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balcony of this old hotel, Lincoln delivered his first reply to Douglas; and it was here that the Lincoln delegation had its headquarters, and did the tireless planning which resulted in his nomination. It was here, too, that Vice-President Hamlin first met Lincoln, on November twenty-third, 1860, in response to a letter from him, after their election. In the Northwestern University Law School, located in this building, the General Committee held most of its meetings.
The President of the Chicago Public Library Board, Bernard J. Cigrand, spoke at a meeting held at Memorial Hall, Chicago Public Library Building. It was through his untiring efforts as a member of the general Committee, that meetings were held in practically every public and private library of Chicago. In addition to these meetings, the Illinois Naval Reserves marched through the streets to Lincoln Park, where the statue of Lincoln by Saint-Gaudens is located; and, at twelve o'clock, noon, a presidential salute of twenty-one guns was fired, in the presence of a great throng of school children, who sang patriotic songs.
No banquet was included in the programme of the general Committee, but many dinners were given in honor of the Centenary. The leading one, on the Centennial day itself, was that under the auspices of the Industrial Club in the "gold room" of the Congress Hotel. Mason B. Starring, President of the Club, acted as toastmaster. Among those who responded to toasts with brief speeches in honor of Lincoln, were Maj. Gen. Frederick Dent Grant, U. S. A., son of Gen. Ulysses S. Grant, who carried out, in the field, the policies Lincoln planned in the White House, proving the strongest bulwark of the administration; and Gen. Smith D. Atkins, the editor of The Freeport Daily Journal, and a contemporary and personal acquaintance of Lincoln.
The Chicago Bar Association gave a banquet in honor of the Centenary, on the preceding evening, at which there were a number of speakers who gave personal reminiscences of Lincoln. Three of the important speeches of the evening were delivered by Hon. John C. Richberg, John T. Richards, Esq., and Hon. William G. Ewing, fellow-members of the Illinois
bar. The speeches given are included in this volume because it is believed they give interesting material on a side of Lincoln which has only recently come to be appreciated. It should not be forgotten, either, that if the ideals of Lincoln are to be preserved for our children, they will only be continued through the thought and vision of the American bar of to-day.
At a luncheon of The Irish Fellowship Club during Lincoln week, an impressive speech was delivered by Judge Peter Stenger Grosscup, of the United States Circuit Court of Appeals. The statue of Lincoln by Saint-Gaudens, to which Judge Grosscup refers, is a sitting figure, and has been procured by the Crerar Fund Trustees, of whom Judge Grosscup is one, to be placed in Grant Park, Chicago.
The Abraham Lincoln Center, a community house, held a celebration, lasting throughout the week, under the direction of Rev. Jenkin Lloyd Jones. Here was exhibited the famous Fay collection of pictures of Lincoln, numbering more than one thousand portraits.
One of the most unique meetings of the week was that held on the evening of the Centenary at Dexter Park Pavilion, with Arthur Meeker as Chairman, to whose unstinted efforts and able generalship is due the unusual interest it created. It was a great patriotic song meeting, with a chorus of a thousand voices, and orchestra, leading the great audience in the singing of the patriotic songs of the country. One of the features of the evening was an illustrated lecture by Rev. Jenkin Lloyd Jones. More than fifteen thousand people crowded into the building to hear and join in the exercises, and as many more were turned away from the doors, the building being packed to suffocation.
At the Chicago Historical Society, on Friday evening, February 12, Col. Clark E. Carr, of Galesburg, Illinois, delegate to the Dedication of the National Cemetery at Gettysburg, in 1863, delivered an address on "Lincoln at Gettysburg"; while during the entire Centenary week, the Society exhibited a spe cial collection of Lincolniana, consisting of original manuscripts, portraits, and relics, which the public was cordially invited to view.
Countless other meetings were held during Centenary week, under the auspices of similar societies, of fraternal organizations, and through private initiative; and of the many meetings thus held in the city during Lincoln week, more than one thousand were the outgrowth of the work of the Committee of One Hundred.
Ceremonies in the Jewish churches of the city were held on Saturday morning, February 13, and at the various residential clubs in the evening. The week's celebration closed on Sunday, February 14, with the churches of the city, of all denominations, devoting the morning services to ceremonies and sermons commemorative of the life of Lincoln.
The Committee secured a very general interest in the decoration of the city; the streets, every public building, and all of the important private buildings were appropriately and beautifully decorated. Of the nearly forty thousand business houses in Chicago having show windows for display, it is safe to say that few, if any, were without some tokens of the significance of the week. The Proclamation issued by the Mayor was posted everywhere, on the streets, in the show windows, and in the street cars; and for three weeks previous, the programmes of all the playhouses of the city had cuts of Lincoln, with announcements of the impending celebration. Posters, too, were used in all of the surface, elevated, and suburban trains of the city. These had a picture of the Saint-Gaudens statue of Lincoln, and carried announcements of the celebration, with the location of the various meetings.
Beautiful bronze tablets were prepared by the Committee, containing the Gettysburg Address, which were placed on the walls of the two hundred and sixty-seven public schools, and one hundred and eighty-four parochial schools of the city, that the four hundred thousand school children of Chicago, and their successors through the coming years, might have ever before them the words of the greatest of American utterances. These tablets were presented, also, to numerous other private and public educational institutions, on the Centennial Day; while memorial tablets were placed on the site of the Wigwam where Lincoln was nominated, and on the Tremont House,
where Lincoln gave his first speech in reply to Douglas-a speech which led to the famous Lincoln-Douglas Debates-and where Judge Douglas afterward died.
Thousands of copies of a very interesting and instructive pamphlet on the "One Hundredth Anniversary of Lincoln," were distributed throughout the city and the State, by the Hon. Francis G. Blair, the Superintendent of Public Instruction of Illinois; the book stores and libraries had on special exhibit books and pictures relating to Lincoln and his time; the Chicago Public Library, upon the suggestion of the Lincoln Committee, prepared, and issued to the public a "Lincoln Bibliography," with a very complete classification of all published works relating to the different periods of Lincoln's life. This was widely distributed, and proved of great interest and value in connection with the plans of the general Committee. The compilation of the Bibliography was the work of Mr. Charles A. Larson.
The editors of all the foreign papers of the city took an active interest in the celebration. The Gettysburg Speech, and the Mayor's Proclamation were translated into the various foreign languages, printed in foreign papers published in the city, and posted in the foreign quarters, in order that the life and work of Lincoln might be brought home to every man, woman, and child in the community, whether they read the English language or not.
Chicago remembered with pride that it was within her boundaries that Lincoln received his nomination for the Presidency; and her celebration, starting on Sunday with exercises in the churches of every denomination, lasted throughout the week with a sustained interest that the most experienced observer of public celebrations would have in advance declared utterly impossible. The city in which Lincoln was nominated and in which he spent much of his time, showed by every evidence, that it thoroughly appreciated the honor which had been conferred upon it by that association.