Lincoln Memorial University Described in 1908

Tells of Lincoln University.  Representative W. P. Brownlow of Tennessee Talks of Realization of One of Martyred President’s Dreams

New York Friday, Dec. 11. — Writing of the Lincoln Memorial University, which the Lincoln Centennial Endowment Fund Committee proposes to establish as a living memorial to Abraham Lincoln in celebration of the 100th anniversary of his birthday, Representative W. P. Brownlow of Tennessee says:

“Not in the congressional district which I have the honor to represent is Lincoln Memorial University, near the historic Cumberland Gap, in Claiborne County, Tennessee.  It is not only promising in fact, but the very foundation and purpose of the institution appeal strongly to the human side of our nature and commend themselves to the student of our times as well as the philanthropist.

“Largely under the lead of that grand and gallant old man, Gen. O. O. Howard, Lincoln Memorial University was funded.  He received the inspiration from the lamented and martyred President himself, who upon different occasions referred to the people of Eastern Tennessee as “my people,” and commended them for their loyalty, devotion and courage during the nation’s travail.  Their steadfastness and their sacrifices appealed to him in a peculiar way, and because of these feelings, which President Lincoln freely expressed, Gen. Howard has labored to build up an imperishable memorial in the very heart of the mountains of Tennessee, the borderland of Kentucky and Virginia.  But Lincoln Memorial is in no sense a sectional or partisan institution.  Its purposes and its works are as broad as human charity and as free from all partisan suggestion is the sympathy which Lincoln always manifested for the world’s down-trodden and oppressed.

Has 600 Acres

“This institution has 600 acres of very fine land, and several buildings erected thereon.  The purpose is to give the boys and girls of that entire section not only a literary education as well.  And in this connection the authorities are struggling to get in a position where they can offer to every boy and girl an opportunity to secure an education, no matter whether they have money or not, if they are willing to work.  Already they are giving several boys and girls who are too poor to pay their way the advantage of this working opportunity.  Many are now working on the farm during the summer, and some all the year out of school hours, and accept credit on the books as compensation thereof.  Not only on the farm, but where buildings are constructed out of donations to the institution, many boys work as mechanics under a skilled foreman, and thus are credited on their tuition and maintenance.  In fact, Lincoln Memorial University is covering the field of scientific farming and various branches of mechanical work in which the boys are trained.  It trains the girls in domestic science and trains them in the domestic science and trains them in the discharge of household duties, in return for which they receive credit.

Medical School Connected

“In a wider field, Lincoln Memorial has connection with a splendid medical college and a training school for nurses.  Many girls are working their way through this splendid institution in acquiring, first, a literary education and proficient training in domestic science and household work, and then advancing on until they are trained nurses; they enter the world’s work prepared to serve an indispensable function and to earn an independent support as well.

“It is impossible to traverse within the brief compass of a letter like this, a just or even approximate statement of the Lincoln Memorial University, it is struggling to succeed, and has succeeded to an extent that commends the management to the thoughtful consideration of all.  It seeks to educate and uplift those who are willing to coin their own labor into better citizenship.  It points the way to every real and earnest seeker after truth.  The opportunity thus offered is meeting with a response beyond the financial ability of the institution to accommodate.  Only funds are needed to carry the work forward.  The result of the work already done at Lincoln Memorial University is amply sufficient to ca___ it to the unstinted encouragement of all.  A work so well begun should not be suffered to abate for the lack of proper support.”

Source:  Seattle Daily Times, December 11, 1908, page 17

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