New York Public Library for the Performing Arts Features Humanities Article for Lincoln Bicentennial Day Program on Feb. 12

WASHINGTON, (February 10, 2009)

The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts has selected the Humanities magazine article, “Lincoln’s Centennial,” by Anna Maria Gillis for inclusion in its Lincoln Bicentennial Day program on Thursday, Feb. 12. The article, featured in the January/February issue of the magazine, chronicles the centennial celebration of Lincoln’s birthday in 1909 and will be read by Arthur Mitchell, founding Artistic Director of the Dance Theatre of Harlem.

Thursday’s Lincoln Bicentennial program is a part of The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts’ three month series, Mystic Chords of Memory: Abraham Lincoln and Performing Arts, which honors the bicentennial birth of Abraham Lincoln. This series of free public programs, which began on Jan. 22, reflects the breadth of the sixteenth president’s passion for the arts and testifies to the depth of his impact on artists from his time to the present. These free programs will be offered through March 21. More information about the program series can be found by visiting

“Anna Maria Gillis's ‘Lincoln’s Centennial’ is a beautifully written piece about how the Centennial was celebrated in 1909,” said Alan Pally, Manager of Public Programs at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts. “It complements our Bicentennial Day program by making connections to many aspects of the 1909 celebration that will be a part of our 2009 celebration, such as the readings of the Gettysburg Address and a Julia Ward Howe poem and the performance of ‘The Battle Hymn of the Republic.’”

Joining Arthur Mitchell on Thursday to perform readings by and about Lincoln are Dance Theatre of Harlem alumni dancers Virginia Johnson and Duncan Cooper. Readings include:

  • Humanities magazine article on Lincoln Centennial;
  • Autobiographical sketch written by Lincoln;
  • Excerpt from First Inaugural speech;
  • Gettysburg Address;
  • Excerpt from Second Inaugural speech;
  • Excerpt of speech given by Frederick Douglass, given on the occasion of the dedication of a statue in Washington, D.C. (1876); and
  • Poem by Julia Ward Howe, read by her in Boston at the Lincoln Centennial in 1909. She was 90 at the time.

The readings are preceded by a rare public screening from the Library’s Theatre on Film and Tape archives of Sam Waterston in the final scene of the 1993 Lincoln Center Theater production of Abe Lincoln in Illinois. The program will conclude with a performance of “The Battle Hymn of the Republic,” sung by Metropolitan Opera Chorus members Constance Green, Ellen Lang, Irwin Reese, and John Shelhart, with Robert Rogers at the piano.

All programs in the series are produced by and presented at The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, 40 Lincoln Center Plaza, Bruno Walter Auditorium. Thursday’s program begins at 3:00 p.m., and media interested in attending should contact Rima Corben at 212-592-7710 or @email.

Humanities magazine is a bimonthly review published by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts houses the world’s most extensive combination of circulating, reference, and rare archival collections in its field Its divisions are the Circulating Collections, Jerome Robbins Dance Division, Music Division, Billy Rose Theatre Division, and the Rodgers & Hammerstein Archives of Recorded Sound.. The materials in its collections are available free of charge, along with a wide range of special programs, including exhibitions, seminars, and performances. More information is available at

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