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Lincoln exhibit looks at Civil War era political cartoons

Lincoln exhibit looks at Civil War era political cartoons

Posted: Monday, March 12, 2012 8:00 pm

The national traveling exhibition “Looking at Lincoln: Political Cartoons from the Civil War Era” will be on display at the West Tennessee Delta Heritage Center in Brownsville through March 30.
Included in the exhibit is select editorial cartoons from the local Felsenthal Lincoln Collection. The exhibit is free and open to the public Mondays through Saturdays 9 a.m.–5 p.m., and Sundays 1-5 p.m.
A special program on Abraham Lincoln will be presented March 25 from 2-4 p.m. The program will include Lincoln’s second inaugural address delivered by Ken Jones, associate professor of biology at Dyersburg State Community College. Jones is widely known for his one-man portrayals of the 16th president.
The exhibit, developed by the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, New York, explores images, especially cartoons, as a way of investigating Lincoln in the context of his times. These cartoons are vividly biting; they invite us to put aside 21st century assumptions and look at events through the eyes of people living in the era. Among the highlights are: a California printing of the Emancipation Proclamation signed by Abraham Lincoln and political cartoons relating to the election of 1860.
The theme of the exhibition explores the Civil War and issues of slavery from the standpoint of political cartoons. These cartoons appeared in newspapers and were sold individually. Artists and citizens who created these images lived in a century in which racism was deeply ingrained in American life.
As a companion, the exhibit also includes editorial cartoons from the Felsenthal Lincoln Collection. These cartoons from the 1950s and ’60s use Lincoln as comparison for current events of the day. Believed to be the largest individually owned collection of Lincoln memorabilia in the Southeast, the collection was donated to the citizens of Haywood County by Morton Felsenthal upon his death in 1983. Felsenthal spent his lifetime collecting books and memorabilia concerning Lincoln. Many of the original cartoons on display were signed by the artist and include personal notes to Felsenthal.
The West Tennessee Delta Heritage Center is a tourist information center and home to three regional museums located at Exit 56 off of Interstate 40 in Brownsville.
For more information about the center, visit or call (731) 779-9000.

Published in The Messenger 3.12.12

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