Celebrating Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address

19 Nov
Daniel Chester French, who sculpted the Lincoln Memorial, took his first sculpting lessons from my sister Abigail May Alcatt.

Daniel Chester French, who sculpted the Lincoln Memorial, took his first sculpting lessons from my sister Abigail May Alcatt.

Hello SK fans!

Fascinating news today, November 19, 2014. First, you still have 10 days left to order me a live mouse to celebrate my first -iteration birthday, which is Nov. 29, 1832. That’s plenty of time to ensure I don’t get the runt of the litter, and that it will be delivered safely to MAD’s apartment.

Next, and almost as important as my birthday, is that today is the 151st anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address.

Why is that on Suffragette Kitty, you ask? Multiple reasons, not the least of which is that the Alcott family was known to open up their home to protect runaway slaves on their way to Canada. We were so behind the Civil War, that I, as Louisa May Alcott, enlisted in the only capacity available to women in 1862. I served as an Army nurse at the Union Hospital in Georgetown.

frenchmay alcott nieriker

But more importantly, this prestigious statue of our 16th president was carved by Concordian Daniel Chester French, who took his first sculpting lessons from my little sister Abigail May Alcatt.

Yes, young Danny was flunking out of MIT back in the day, and his father and step mother were up in arms. Instead of studying parallelograms, logarithms and E=mc-squared (wait, that had not been invented yet,) Dan the Man was carving creatures out of turnips. Yep, turnips. How could Mr. and the second Mrs French face the neighbors??

Fortunately my parents Marmee and Bronson Alcatt were not judgmental. They suggested Dan meet up with my little sister Abigail May, known as May, who had taken sculpting classes. There must be a reason Dan was whittling his life away with turnips.

Dan was thrilled to meet with May, the town hottie.  The antithesis of me, May was blonde, blue-eyed, 5 feet 10 inches, and knew how to use it. May gave Dan clay to shape and was so impressed with his innate talent, she suggested he pursue sculpting full time. Being an artist was risky financially, but she thought Dan had the skill to succeed, and maybe make a name for himself.

Dan took May’s advice and today has a host of famous sculptures to his name, as well as his own museum, Chesterwood. He is most famous for the the Lincoln Memorial, pictured above. Go ahead and Google his other work, plus some seen here in earlier posts of SK.

Daniel Chester French is just another example of why we should all pursue our passions. You never know what will turnip. Ha, ha, ha!

OK, that joke was bad, even for me, so let me counter that with the most profound, essentially off-the-cuff speech of documented human history:

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate — we can not consecrate — we can not hallow — this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

Abraham Lincoln
November 19, 1863

xo, LMA



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