Remembering Lincoln launched in March 2015 to bring a range of primary sources—letters, newspapers, diaries, mourning ribbons, photographs, lithographs, objects—that show how people in 1865 responded to the first-ever presidential assassination and death of Abraham Lincoln.
Nine Teacher Representatives helped us develop the project, offering feedback and producing Teaching Modules that bring together sets of primary source materials with suggestions for student activities.
As you look through Remembering Lincoln, you’ll find that certain people or places may be underrepresented or unrepresented. We’re always looking for new primary sources to add to the collection and would love to work with you. If you have recommendations or know of primary sources from your town or region, email me or fill out this suggestion form and we’ll look at your resources.
Unique Ways to use Remembering Lincoln
Follow Major Events
Use the site’s timeline to follow along with the events in the harrowing days after the president’s assassination.
Find a Person’s Story
We have highlighted stories of specific people and how they responded to the assassination. You could have your students research more about these people. Does that person’s response to the assassination fit with what else you know about the person?
Find Responses on a Map
Our map of specific responses is representative of the archive so far. You’ll notice large gaps in different portions of the United States, and for much of the world. Would you and your class like to go to your local archive to find and digitize responses? Email me to help us fill in our primary sources.
You can also find responses about specific topics, like first reactions, speculation about the future or the funeral train. Like any tagging system on such an archive, this one is imprecise. If you see any issues or have questions about a classification, email me.
You’ll find transcriptions on some of the items in the collection, but many don’t yet exist. Like other online archival projects, we’re looking for help in transcription. Would you like to teach your students to read and examine historical documents, and contribute to other users’ ability to find interesting primary sources in Remembering Lincoln? Email me—we’d love to work with you and your class!
Each primary source features a + sign. Click that to add an item to your own collection, like this small one I created. With this feature, you don’t need a login—but you will have to save the special URL generated to use it on another computer.
With this tool you can create a collection of items for students to examine, or give students criteria and have them complete a scavenger hunt in the collection, saving primary sources as they go.
Share Your Thoughts
Remembering Lincoln, like many digital archives, is continually a living archive that’s always in progress. We’re continuing to reach out to potential contributors—classrooms, individuals and archives—to augment the collection.
How would you use Remembering Lincoln in the classroom? What resources will make this collection even more useful? Have your own ideas for a Remembering Lincoln Teaching Module? Fill out a submission form on the Remembering Lincoln website or email me. Please let us know what you think!
David McKenzie is Associate Director for Digital Resources in the Education Department at Ford’s Theatre. He also is currently a part-time History Ph.D. student at George Mason University, studying 19th-century U.S. and Latin American history, as well as digital history. Before coming to Ford’s in October 2013, he worked at the Jewish Historical Society of Greater Washington, The Design Minds, Inc. and the Alamo. Follow him on Twitter @dpmckenzie.