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Explore Lincoln:The Constitution and the Civil War

NCC and its partner public libraries, historical societies, and high schools throughout our 10-town region will commemorate the sesquicentennial of the Emancipation Proclamation in Fall 2012 with a series of talks, concerts, book groups, debates, and exhibitions.

This series is anchored by the traveling exhibition “Lincoln: The Constitution and the Civil War,” opening at NCC’s Everett I.L. Baker Library on November 2, which explores how President Lincoln used the Constitution to confront three intertwined crises of the Civil War—the secession of Southern states, slavery, and wartime civil liberties.

The National Constitution Center and the American Library Association Public Programs Office organized the traveling exhibition, which was made possible by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

NCC was awarded a separate grant from the NEH to organize and publicize related events on campus and around the region. The resulting full-color calendar brochure, designed by NCC graduate Jackie Granda (Class of 2012) and Professor John Alvord, Department Chair of the Art, Architecture, and Design department, is now available at NCC and our partner institutions.

Events at NCC will begin with the Baker Library’s exhibition “Stories Shaping Culture: Artifacts of Nineteenth-Century Lives from the NCC Library’s Fromson Collection,” opening in September.

This exhibition showcases rarely-seen bills of sale and other papers documenting the legal and economic framework that supported slavery before the Civil War; the books, periodicals, and new image-printing technologies that shaped public opinion before and during the war; and the stories of African-American Union soldiers told in news reports and original letters.

A highlight of the exhibition is the 1907 hand-written autobiography of Annie Sloane Ainsworth Sackett, a schoolteacher from Ohio whose childhood home was a stop on the Underground Railroad, the secret network that helped slaves escape to freedom.

On Wednesday, October 3, from 10 a.m. - 1 p.m., NCC’s Ninth Annual History Symposium will bring together a diverse, interdisciplinary group of faculty presenters to discuss the philosophical, economic, and legal impact of the Emancipation Proclamation, concluding with a preview of “Lincoln: The Constitution and the Civil War” by Library Director Linda Lerman.

The Baker Library is seeking student, staff, and faculty volunteer docents to give guided tours of the exhibition. Training will take place on Friday, November 2, from 10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. For more information, contact Reference Librarian Gunnar Sahlin at

NCC’s not-to-be-missed Opening Celebration for the Lincoln exhibition will begin at 10 a.m. Wednesday, November 7, with a keynote address by prizewinning Lincoln biographer Michael Burlingame (University of Illinois, Springfield), followed at 1 p.m. by a panel discussion featuring Michael Burlingame, James F. Simon (New York Law School Professor), and Manisha Sinha (University of Massachusetts, Amherst), moderated by J. Ronald Spencer (Trinity College).

The book "Connecticut in the American Civil War: Slavery, Sacrifice, and Survival," by former NCC student Matthew Warshauer (Professor of History, Central Connecticut State University), has been chosen for NCC’s One Book One Region Fall 2012 community reading project commemorating the sesquicentennial of the Civil War.

Consider reading this book, which will be available at the NCC bookstore, with a group or on your own as an eye-opening introduction to Connecticut’s role in the Civil War. Dr. Warshauer will discuss his book at the Norwalk Public Library on November 7 at 6:30 p.m., and at NCC on November 8 at 10 am.

For more information about these events, and the many off-campus events at libraries and historical societies, see the event brochure or the Lincoln exhibition website, coming soon at With so many routes for exploration, the NCC library staff looks forward to meeting you along the way.