A FEW OTHER EVENTS FOR
NOVEMBER 19:

  • Happy birthday Margaret Musgrove (Ashanti to Zulu) and Ann Herbert Scott (Cowboy Country).
  • It’s “play ball” not “work ball.” In 1953 the U.S. Supreme Court rules baseball is a sport, not a business. Read The Boy Who Saved Baseball by John Ritter.
  • It’s Have a Bad Day Day, an antidote to the phrase “Have a good day.” Read Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst, illustrated by Ray Cruz.
  • World Toilet Day was started by the World Toilet Organization to improve toilet and sanitation conditions around the globe. Read Captain Underpants and the Attack of the Talking Toilets by Dav Pilkey and Flush by Carl Hiaasen.

On November 19, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln helped dedicate seventeen acres of the Civil War battlefield at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. Orator Edward Everett delivered the main speech that day. He spoke for two hours; Lincoln’s short address lasted about two minutes. Although contemporaries thought little of the president’s address, today we consider “The Gettysburg Address” one of the most eloquent speeches in the English language.

When Ingri and Edgar Parin d’Aulaire received the third Caldecott Medal for Abraham Lincoln, their Norwegian families were living under Nazi occupation. In this book, first published in 1940, the D’Aulaires present Lincoln as an American folk hero—larger than life, with all the legends that had grown up around him. The book does not end with his assassination, but with him setting down in a rocking chair to rest, having held a great nation together.

Like an old painting, allowed to gather dust before it is gloriously restored, this gem of a book had been allowed to deteriorate in quality over the years. Originally, it had been printed using stone lithography but that method became too expensive for the publisher Doubleday to execute. In 1957 they asked the D’Aulaires to redraw all the art for this book and create acetate films for printing. This new edition suffered greatly in its color and clarity and looked quite different from the book that the artists had originally created.

A few years ago Rea Berg of Beautiful Feet Books saw a first edition of Abraham Lincoln and realized how much of its grandeur had been lost over the years. Using that edition as her guide, Rea directed a new color separation for each page—working to restore the book to its former glory.

The 2008 edition from Beautiful Feet Books allows readers to view Abraham Lincoln as the D’Aulaires saw him. Because of the care with color reproduction and the heavy ivory paper selected for the book, contemporary audiences can finally see why the D’Aulaires and their artwork was held in awe by those who first saw it published.

Today in honor of Lincoln’s great speech at Gettysburg, pick up the D’Aluaires’ loving and glorious tribute to their hero. In this new edition, Lincoln is given the respect he deserved that day in Gettysburg.

Here’s a page from Abraham Lincoln:


Originally posted November 19, 2010. Updated for 2014.

Tags: Award Winning, Caldecott, Civil War, History

COMMENTS

  1. Rea Berg says:

    Thank you, Anita for the timely reminder of the importance of this day in history and for the lovely tie-in with the D’Aulaire’s work.

  2. I love this, Anita. I’ve added it to my favorites. Knowing you, it’s going to be endlessly interesting.

  3. Mary Zisk says:

    I LOVED this book as a child, and when I saw the above illustration, I remembered every detail. I’m glad it has been restored.

  4. World Toilet Day? Now I know why our high school did the musical Urinetown last week (and a very excellent job they did with it too).

  5. Anita says:

    Monica: I like to cover a wide range of interests with these holidays…

  6. Rea Berg says:

    Thank you, Anita, and a great big congratulations on your first anniversary of your book-a-day almanac! May you celebrate many many more! Your posts, insights, and passion are a continual inspiration. Have a warm and wonderful Thanksgiving.

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