren.”
The Museum Store will be open for a cup of coffee and a snack before the event and plentiful parking is available. For further information please call Stephanie at 802.367.7960 or email Stephanie@hildene.org.
December 30, 2009 - Hildene Book Club
The second Monday of every month, the Hildene Book Club meets to discuss books on a wide range of relevant topics. Their choice for January is The Americanization of Benjamin Franklin by Gordon S. Wood, a respected scholar of the colonial and Revolutionary periods.
In his review of the book for The Washington Post entitled “How a ‘true-blue Englishman’ became the icon we know so well,” Jonathan Yardley notes that, “Wood’s biography follows two broad lines of inquiry. The first, as its title makes clear, is Franklin’s slow, difficult progress from ardent supporter of England and its empire to a complete reversal that left ‘no one … more committed to American independence than Franklin.’ The other is the powerful sensitivity to social stratification, traceable to his impoverished childhood and adolescence, that implanted in him ‘an anger with those who claimed an undeserved social superiority that would become an important spur to his ambition’.”
Following the book discussion, Hildene Programming Director, Stephanie Moffett Hynds, will welcome the input of club members on relevant topics such as choosing a meeting time that would allow more people to become involved, future book picks and general themes about the direction of the club .
The book club will meet this month in the Beckwith Room of the Welcome Center from 3:30 to 5:00. The group encourages readers to join in when they can. All are welcome to attend. To learn more about the club, contact Stephanie Moffett Hynds at 802.367.7960 or email email@example.com.
December 30, 2009 Say Cheese!
Celebration of the New Year at Hildene got an early start, when on December 27, Hildene announced that the first Hildene Farm Cheese was ready for tasting. The fresh chevre is proof positive that the three long years of planning, building and working towards the goal of cheesemaking at the Rowland Agricultural Center at Hildene Farm had been well worth the wait.
The entire Hildene family invites the community to sample the new cheese at the Welcome Center during the weekend of January 9 and 10. The season for goat cheese production is nearing an end as the season for kidding begins. While the barn will remain open for public viewing as cheese production with cow’s milk continues throughout the winter, Hildene Farm Cheese, cow or goat, aged or fresh, will not be available for purchase until summer 2010.
To learn more about Hildene, call 802.362.1788 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
December 21, 2009 - Hildene Announces Statewide Lincon Essay Competition Winners
The winners of the 2010 Hildene Lincoln Essay Competition were selected from 88 entries submitted by eighth grade students from 14 schools representing 7 counties throughout Vermont. The geographical demographic of those entering was even more diverse than last year, the first year in which the competition went statewide after three successful competitions that were limited to eighth grade students in Bennington County only. The Lincoln Family Home at Hildene congratulates the 2010 winners:First Place, Ciaren Wade, Arlington Memorial High School, Arlington; Second Place, Anna O’Malley, Albert D. Lawton Intermediate School, Essex Junction; Third Place, Sarabeth Rambold, Manchester Elementary/Middle School, Manchester; Honorable Mentions: Fatema Boxwala, Albert Lawton Intermediate School, Essex Junction; Claire Cofelice, Maple Street School, Manchester; Will Helmetag, Long Trail School, Dorset; Caitlin M. Owen, Long Trail School, Dorset and Gailin Leah Higgins Pease, Windsor Junior/Senior High School, Windsor.
The challenge for participating students was to first read “The Prayer of the Twenty Millions,” the open letter to President Lincoln published by abolitionist and influential editor of the New York Tribune, Horace Greeley, on August 19, 1862 calling on the president to free the slaves as a way of weakening the confederacy. They then readLincoln’s reply. Hildene Executive Director, Seth Bongartz, said of the research each young writer was required to do, “The hope is that understanding the letters will help the students understand the underpinnings of the political and sociological process that Lincoln went through building up to the emancipation of the slaves.” Each student was asked to write an essay explaining why Lincoln wrote his response to Horace Greeley.
There is a strong belief at The Lincoln Family Home that the essay competition fits squarely within Hildene’s mission to: “advance the Lincoln legacy through education, commitment to community and active stewardship of the family’s home and land.” To show appreciation for the efforts of the essayists and in recognition of their accomplishment, each winner will be Hildene’s guest at the annual Lincoln’s Birthday Luncheon at the Equinox Hotel in Manchester. The event will be held on Saturday, January 30, 2010 at 12:00 noon. The first, second and third place winners will read their essays. It seems an appropriate way to celebrate the birthday of the nation’s greatest president, Abraham Lincoln, by honoring young writers and future leaders for their essays expounding on the thoughts and beliefs of this iconic American leader.
The keynote address will be delivered by Charles Smith. For the past three years, as president of the prestigious Snelling Center for Government, it has been Smith’s responsibility to lead the organization in accomplishing its mission “to foster responsible and ethical civic leadership, encourage public service by private citizens, and promote informed citizen participation in shaping public policy in Vermont.” He will discuss the importance of good governance and civic responsibility, key qualities possessed by Abraham Lincoln, and the importance of instilling them in the nation’s youth. All eight winners will also receive their awards: “$1,000, First Prize; $750, Second Prize; $500, Third Prize; and $200 each, Honorable Mention. The Lincoln Essay Competition and annual Lincoln’s Birthday Luncheon are sponsored by Spiral Press Café and The Perfect Wife restaurant.
Reservations are required for the luncheon which is $40 per person. For more information on the event or to reserve a seat call Stephanie at 802.367.7960 or emailStephanie@hildene.org.
Hildene Celebrates Lincoln’s Birthday With Children’s Event
On Saturday, February 6, Hildene hosts “Abe Lincoln’s Hat” at 10:00 am in the Beckwith Room. The party will include the annual interactive reading of Abe Lincoln’s Hat, written by Martha Brenner, crafts and of course in celebration of Abe’s birthday, cupcakes! After donning the Lincoln hats they have made, the children will parade up to the mansion to see one of Abe’s real stovepipe hats on display as part of the exhibit, “The American Ideal: Abraham Lincoln and the Second Inaugural.”
Materials fee for the event is $3 per child accompanied by an adult. The suggested age is grades one through four. Space is limited and pre-registration is encouraged.
To pre-register a child for “Abe Lincoln’s Hat” on February 6, call Stephanie at
802.367. 7960 or email Stephanie@hildene.org.
Lincoln Essay Contest Winners Feted At Equinox Luncheon
This year’s Hildene luncheon celebrating Lincoln’s birthday and honoring the winners of the fourth annual Lincoln Essay Competition takes place at the Equinox Resort on January 30 at 12:00 noon. The keynoter will be Charlie Smith of the Snelling Center for Government. Smith will address students, teachers, parents and guests on the importance of instilling the principles of good governance and civic responsibility, and how Abraham Lincoln, in word and deed, exemplified the same. The speaker and his topic are particularly appropriate in light of the fact that the challenge posed for this year’s competition involved an examination of Lincoln’s motives as leader, when he made his famous response to an outspoken critic of his policies regarding slavery in 1862.
Participating young eighth grade writers were asked to submit an essay of no more than 500 words explaining why President Lincoln wrote his response to “The Prayer of the Twenty Millions,” an open letter written to him in the press by abolitionist and influential editor of the New York Tribune, Horace Greeley. The letter called upon the president to free the slaves as a way of weakening the confederacy. 88 students from 14 schools, representing 7 counties throughout Vermont responded by submitting their essays, from which an independent panel of judges from Vermont’s four corners selected the winners.
Upon graduation from Harvard College in 1978, featured speaker Charlie Smith embarked on a journey that would take him from the halls of Vermont state government to the offices of corporate America and back to Vermont to serve in the Douglas Administration from 2003 to 2006. He served first as Secretary of the Agency of Human Services and then as Secretary of Administration. From mid 2006 to 2009, Smith was called upon to apply his myriad leadership experiences to his role as President of the Snelling Center for Government whose “mission is to foster responsible and ethical civic leadership, encourage public service by private citizens, and promote informed citizen participation in shaping public policy in Vermont.” His lifelong commitment to leadership makes him well suited for the presentation at a luncheon honoring one of our nation’s greatest leaders and celebrating those of the future.
The first, second and third place winners will read their essays at the event. All eight winners will receive their awards: $1,000, First Prize; $750 Second Prize; $500 Third Prize and $200 each for five Honorable Mentions. The Lincoln Essay Competition and annual Lincoln’s Birthday Luncheon are sponsored by Spiral Press Café and The Perfect Wife Restaurant..
Reservations are required for the luncheon at a cost of $40 per person. For more information on the event or to reserve a seat, call 802.367.7960 or email Stephanie@hildene.org.
Hildene Author Event Features Renowned Lincoln Scholar Ronald C. White
On Friday, January 30 at 5:30 at Hildene’s Welcome Center, distinguished Lincoln scholar and author, Ronald C. White, will talk about his newest book, A. Lincoln: A Biography. Following the presentation there will be a book signing and author reception.
Dr. White received his master of divinity degree from Princeton Theological Seminary and his doctorate from Princeton University. His new Lincoln biography was preceded by two earlier books: The Eloquent President: A Portrait of Lincoln Through His Words (2005) and Lincoln’s Greatest Speech: The Second Inaugural (2002). Noted Lincoln scholar and Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Battle Cry of Freedom, James McPherson says of White’s most recent contribution to the growing body of Lincoln literature, “Ronald C. White’s A. Lincoln is the best biography of Lincoln since David Donald’s Lincoln ...The special strengths that lift this work above other biographies include a brilliant analysis of Lincoln’s principal speeches and writings... Another strength is White’s analysis of Lincoln’s evolving religious convictions, which shaped the core of his effective leadership, his moral integrity. White’s discussion of Lincoln’s changing attitudes and policies with respect to slavery and race is also a key aspect of this biography. Amid all the books on Lincoln that will be published during the coming year, this one will stand out as one of the best.”
On January 31, Dr. White will deliver the keynote address at the Lincoln’s Birthday Luncheon following the presentation of Lincoln Writing Competition Awards at the Equinox Hotel in Manchester. It is anticipated that the author will draw on his vast experience chronicling the life of Lincoln the leader and specifically Lincoln the gifted writer in his remarks to the students, parents, teachers and friends gathered for this annual event honoring the birthday of the nation’s 16th and most revered president.
To learn more about the Ronald C. White author event or to make reservations for the Lincoln’s Birthday Luncheon contact Carrie at 802.367.7960 or visit www.hildene.org.
Hildene Executive Director to Present First Lecture of Winter History Series
Hildene, The Lincoln Family Home, is especially pleased to announce that in this bicentennial year celebrating the birth of the nation’s 16th and greatest president, the first presentation of the 2009 Winter History Series gives the podium to Executive Director, Seth Bongartz. He will begin with “Lincoln the Leader.” This year’s series of thematically connected lectures will focus on the complexity and character of President Lincoln.
In his talk Bongartz will examine five key decisions made by the president during his tenure, proposing how those decisions provide insight into why Lincoln was such a remarkable leader. The presenter has been honing his own leadership skills lifelong along with a growing respect for the role the Great Emancipator played in American history. Bongartz earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from Skidmore College and his J. D. from Case Western Reserve School of Law in 1987. Prior to taking the helm at Hildene in 2002, he served in the House and Senate of the Vermont State Legislature between 1981 and 1985 and practiced law for more than a decade in Manchester. Admittedly passionate about history, preservation and education and in particular Lincoln’s legacy and the Civil War, when his schedule permits, Bongartz lectures on the topic he will address on the 22nd.
On the fourth Thursday of each month, January through April, each Winter History Series session will begin at 7:00 in the Beckwith Room at the Welcome Center. The 45 minute presentations will be followed by a 30 minute question and answer period and all are free and open to the public. Thursday, February 26, Retired U.S. Naval Academy Professor, Craig Symonds, will speak on Lincoln as Commander in Chief. Anderson University Professor, Brian Dirck, will focus on Lincoln the Lawyer in his Thursday, March 22 lecture. The final lecture in the series entitled Lincoln; A Study in Character will be delivered by Connecticut College Professor Emeritus, Michael Burlingame, on Thursday, April 23.
Hildene’s Museum Store will be open for a cup of coffee and a snack before the event and plentiful parking is available. For further information please call Hildene at 802.367.7960 or email email@example.com.
Hildene Announces Statewide Writing Competition Winners
In the fall of 2008, based on the successes of the 2006 and 2007 Lincoln Writing Competitions for eighth graders in Bennington County’s public, private and homeshools, Hildene went statewide with an invitation to this same grade level. The expansion is significant and comes at a historic time, during the national Bicentennial Celebration of Abraham Lincoln’s birth. Essays were submitted by students from across the Green Mountain State and then scored by a panel of judges from Vermont’s four corners. The Lincoln Family Home congratulates the winners of the 2008 Hildene Lincoln Writing Competition; First Place, Lillian Dear from Long Trail School, Dorset; Second Place, Julia Gilbert, Main Street Middle School, Monpelier; Third Place, Danielle Liguori, Essex Middle School, Essex Junction; Honorable Mentions, Eliza Farley, Arlington Memorial High School, Arlington and Jordan LaMothe, Long Trail School, Dorset.
The challenge for participating students was to write an essay exploring the meaning of a key sentence from President Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address, arguably his greatest. He wrote, “If we shall suppose that American Slavery is one of those offenses which, in the providence of God, must needs come, but which, having continued through His appointed time, He now wills to remove, and that He gives both the North and South, this terrible war, as the woe due to those by whom the offense came, shall we discern therein any departure from those devine attributes which the believers in a Living God always ascribe to Him?”
There is a strong belief at The Lincoln Family Home that the writing competition fits squarely within Hildene’s mission to: “advance the Lincoln legacy through education, commitment to community and active stewardship of the family’s home and land.”
To show appreciation for the efforts of the essayists and in recognition of their accomplishment, each winner will be Hildene’s guest at the annual Lincoln’s Birthday Luncheon at the Equinox Hotel in Manchester. The event will be held on Saturday, January 31, 2009 at 12:00 pm. The first, second and third place winners will read their essays. The keynote address will be delivered by Ronald C. White, Jr., a noted Lincoln scholar and author of several books, including Lincoln’s Greatest Speech: The Second Inaugural. All five winners will also receive their awards; $1,000, First Prize; $750, Second Prize; $500, Third Prize; and $200 each, Honorable Mention. The Lincoln Writing Competition and annual Lincoln’s Birthday Luncheon are sponsored by Spiral Press and The Perfect Wife Restaurant.
Reservations are required for the luncheon at a cost of $30 per person. For more information on the event or to reserve a seat call Programming Director, Carrie Howe at 802.367.7960 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
All is Ready for Hildene Holiday Evenings 2008!
A visit to The Lincoln Family Home for Hildene Holiday Evenings on Sunday, December 28 and Monday, December 29 from 4:30 to 6:30 will provide guests with a rare glimpse of what “Coming Home for the Holidays” might have looked like at the turn of the century. The Lincoln’s home, built in 1905 by Robert Todd Lincoln, President Lincoln’s oldest and only child to survive to adulthood, has the look and feel of the Gilded Age of which Robert and wife Mary Harlan were a part.
Led by Hildene Holiday Decorating co-chairs, Amy Thebault and Corinne Knight, a dedicated volunteer committee has “decked the historic halls” and beyond with fresh pine garlands on the staircase banisters, wreaths aplenty and yards of Victorian satin ribbon and the traditional twelve foot Christmas tree is a beautiful sight in the welcoming center hall, filled with poinsettias. In addition area nursery, floral and interior designers from across The Shires of Vermont have woven their individual brands into the rooms of the century old Vermont retreat that Robert called his ancestral home and that three generations of Lincolns inhabited for 70 years. This year’s guest decorators are Thebault Design, Equinox Valley Nursery, Tara Pollio Floral Design, Hildene Flower Ladies, Lisa Laberge, Nancy Bishop Floral Design and Mettowee Mill Nursery.
With a little help from Mother Nature, guests may have the added benefit of seeing the house in a spectacular snow covered setting. Mistress of the house, Mary Harlan Lincoln described one scene this way in a letter written to close friend, Laura Hollister, on December 31, 1915, “You’ve no idea how beautiful it is up here today... everything covered with the whitest, purest snow I ever saw, and this morning in a beautiful filmy white lace, studded with diamonds... Mr. Lincoln said he never in his whole life saw such a beautiful sight.”
Yearly Hildene Holiday Evenings bring guests from near and far to see The Lincoln Family Home illuminated with candlelight and filled with the musical sounds of the season. The Tall Spire Bellringers from Manchester’s First Congregational Church will play on both evenings from 4:30 to 5:00 and 5:30 to 6:00. Alternating with the bells will be guest organists playing the Lincoln’s 1000 pipe Aeolian organ from 5:00 to 5:30 and 6:00 to 6:30 on both evenings. This year marks the 100th anniversary of the organ, a birthday gift from Robert to Mary in 1908. Such an instrument was considered to be a status symbol at the turn of the century and this organ is the oldest residential pipe organ in the country still located in the original place for which it was purchased. There is a good luck New Year’s bonfire just east of the porte cochere and hot cider and Mrs. Murphy’s donuts await visitors fireside in the Ski Touring Center. There will be carolers at the center on Sunday from 4:30 to 6:30. Whether on foot, by shuttle or on the big red farm wagon, guests will begin and end their holiday evening in the Welcome Center located in the Lincoln’s 100 year old carriage barn. Dressed in all its holiday finery, the spirit of the season abounds in Hildene’s Museum Store where shoppers can expect distinctive items including all things Lincoln, Gilded Age, gardens, history, nature and Vermont.
Admission to this year’s Holiday Evenings, December 28 and 29 is $15 for adults and $5 for children under 14. Members, volunteers and children under 5 are free. The Lincoln Family Home at Hildene is open daily from 9:30 to 4:30. (Closed December 24, 25 and 26 for the holiday.) Regular admission is $12.50 for adults, $5 for youths 6-14, children under 6, Hildene members and volunteers are free. For more information visit www.hildene.org, call 802.362.1788 or email email@example.com.
2009 Winter History Series to Focus on Lincoln
The 2009 Hildene Winter History Series will be decidedly focused on Abraham Lincoln in this 200th anniversary year of his birth. With Lincoln bicentennial celebrations ongoing across the nation, The Lincoln Family Home is pleased to be presenting four thematically unified lectures that look at the complexity and character of the 16th president of the United States. In the 2006 Hildene Winter History Series entitled: “Who is Our Greatest President?” Lincoln earned the majority of attendee’s votes to capture the title over George Washington, Franklin Delano Roosevelt and “sleeper candidate,” John Polk.
On the fourth Thursday of each month, January through April, each Winter History Series session will begin at 7:00 in the Beckwith Room at the Welcome Center. The 45 minute presentations will be followed by a 30 minute question and answer period and all are free and open to the public. On Thursday, January 22, Hildene Executive Director, Seth Bongartz, will present Lincoln the Leader. Thursday, February 26, Retired U.S. Naval Academy Professor, Craig Symonds, will speak on Lincoln as Commander in Chief. Anderson University Professor, Brian Dirck, will focus on Lincoln the Lawyer in his Thursday, March 22 lecture. The final lecture in the series entitled Lincoln; A Study in Character will be delivered by Connecticut College Professor Emeritus, Michael Burlingame, on Thursday, April 23.
Hildene’s Museum Store will be open for a cup of coffee and a snack before the event and plentiful parking is available. For further information please call Hildene at 802.367.7960 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
X-Country Skiing at Hildene Gets a Boost from Recent Snowfall
Some snow dreams really do come true and the staff at Hildene’s Ski Touring Center couldn’t be more pleased. The center is now open and cross-country ski and snowshoe enthusiasts are encouraged to take advantage of the approximately 14 kilometers of trails surrounding the historic Lincoln Family Home and covered with a freshly fallen blanket of snow. Ski trail passes may be purchased at the Welcome Center. Hildene members ski free all season.
Since the mid-80’s cross country skiing has consisted of primarily two styles. One is the traditional stride or classical style, the style used at Hildene. The second is freestyle which is significantly faster and incorporates the “skating” technique. For “skate skiers,” the meadow trails are managed to include clear rolled and packed areas. Maintained trails on The Lincoln Family Home’s land are packed and tracked and can accommodate both skiers and snowshoers. While the majority of the terrain is appropriate for novices, advanced skiers looking for quick turns and more downhill trails will find several “black” trails on the property that provide the challenge they seek.
The post and beam style Ski Pavilion is a warm and welcoming shelter with a woodburning stove and staff prepared to assist skiers as needed. Skis, poles and snowshoes are available for rental or skiers may bring their own equipment. Lessons are available by prior arrangement.
The Museum Store has hot chocolate, coffee and snacks available for those wishing to purchase an apres ski treat. Skiers often browse in the Museum Store before heading up to the Lincoln home to learn more about the family. Admission to the historic mansion is complimentary with a ski trail pass.
Based on weather conditions, the Ski Touring Center is open daily from 9:30 to 4:00 pm. All those using trails must sign in at the Welcome Center. The Lincoln Family Home is open daily from 9:30 am to 4:30 pm. For information on rates or conditions, call 802.362.1788 or visit www.hildene.org.
Thanksgiving Kicks Off Holiday Season at Hildene
President Abraham Lincoln signed the national proclamation designating the last Thursday of November as a national day of “Thanksgiving” in October 1863. Hopeful that the end of the Civil War was in sight, he believed that the November holiday would give a weary people time to pause and give thanks. Given this historic precedent, it is only natural that the Lincoln Family Home at Hildene, the Georgian Revival home built by the president’s son, Robert Todd Lincoln would mark the beginning of the festive holiday season with Thanksgiving.
Following the Thanksgiving holiday the décor at the home gradually transitions from a harvest theme to that of a Victorian era country retreat at Christmastime. From December 3 through January 1, guests can experience the look and feel of the Gilded Age of which Robert and Mary Lincoln were a part. Hildene Holiday Decorating co-chairs Amy Thebault of Thebault Design and Corinne Knight of Scribbles and their committee have once again organized the annual “decking of the halls” of the Lincoln’s Georgian Revival mansion. Area nursery, floral and interior decorators from across The Shires of Vermont will each weave their own style and creativity into the rooms of the century old mansion, celebrating their art in keeping with the spirit of the Lincoln family’s home. Adding to the beauty of the installations in the rooms and common areas of the estate, are candles in the windows, fresh pine garland on the staircase banisters, wreaths aplenty, yards of Victorian style satin ribbon and the traditional twelve foot Christmas tree proudly standing in the center hall. The committee of volunteers and professional decorators strive to create an experience that delights the senses of visitors of all ages with a feeling of “coming home for the holidays” while creating lasting memories.
During regular hours, 9:30 am to 4:30 pm daily, guests can stroll through the mansion with interpreters and staff on hand to answer questions about the home’s history and famous inhabitants. There will be two Hildene Holiday Evenings on Sunday, December 28 and Monday, December 29, from 4:30 to 6:30. This celebrated annual event brings guests from near and far to see the Lincoln’s home illuminated with candlelight and filled with the musical sounds of the season, including handbells, piano and the Aeolian pipe organ. This year marks the 100th anniversary of the organ, a birthday gift from Robert to his wife, Mary, in 1908. There is a good luck New Year’s bonfire in the yard and hot cider and Mrs. Murphys’ donuts await visitors fireside in the Ski Touring Center on their way back to the Welcome Center and Museum Store.
Regular admission for exhibits, house and grounds is $12.50 for adults and $5 for children under 14. Members, volunteers and children under 5 are free. Admission to this year’s Holiday Evenings, December 28 and 29 is $15 for adults and $5 for children under 14. Members, volunteers and children under 5 are free. Parking is at the Welcome Center. There will be a shuttle available to the house. For more information please call Hildene at 802.362.1788.
Hildene Receives Vermont Clean Energy Development Fund Grant
Hildene was recently named the recipient of a Vermont Clean Energy Development Fund Grant. The award will be used to install solar energy panels on the roof of the newly dedicated Rowland Agricultural Center located on the 10 acre meadow of the Lincoln family’s Manchester estate. The new barn was constructed and designed to utilize renewable energy resources from solar and wood fuel and was placed on the site specifically to meet this objective.
David O’Brien, Commissioner of the Department of Public Service notes that, “The development of clean energy projects remains key to Vermont’s energy future and the Clean Energy Development Fund continues to prompt creative and actionable ideas in new generation.” Driven by its mission, “to advance the Lincoln legacy through education, commitment to community, and active stewardship of the family’s home and land,” Hildene believes their clean energy initiative will demonstrate its commitment to stewardship and community. Executive Director, Seth Bongartz stated, “It is our intent that the installation of a cost effective and environmentally sustainable solar electric power resource will serve as a prototype for others to replicate while benefiting Vermont in the long term.” With educational programming a top priority for Hildene, the renewable energy project provides yet another opportunity to focus the attention of students on the importance of clean and renewable energy. To this end, educational components such as programming and interpretive displays at the barn will lend support to this belief. As a major attraction, Hildene is also positioned to illustrate to its more than 40,000 annual visitors that solar power is a viable and reliable alternative to traditional methods. They expect, when completed, this facility will be able to demonstrate the systems, technology and philosophy that form a sustainable and carefully conceived strategy that approaches net zero use of non-renewable energy.
There is great excitement at The Lincoln Family Home about the solar project and the new agricultural complex. Consistent with their 25 year forest management plan, the Rowland Agricultural Center is constructed with timber harvested and milled from the woodlands of the Lincoln family’s 412 acre estate, part of a closed loop system. The 40 by 100 foot barn is designed specifically to house a goat herd and for viewing cheesemaking from the milking of the goats to the processing of a signature Hildene Farm cheese. It is anticipated that given its location in The Shires of Vermont, and Hildene’s commitment to promoting the state’s cheesemakers, the Center will become a resource for visitors to discover the wide variety of artisan cheeses available statewide on the Vermont Cheese Trail. Upon completion, planned for summer 2009, it will become another part of the Hildene experience for guests and serve as an example of small scale sustainable farming in the Green Mountain State. Additionally, as a result of the Clean Energy Development Grant the entire agricultural center project will become a valuable teaching tool for generations to come on the importance of renewable clean energy generation.
To learn more about the work of the Vermont Department of Public Service visit http://publicservice.vermont.gov.
Hoyt and Ehrich Join Hildene Trustees
The Hildene Trustees recently welcomed two new board members: Perez Ehrich and Tony Hoyt. Both men will bring their diverse backgrounds and a breadth of experience to bear on their roles as trustees.
Perez Ehrich earned his BA from Harvard College, Juris Doctor from New York Law School and in 1976, his LLM from New York University School of Law. He practiced corporate and finance law in New York until 1997 when he returned to his native Vermont to join his brother Terry, in publishing Hemmings Motor News. Ehrich brings his lifelong dedication to education, the environment and social responsibility to the Hildene board at a time of growth at The Lincoln Family Home that is focused on education and scholarship, sustainability and stewardship of the family’s home and land.
Perez resides in Arlington with his wife, Elizabeth and in addition to serving on a number of non-profit boards, enjoys small scale pasture farming and time with his five grown children and four grandchildren.
Born and raised in Cold Spring Harbor, New York, Tony Hoyt is a University of Virginia alumnus and currently serves as a member of the university’s President’s Council for the Arts. He is a well known and highly respected publishing and marketing executive with more than 30 years of experience in the world of advertising and magazines, including stints with media giants, Hearst Magazines and American Media, Inc. On the heals of his successful career in publishing, Hoyt took the helm as Senior Vice President of the Magazine Division of Digital: Convergence Corporation. Digital Convergence was a technology start-up company that manufactured and distributed the Cue Cat, an optical barcode reader for magazines, newspapers and catalogues. He is the founder and current CEO of Tony Hoyt and Associates, a publishing consulting firm.
A resident of Vermont, Tony splits his time between his Upper East Side New York apartment and his home on Tollgate Road in Manchester. He is the father of two grown children, Betsy and Bobby, and has a lifelong connection to the Manchester area dating back to his own childhood and weekends spent with his aunt and uncle, Lyn and Win Hoyt.