Lincoln in Washington Map at Library of Congress

Today, I was invited to the Geography and Map Division of the Library of Congress to present my Lincoln in Washington map for the Library’s permanent collection.  The meeting came with an opportunity to walk through the “vault” and see some of the amazing map treasures that are available to researchers there.

My host was the head of the Division, Edward James Redmond.  The holdings are vast, so he had to speed through the high level overview of some significant world maps before we got to the Civil War and Washington, D.C. section.  There were several editions of the Boschke maps of the District of Columbia, beginning with 1857.  The incredible detail of these large-scale works allowed me to first visualize the Lincoln visits that I described in my publication.  Other maps showed the changing aspects of the “seat of war,” the Washington and northern Virginia region.

Ed Redmond (center) of the Library of Congress, receives the Lincoln in Washington map from the author (left). Kieran McAuliffe, author of JW Booth Escape Route map, is on the right.

Redmond is expert in the drawings and maps of George Washington.  When he brought out the original layout and plot plans for Alexandria, VA, created by 15-year-old George, Redmond couldn’t hide the respect and awe he holds for Washington’s graphic work.  Indeed, he obviously takes pride in being able to display a few of the millions of documents for which he is responsible.

And my happiest meeting in recent weeks has to be the chance encounter with another “map guy,” Kieran McAuliffe.  Kieran is the author of the popular, John Wilkes Booth Escape Route map.  This was another inspirational piece for me.  Early in our life here in Washington, my good wife agreed to spend a day retracing the assassin’s route through southern Maryland and into Virginia.  Now, I have finally met the guy who showed me how to use geography to tell an interesting story.  His new project is a map of Civil War Washington.  I was happy to share some of what I have learned about the subject during four years of research.

The mission of this website is to continue to add to our knowledge of President Lincoln’s life in Washington, D.C.  The blog posts have reported the reference citations that elaborate on the sites and stories that were featured in my map publication, Lincoln in Washington.  The map is continuing to receive recognition as an authoritative guide for helping to better understand the life of President Lincoln in the National Capital.  The Library of Congress now joins Ford’s Theatre and the Mary Surratt House in Clinton, MD, in presenting this interpretive piece to their visitors.  But if you can’t get there, you can still buy your copy of the map at the Products tab on this site.

About John O'Brien

My name is John and I brake for roadside historical markers. The Civil War has been a particular interest since my dad took me to the 100th Anniversary re-enactment at Gettysburg. Since then, I have toured battlefield sites throughout the eastern theatre. My three daughters can mark their growth by the fortifications and cannons they were posed against. Living in the Washington, D.C. metro area since 2005 has allowed me access to the amazing resources here for studying the Lincoln Administration and the National Capital during the Civil War. I started looking for a guide to President Lincoln’s life in Washington, but nothing available seemed to capture enough of the story to satisfy me. So I created my own. You can buy the beautifully illustrated map on this website. I put a high personal value in trying to settle confusion in the professional literature as to where Lincoln did what. So I spent a lot of time going to source documents to verify my sites. This website will share more detail about the Lincoln sites and will continue to update the research. I want to help the reader experience Washington as Lincoln did, as if through his eyes. This is about exploring the public life of Abraham Lincoln and the civil war history of Washington, DC.

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10 Responses to Lincoln in Washington Map at Library of Congress

  1. Kieran McAuliffe says:

    Hi John
    Thanks for posting the picture. That was a fascinating afternoon with Ed. What a place – and so many treasures! I am so glad you got to present your Lincoln In Washington map to the Library of Congress. You have done some very unique research on where Lincoln went in the city. The details are fascinating. Someone is going to have to redo Lincoln Day by Day.

    • John O'Brien says:

      Thank you for being so generous in sharing your experience and insights. The encouragement has been wonderful. I’ve gotten a few calls from people who are working on Civil War Washington projects, though nothing like yours. I’ve started giving some tours. Will be doing one for the faculty for the “Lincoln and the Constitution” conference next Saturday sponsored by the Lincoln Group here in Washington. And yes, this could all be building up to a major supplement to “Lincoln Day by Day.” Thanks for keeping in touch. John

  2. idebenone says:

    Hey from overseas! This is just what I was expecting, and you did it well. Thankyou

  3. Megan says:

    To have a compelling interest that ends up inspiring many others–how grand is that? And to draw attention to such an integral, principled figure as Lincoln? Certainly the world needs more of this reminder as to what once was, and what we still can be. Thanks for shining such a spotlight, John! What a beautifully written and illustrated rendering of his walking travels.
    Kudos to Jennifer O’Brien, as well!

    Megan, Columbus, Ohio

    • John O'Brien says:

      Hi Megan,
      Jen and I appreciate your compliments. There is so much opportunity here in Washington to learn more about Lincoln and the Civil War that this project became a natural. And there is so much more to do. I look forward to continuing this study and producing the next one. Thanks again for your thoughts.

  4. Marilyn says:

    How exciting that your Lincoln in Washington DC map has found a permanent spot in the Library of Congress. Proud of you!

  5. Ron says:

    Congrats, John! That is a great accomplishment, and a well-deserved one at that.

  6. Kristin Mearini says:

    What an accomplishment! Your research and attention to detail in getting Lincoln’s whereabouts and relationships just right is impressive. This honor is well-deserved.

  7. JenniferLauren says:

    How exciting! Congratulations on entry into the LOC.

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