“With Malice Toward None, With Charity for All”

“With Malice Toward None” Diorama 17.5 in. wide x 17 in. high x 16 in. deep.   North Façade (Left photo); South Façade (Right photo)

“With Malice Toward None, With Charity for All” commemorates President Abraham Lincoln in this cardboard diorama representing the White House.

The main stage, or north façade tells the story of President Lincoln in relationship to the Civil War. 

  John Wilkes Booth’s bullet would end the life of President Lincoln on April 15, 1865, but the President’s Gettysburg Address delivered On November 19, 1863, still resounds today. “Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth, upon this continent, a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.” He closes: “...and that government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth.”

  The Civil War, with inevitable victory of the North, was near its end. Rather than gloat, Lincoln appealed to all the people for peace and civility, “... to bind up the nation’s wounds...

First Lady Michelle Obama inspired the South Façade when, at the Democratic Convention in 2016, she said, “I wake up every morning in a house that was built by slaves...”

 Lincoln's quote from August 22, 1864 on the North Facade frieze is a counterpoint, “I happen temporarily to occupy this big White House. I am living witness that any one of your children may look to come here as my father’s child has.”

   President John Adams first Lady Abigail were the first residents of what was then called the Executive Mansion. She recorded her direct observations in a letter dated November 28, 1800. “The effects of Slavery are visible everywhere,...” “Two of our hardy N England men would do as much work in a day as the whole 12, but it is true Republicanism that drive the Slaves half fed, and destitute of cloathing, ...to labour, whilst the owner waches about Idle, tho his one Slave is all the property he can boast...”

DIORAMA DETAILS North Façade

President Lincoln in the White House

Floor

  • “With Malice Toward None, With Charity for All”, 2nd Inaugural address

  •  “And that the government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth.” Gettysburg Address

  • “Lincoln Slept Here” (photocopy of my book cover)

  •  President Lincoln (acrylic painting on wood tablet) 

  • Stovepipe hat with bullet hole. The president was on his horse, alone on the road from the Soldier’s Home to the White House, when a gunshot rang out. Lincoln claimed to not have noticed incident when the next day, soldiers found a bullet hole in the hat. This was one of five known assassination attempts on Lincoln before the fatal one. The black memorial band is for the Lincolns’ son Willie, who was 11 when he died in the White House. (cardboard, acrylic)

  • Portions of the Gettysburg Address peek out from under the hat where Lincoln regularly stored his writing drafts. (photocopies, recolored)

  • “A Humble Memorial in Every Pocket.” Reverse side of the Lincoln portrait is the Lincoln penny, first produced in 1909. The most widely distributed coin, and of the least value, seems a fitting memorial for the President of humble origin. (acrylic)

  • Pediment, Lincoln’s log cabin (pencil) 

  • Frieze, “I happen temporarily to occupy this big White House. I am living witness that any one of your children may look to come here as my father’s child has.” Address to the 166th Ohio Regiment (photocopy)

Upper panel, left to right

  • “Lincoln Did Not Sleep Here” Lincoln met with his cabinet in his bedroom and never slept in the custom-made eight-foot long rosewood bed. (pencil)

  • “Now he belongs to the ages” Lincoln Tomb, Oak Ridge Cemetery in Springfield, Illinois. (ink) Quote by Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton. (pencil)

Lower panels, left to right

  • “At Battlefield of Antietam”, (Lincoln and his Generals), Alexander Gardner, photographer, Mathew Brady, publisher (pencil)

  • “Flag Bearer”, Sgt. Alexander Rogers, 83rd Pennsylvania Volunteers. (acrylic)

  • Petersen House where Lincoln died. (pencil)

DIORAMA DETAILS   South Façade

Slavery and the White House

Center panel/ semi-circular portico

  • Frieze “I wake up every morning in a house that was built by slaves...”

         Michelle Obama

  • Pediment Slaves hoeing with President’s House in background. (ink) 

  • Roof Architect James Hoban’s slave payroll (photocopy)

Left panel

  • “Ain’t I a Woman?” (pencil) Sojourner Truth, an emancipated slave turned preacher. At the Women’s Rights Convention in Akron, Ohio,1851, she famously asked this in a speech. It became a slogan for the late 1960s’ women’s movement. She met with President Lincoln, but the photo of them together was a manipulation—an irony for someone named Truth.

  • “$1200” Slave advertisement (ink)

Bottom across entire façade,  left-right

  • Slaves hoeing (ink)

Center panel top, left to right

  • “Lincoln Effigy Doll” (watercolor) Rare artifact since most effigies were burned by Lincoln detractors. The Lincoln face lifts to show the black face.

  • “Topsy Turvy Doll” (watercolor) The double identity doll--its dress hiding a black persona and flipping over to a white one--originated in the South before the Civil War. Likely made by the slave mother, it expresses the complex relationship between master and slave in a topsy-turvy world. It may have been named after the Topsy and Eva characters in Harriet Beecher Stowe’s “Uncle Tom’s Cabin.” 

Center panel bottom

  • “We The People”, Preamble to the US Constitution

  • Frieze: left & right panels

  • “Slaves half fed, and destitute of cloathing, ... ”  Abigail Adams 

Right panel, left to right

  • “Frederick Douglass” (pencil) A former slave, he was an influential abolitionist, speaker, and vice-presidential candidate. He met twice with Lincoln in the White House.

  • “KKK Klansman” (ink wash) 

©2019 Susan Bercu  All Rights Reserved

Videos, Photos of Dioramas  ©2019 Ken Smith All Rights Reserved

No use or reproduction of any content without permission of Susan Bercu

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