April Music


Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln couldn't carry a tune himself, but he deeply loved music. His mother, in that lonely backwoods log cabin, would have sung beautiful lyrical ballads to him like Annie Laurie.


Gettysburg Address

Lincoln had never attended an opera before coming to the White House, but soon became a great fan, attending the opera over thirty times during his term. He was criticized for doing so, but responded, "The truth is I must have a change of some sort or die." 

One of his favorite operas was Gounod's Faust, which he watched four times. He especially loved the rousing Soldier's Chorus.


Sleeping Sentinel

Certain songs would "mist his eyes and throw him into a fit of deep melancholy."

Lincoln's music friend from the Shenandoah Valley, Ward Lamon, once recalled: "Many a time, in the old days on the Illinois circuit, and often at the White House when he and I were alone, have I seen him in tears while I was rendering in my poor way that homely melody ['Twenty Years Ago']."



Lincoln's friend would often get Lincoln laughing by playing one of his favorite banjo songs, Blue Tail Fly.


The Faith of Lincoln

Lincoln's favorite hymn was How Tedious and Tasteless the Hours written by John Newton, the former slave ship captain who composed Amazing Grace.


Out of Africa


Lucretia Mott

The Drinking Gourd referred to the Big Dipper in the sky, which gave directions to safe havens in the North.


Sojourner Truth


John Brown


Elijah P. Lovejoy Part I


Elijah P. Lovejoy Part II


William Lloyd Garrison


Harriet Beecher Stowe


Frederick Douglass




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