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February 12: ON THIS DAY in 1909, the Eagle honors Abraham Lincoln

February 12, 2019 Brooklyn Daily Eagle

ON THIS DAY IN 1861, the Brooklyn Daily Eagle reported, “The president elect has spoken, and those who expected to find in his words an indication of his capacity to meet the crisis he helped to create will we fear be doomed to disappointment. His career towards Washington seems to resemble the royal progress of a provincial tour by the Emperor of France or the Queen of England. At Indianapolis, he delivered a brief speech in which he gave his opinion, that marching an army with hostile intent into South Carolina would be an invasion, and it would be coercion if the inhabitants were forced to submit; but, he asks, if the United States should merely hold and retake its own forts, collect duties, or withhold the mails, where they were habitually violated, would any or all of these things be invasion or coercion? His own opinion is that it would not be. But he must see that the recapture of those forts would produce civil war just as surely as marching an army into Southern territory and would unite the whole South in resistance.”

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ON THIS DAY IN 1884, the Eagle reported, “The fifth annual reception by the Lincoln Club, which was given in the clubhouse, No. 65 Putnam Ave., last evening, formed one of the most brilliant pages in the history of club life in Brooklyn. A great many ladies were present, notwithstanding the rain and terrible condition of the streets. Many came in carriages and passed in under the canopy erected for the occasion without wetting their dresses in the least, and once inside no effort was spared by the reception committee or others in charge to make them all welcome. By 9 o’clock there must have been 300 persons present. The ladies displayed some elegant toilets and added much to the brilliancy of the scene in the parlors … The banquet was as varied and tasteful as any yet given in Brooklyn, and comprised hot as well as cold dishes, followed by a wide range of sweetmeats for dessert … The membership of the club now reaches 200, and applicants are seeking admission.”

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ON THIS DAY IN 1909, the Eagle published a special section to honor Abraham Lincoln on what would have been his 100th birthday. It included a full-page recollection from Brooklynite Adelaide W. Smith, who served as a field and hospital nurse during the Civil War. She said, “When Abraham Lincoln, with super human courage, made that moral stroke of a pen that gave freedom to millions of slaves, then was born at last a free country, not only in name, but in the glorious fact that had blotted out from the country’s escutcheon the shame of human slavery that had so long branded our vaunted freedom as a disgrace.”

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ON THIS DAY IN 1915, the Eagle reported, “Washington, Feb. 12 — The cornerstone of the $2,000,000 Lincoln Memorial structure was laid here today without ceremonies. Former Sen. [Joseph] Blackburn of Kentucky, the resident member of the Lincoln Memorial Commission, was in charge. In the cornerstone were laid a copper box containing a history of Lincoln, signed by his living son, Robert T. Lincoln, and other historical data. Lincoln’s 106th birthday anniversary was observed in the House with an address by Representative [Isaac] Sherwood of Ohio.”

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ON THIS DAY IN 1932, the Eagle reported, “John J. O’Brien, 93, who cast his first vote for Abraham Lincoln and who was one of the great throng which paid tribute to the Emancipator when the body of Lincoln lay in state in Manhattan on the way to its final resting place in Springfield, Ill., died yesterday at his home [on Russell Street] … Born in Manhattan, Mr. O’Brien early learned the bookbinding trade and became an expert in this work. He was 33 years connected with the Register’s office at the Hall of Records as a bookbinder, retiring from active work after he was 90. He had resided in Brooklyn for 65 years.”

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