Lincoln Slept Here Handcrafted Book
Lincoln Slept Here
Handcrafted Book by Susan Bercu, 5.5 W x 4.5 H, 64 pages
“...we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain...and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”
--President Abraham Lincoln, from the Gettysburg Address, Nov. 19, 1863
You can’t grow up in Illinois, the “Land of Lincoln”, as I did, without the myth of the Great Emancipator thrumming through your heart. We recited the Gettysburg Address and clambered onto the school bus for the field trip to his Springfield home. His assassination was more than a historical fact—it was my personal loss. I’d cry when reciting Walt Whitman’s eulogies, “When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom’d” and “O Captain My Captain.”
“Lincoln Slept Here”, the title of my handcrafted book, was sparked long ago when I visited the historic town of Galena, Illinois and saw those words on a plaque at a hotel entrance. When you drive around the state, you see towns with similar signs. When I created this small stitched and ribbon-bound bound book, I had Abraham Lincoln on my mind but didn’t know he’d become my mission. I painted the title “Lincoln Slept Here” on the black grosgrain mourning bands of the cover and so began my journey to the places where Lincoln stayed.
My research took me on so many strange and surprising detours that the 64 pages became jammed with photo reproductions, my drawings, paintings and handwritten notes. I needed a larger format to tell the stories; my tabletop dioramas accomplish that.
Since the bizarre is my central theme, it is fitting that Lincoln’s final resting place wasn’t all that restful. Two years after he was buried, grave robbers attempted to kidnap his body for ransom but were foiled. For the next 20 years, Lincoln’s body was reburied 17 times until his final internment at the Lincoln Tomb in Oakridge Cemetery, Springfield, Illinois. Alas, I contribute to “digging him up” for my book and “The Strange Fates of Lincoln” museum.
Selected spreads.10 total. Click film strip at right to enlarge.
Presidents' Day; Celebrating Lincoln's Birthday
The Bowed Head: Robert Lincoln mourning; President John F. Kennedy official portrait; Abraham Lincoln in Chicago Lincoln Park
Strange Fates: Robert Lincoln; Mary Lincoln; Major Henry Rathbone
Deaths of the young Lincoln sons; Melancholy of Mary and Abraham Lincoln; Elizabeth Keckley, seamstress and former slave
Lincoln Slept Here: Lincoln boots and top hat; Galena Illinois: Abraham Lincoln and Ulysses Grant
Lincoln Did Not Sleep Here: The Lincoln bedroom; Executive Mansion
Attack on Fort Sumter. Painting after Thomas F. Schwartz
Executive Mansion and road to summer home; Battle of Antietam
Post-Civil War racism: Marian Anderson; Lincoln Memorial; KKK
Under the Gaze of the Lincoln Memorial: Martin Luther King; President Barack Obama
Frontpiece "Lincoln Slept Here"
Susan Bercu, ink (book page)
Log Cabin Where Lincoln was Born
Susan Bercu, ink (book page)