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From the rousing to the reverential, the Boston Athenaeum's Lincoln Related Sheet Music Collection documents the evolving perceptions of Abraham Lincoln and his times, through the lens of popular music of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Created by an unknown compiler and lacking acquisition information, the collection contains a variety of musical genres such as dance music, marches, hymns, and ballads. Additionally, the collection touches upon key historical moments including: the elections of 1860 and 1864, the passing of the Confiscation Act of 1861, the issuing of greenbacks, Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation, the Chicago Copperhead movement, various Civil War campaigns, and Lincoln's assassination and funeral. Later works speak to the subsequent mythology that has developed around Lincoln and the appropriation of his memory for patriotic purposes.

 

Graham Skinner

Rare Materials Catalog Librarian

 

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