Books News & Features
11:07 am
Mon February 20, 2012

Forget Lincoln Logs: A Tower Of Books To Honor Abe

Originally published on Sun February 19, 2012 10:01 pm

This President's Day, a group of historians in Washington, D.C., decided they wanted to do something different to recognize the legacy of Abraham Lincoln. But how do you memorialize someone who is already one of the most memorialized people in history?

Their solution: to physically illustrate Lincoln's importance by creating a tower of books written about him. The tower measures about eight feet around and 34 feet — that's three and a half stories tall.

"It makes a real statement to anyone that this is an important guy and there was a whole lot written about him, and there continues to be a whole lot written about him," says Paul Tetreault, director of Ford's Theatre, where Lincoln was assassinated in 1865.

The towering tribute to the 16th president rises up through the middle of a spiral staircase in the lobby of the new Ford's Theatre Center for Education and Leadership, located just across the street.

Some 15,000 books have been written about Lincoln — more books, says Tetreault, than have been written about any other person in world history, with the exception of Jesus Christ.

Nearly 7,000 of these books are contained in the tower. They even look authentic up close (click here to get a closer look) but the tower's books are actually replicas made of pieces of bent aluminum, with the covers of the real books printed on them.

"There are books here for people of all ages," says Tetreault. "There's young people's books, there's an Abraham Lincoln stickers book, there's an Abraham Lincoln coloring book. And then of course there's all of the bestsellers: David Herbert Donald's great book about Lincoln, Doris Kearns Goodwin's book Team of Rivals — all of these major scholars who've written about Abraham Lincoln, they're all contained in this stack."

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.