There’s a birthday party today at the State Historical Building — but it’s not for an Iowan.
Jeff Morgan of the Historical Society says they will celebrate Abraham Lincoln’s 200th birthday with a "lunch/learn" program, and they are inviting the public to attend.
Morgan says the party is part of the events put together by the Iowa Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission which began work one year ago.
Morgan says they will have a presentation by Grant Veeder, and expert on Lincoln’s ties to Iowa. They will have music from the 1800’s and Civil War reinactors.
While Lincoln was from the neighboring state of Illinois, he had several ties to Iowa and Morgan says the Historical Society has items in its collection from the 16th president. He says a couple that are popular are a letter to Keokuk politician Hawkins Taylor describing 1859 campaign travels and a handwritten message to a joint committee of Congress accepting a second term as president.
Some of Lincoln’s other ties to Iowa include: the appointment of Samuel F. Miller of Keokuk to the U.S. Supreme Court, and James Harlan of Mount Pleasant as U.S. Secretary of the Interior. Lincoln’s son, Robert, married Harlan’s daughter in 1868. Lincoln traveled to Council Bluffs in August 1859 and met with Grenville Dodge, who convinced him the transcontinental railroad should be routed through Council Bluffs.
More information about events in Iowa commemorating Lincoln’s life and legacy can be found on-line through the Iowa Lincoln Bicentennial Commisssion .
The birthday party is today from 11:30 A.M. until one p.m. at the State Historical Building, 600 E. Locust Street in Des Moines. The event is free.