Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum


On the first of January we began a drive from Santa Fe, New Mexico, our home, to DesPlaines, Illinois. The purpose was to deliver a car to our daughter, Rebecca. With two kids now in school and son-in-law, David, Barbara’s Chief Operating Officer, dealing with all of our stores, they needed a second vehicle and we found a great cheap one being abandoned by an old (I mean old) friend. It was a surprise for our kids.

On the way, Jan and I stopped in Dodge City, Kansas, visited the State capital in Topeka, and found our way to Springfield, Illinois.

I am writing about this to urge you to visit Abraham Lincoln’s museum and library in Springfield. They are awe-inspiring for kids and adults alike. Spread before you in the museum is the life and times of our sixteenth president, just 56 years old when he was assassinated in 1865. In a way, we are fortunate that this museum did not come into existence until 2005. The result is the first such museum to use theater and current technology to immerse the visitor into the life and times of a U.S. president. Watch the 6’ 4” Lincoln recline on his law office couch as his kids trash it.

It will help you determine whether Jon Voight is right to call our current president the greatest since Lincoln.

My hope is that we at Barbara’s can convince the museum to let us display some of the museum’s treasures in order to convince all of us to travel to Springfield. We are going to create a Lincoln section in the stores in order to motivate our dear customers to reflect on the state of our nation and the courage it takes to make things better.

Don Barliant is the president and co-owner of Barbara's Bookstores.