What a delightful Sunday it was....we decided to drive about 2 hours north to see the Bicentennial exhibit "Abraham Lincoln, Self-Made in America" at the Castine Historical Society in Castine Maine. This is a traveling exhibit featuring reproduction artifacts from the Lincoln Presidential Library in Springfield Illinois. We had both been to the actual Illinois complex many, many years ago but wanted to refresh our memories. What was so special for me however, was the exhibit next door. The Castine Historical Society is restoring the Noah Brooks library in the Nelson House. For a book lover, it was a wonderful journey into the past.
Here is a quote from the Bangor Daily News of 11/09/09:
Brooks was a Castine native, born just a few doors away from the Abbott House, the home of the Castine Historical Society, where the exhibit is located. He became friends with Lincoln while he was still in Springfield, Ill., and before he entered politics. Brooks was a newspaper reporter, editor and author who worked in Washington, D.C., and he and Lincoln renewed their friendship after Lincoln became president. He was one of the last people to see the president on April 14, 1865....
Brooks was a welcome visitor to the White House, according to the display at the historical society, and the two met at Lincoln’s office on the afternoon of April 14 to discuss the possibility of Brooks becoming the president’s private secretary. There is some indication that, if not for a bad cold, Brooks might have been with Lincoln at the Ford’s Theatre later that night when Lincoln was fatally shot in the theater.While I wasn't reading in a salon this Sunday, I was certainly still connecting with books. Being able to see the role a good library plays in the lives of important people in our heritage is affirming. And taking a drive through Maine's peninsulas on a crisp, clear, sunny autumn Sunday is downright warm and fuzzy.
Although he lived in California for a time, Brooks lived much of his later life in Castine at a home on Main Street. He died in 1903 in California and is buried in the Castine Cemetery beside his wife.