Iowa Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission to kick off events
Two-year commemoration of President Lincoln's life and legacy begins Feb. 11

For immediate release January 25, 2008


Contact: Jeff Morgan,, (515) 281-3858

(DES MOINES) – The Iowa Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission on Feb. 11, 2008 will mark the official kickoff of two years of events throughout the state commemorating President Lincoln’s life and legacy.

A noon event in the Capitol Rotunda will feature a reading of a proclamation signed by Governor Chet Culver and a costumed performance by Lincoln presenter, Stan deHaan.

That evening, IALBC will give an overview of the Commission and announce the availability of community event endorsements at 7 p.m. at the State Historical Building. A Civil War Musical Interlude will be followed by a costumed performance by Lincoln presenter, Lee Williams.

Both events are free and open to the public. The State Historical Building is at 600 E. Locust Street in the heart of Des Moines’ Historic East Village.

Iowa’s announcement will coincide with the national Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission’s “Official Bicentennial Kickoff” inaugural events Feb. 11-12 in Kentucky, where Lincoln was born Feb. 12, 1809 in a log cabin. Forty-five states have joined the ALBC to hold events commemorating Lincoln’s life and legacy.

“Iowa is proud to recognize Abraham Lincoln as being among the greatest presidents of the United States, embodying equality, freedom and opportunity for all individuals,” said Walter Reed, Jr., IALBC Chair and Director of the Iowa Department of Human Rights.

“In keeping with this premise, the citizens of Iowa embrace the concept that every person should be treated with dignity and respect, and that we should uphold the most fundamental human courtesies toward one another. We invite all Iowans to join us as we kick off two years of bicentennial events throughout the state.”

IALBC Vice Chair and Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs Director Cyndi Pederson has directed State Historical Museum staff to create an exhibit that documents Lincoln’s ties to Iowa.

The exhibit will feature several original Lincoln documents from the State Historical Society of Iowa’s manuscripts collection, including his letter to Keokuk politician Hawkins Taylor describing his 1859 campaign travels and his handwritten message to a joint committee of Congress accepting a second term as president.

Lincoln’s son, Robert Todd, was married to Mary Eunice Harlan, daughter of U.S. Senator James Harlan of Mt. Pleasant. Lincoln also owned land in Iowa and made several visits to the state for personal, professional and political purposes.

Below is the schedule for the Feb. 11, 2008 events:

Noon – Capitol Rotunda

  • Opening Remarks by Iowa Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission
  • Reading of the Proclamation by Governor Chester Culver
  • Costumed presentation by Stan deHaan, Lincoln Presenter
  • Point of Personal Privilege before Iowa Senate and Iowa House of Representatives by Senator Dennis Black

7 p.m. – State Historical Building

  • Opening Remarks and Overview by Iowa Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission
  • Civil War Musical Interlude
  • Costumer presentation by Lee Williams, Lincoln Presenter

More information about the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission is available at

The Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs is responsible for developing the state’s interest in the areas of the arts, history and other cultural matters with the advice and assistance from its two divisions: the State Historical Society of Iowa and the Iowa Arts Council. DCA preserves, researches, interprets and promotes an awareness and understanding of local, state and regional history and stimulates and encourages the study and presentation of the performing and fine arts and public interest and participation in them. It implements tourism-related art and history projects as directed by the General Assembly and designs a comprehensive, statewide, long-range plan with the assistance of the Iowa Arts Council to develop the arts in Iowa. More information about DCA is available at


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