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Lincoln Hall Project

Past Events

The 1913 Dedication of Lincoln Hall

Lincoln Hall’s dedication in 1913—and rededication in 2013—were both celebrated on Abraham Lincoln’s birthday on February 12, exactly 100 years apart. The programs below show how the University of Illinois honored Lincoln Hall a century ago.

In Preparation of the Dedication

Although Lincoln Hall opened in 1911, the dedication didn't occur until 1913 primarily because the American Terra Cotta Company didn’t complete the scenic panels for the building until August 1912, as John Hoffman explains in his book Lincoln Hall at the University of Illinois. The dedication of Lincoln Hall was such an important ceremony that President Edmund J. James had canceled classes so students and faculty could attend the proceedings, according to Hoffman.

President James even invited Abraham Lincoln's son, Robert Todd Lincoln, who was 69 at the time, to attend the dedication; however, he declined. Hoffman writes: “Expressing his ‘gratification at such a monument being erected to the memory’ of his father, the son carefully explained that he was not well, and accordingly was...avoiding ‘any large assemblages, even operatic and theaterical performances.’”

1913 Dedication Program

program It was described as “a laboratory for the intellectual sciences.” A place where, “until 10:00 at night, students and professors [were] working at the same tables, using the same materials, drawing guidance, inspiration, and interest from one another.” In Lincoln Hall, “no teacher trained in these surroundings [could] fail to get a touch of real inspiration, which [would] in turn react upon his pupils, and thus...reach...the people of the state.” These details and more were described in the original dedication program for Lincoln Hall in 1913. View a PDF of the dedication program.

1913 Dedication Speakers


We know many details of the original Lincoln Hall dedication on February 12, 1913, thanks in large part to an 1884 U of I graduate named Alma Elizabeth Braucher. She apparently attended the dedication and was impressed enough that she donated a copy of the speaker program that remains on file at the University Archives. Braucher was an active and driven woman, born in rural Logan County in 1858 before earning her bachelor's degree in science in Urbana-Champaign. In 1895, she earned her medical degree from Hering Medical College in Chicago. In light of what she's left behind, it's a fitting coincidence that her birthplace was just a couple miles outside of Lincoln, Ill. She attended Lincoln High School, and after college she lived at 227 Lincoln Ave., in Lincoln. She died in Lincoln on October 30, 1928.

The speaker program is transcribed below:

Morning Program
Morrow Hall
9-12 O’Clock

The Importance to the Commonwealth of Adequate Provision for the Study of the Humanities

The Philosophical Studies
Frederick J. E. Woodbridge, LL.D., Professor of Philosophy in Columbia University

Language and Literature
Bliss Perry, L.H.D., Litt.D., LL.D., Professor of English Literature in Harvard University

The Social Sciences
Albert Shaw, Ph.D., LL.D., Editor of the American Monthly Review of Reviews

Luncheon in Woman’s Gymnasium at Twelve-thirty o’clock

Afternoon Program
The Auditorium
Three O’Clock

The Reverend Doctor William F. McDowell, Bishop of the Methodist Episcopal Church

Abraham Lincoln
The Reverend Hugh Black, D.D., LL.D. of Union Theological Seminary

W. Carbys Zimmerman, The State Architect

Transferring the Building to the Trustees
His Excellency, Edward F. Dunne, LL.D., The Governor of the State

Committing the Building to the Immediate Care of the President of the University
William L. Abbott, M.E., President of the Board of Trustees

Adjournment to Lincoln Hall

Bishop McDowell

(Speaker program courtesy of the UI Histories Project.)