February 13 - June 30, 2009
This exhibition commemorated the 200th anniversary of the birth of Charles Darwin and Abraham Lincoln, both born on February 12, 1809. The exhibition explored how each man's image has been used over the past 150 years to inspire people, promote causes and even sell goods.
No scientist has had more books written about him or is more controversial than Darwin, even more than a century after his death. No American president has had more books written about him or had his legacy invoked in more ways than Lincoln.
One, it is said, freed humans of ancient myths and dogmas to think anew about the natural world. Or, he attacked the world of faith and threatened social stability. The other freed his nation of racial slavery, preserved national unity, and taught people to think anew about social relations. Or, some believe, he pursued the deadliest war in American history in the name of the Constitution and equality without truly believing in either.
Their ideas, actions and legacies continue to influence us today. How have they been portrayed and their images used over the past 150 years?
1864 framed lithograph of Lincoln; postcards from the Lincoln Centennial of 1909; c. 1930 glass banks in Lincoln's image; c. 1940 Lincoln book ends; Lincoln dolls; 20th century advertising and magazine covers with Lincoln's image; a bronze cast of Lincoln's hand on loan from the Clarke Historical Library.
Darwin's image on a 1919 postcard, 1924 tobacco card, and 1952 Topps trading card; 20th century magazine covers, dolls, toys and commemorative pieces; zoological specimens of turtles, birds and iguanas illustrating Darwin's scientific observations.