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EIU Teaching with Primary Sources

Verse & Chorus: Lincoln

student page test

Poetry and Song Inspired by the Life and Actions of Abraham Lincoln

Click here to download and/or print the 56 page booklet. (This is a large file and may take several minutes to download.)

The legacy of Abraham Lincoln has been shared for generations. Stories and details of the spoken words and actions of the beloved President have been handed down through voice and paper. Verse and Chorus: Lincoln draws on the vast collections of the Library of Congress American Memory collections to show how individuals living at the time of Abraham Lincoln used pens and voices to share their feelings and thoughts on the historical events of the time.

The twenty-two songs and poems in Verse and Chorus: Lincoln are organized into eleven historical periods or events that span Lincoln’s life from his days in Springfield through his funeral. Each period features an introduction and primary source documents in the form of a song and a poem. The poems and songs in Verse and Chorus: Lincoln span over two decades of American history and cover a range of topics, styles, and authors, from acclaimed poets to nameless singers. Analysis tools for students and ideas for educational activities are also included to allow easy use of these unique primary sources in the classroom.

American poetry and songs encompass the very essence of the emotion and thought expressed through lyrical form. Hymns, marches, ballads, poetry and songs represent a complex and multidimensional look at the events that occurred in a particular snapshot of time. These items provide a glimpse into historical events and individuals that are of a personal nature which is often missing from documents created for mass distribution. We are drawn to music, lyrics and poetry that represent who we are, who we were or who we hope to become, it is hoped that the items selected for this booklet  encourage a new way off looking at the chosen events.

Some of the primary sources in Verse and Chorus:Lincoln contain prominent spelling and printing irregularities, strong language and may not match more familiar versions of the poem or song. These idiosyncrasies are hallmarks of an authentic historical document and provide an excellent opportunity to encourage students to explore the details of the historical period further.

The Library of Congress “Song of America Tour” and the learning experiences  created served as the inspirationfor Lincoln Verse and Chorus. Specifically, Lyrical Legacy –Teaching with Primary Sources from the Library of Congress served as a model for this booklet.

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