Obama to Use Lincoln Bible at Inauguration

The Library of Congress is featuring digitized copies of the bible on which  Abraham Lincoln took his oath of office in 1861.  From the LOC website:

“The Library of Congress often provides Bibles from its vast collections for the use of Members of Congress during their swearing-in ceremonies. But it is not every day that a president-elect makes the same request for his inauguration. It is rarer still when that Bible is the same one upon which Abraham Lincoln first took the oath of office in 1861. (In fact, as far as we can tell, that Bible has not been used by a president since Honest Abe himself.)

But that’s exactly what Barack Obama is doing, in keeping with the very Lincolnesque theme of his inauguration.

The historic meeting between past and present, symbolized by a single book, has caught the public’s attention. (A quick search in Google News reveals at least 600 articles.)

Because there are few high-resolution images of the Lincoln Inaugural Bible available on our Web site, I wanted to provide several of them here.

The Lincoln Bible, by the way, will be among the items on display in “With Malice Toward None,” our exhibit opening Feb. 12 that honors the 200th birthday of our 16th president.”

Here is the link to the images:  www.loc.gov/blog?p=410

1906 Newspaper Article Describes Possible Slave Quarters in New York

Stephen Girard - Slave Dealer or Not?

Stephen Girard - Slave Dealer or Not?

Sometimes when you are looking for something, you find something else entirely.  Many times what you stumble across is better.  Take, for example, a bit of information gleaned from the New York Daily Tribune, Sunday, October 21, 1906, entitled Slave Cells Exhumed:

“The charge that Stephen Girard, philanthropist, was a slave dealer, is being forced upon the unwilling attention of the world by the recent discovery, in demolishing his old house at No. 22 North Water street, Philadelphia, of three tiers of underground cells that seem to have been used for the purpose of incarcerating human beings.  The dungeons are entered through a narrow corridor, the windows of which are heavily barred.  This corridor has all the appearance of being constructed for the prison patrol.  The barred windows of the cells look upon this corridor, and here.  If prisoners were kept in the rooms, the jailors could pass to give them food.  The walls at this part of the house are a foot and a half thick, of solid stone, and any unfortunate thrown into one of these dungeons would be unable to make his cries heard beyond the corridor outside the cells.  Whether they were the prisons for the old philanthropist’s rebellious slaves, whether he punished refractory seamen from his ships by giving them a course of bread and water in a dark dungeon, or whether the gloomy vaults were the temporary abiding place of slaves that Girard had bought to sell again, it seems impossible to decide.  But the cells are there as mute evidence that some queer work was done in the old Girard house and how to explain away their existence is taxing the ingenuity of more than one admirer of the patriot who lent his money to finance the war with Great Britain.”

Interestingly enough, Mr. Girard was one of the richest men in America by the time he died – behind Rockefeller, Vanderbilt, and Astor.  He created the Girard Bank which merged with Mellon Bank in 1993 (yes, that is not a typo) according to Wikipedia.   It appears that he all but financed the War of 1812 as well.  No wonder the good folks of Philadelphia did not want to think of him as a slave dealer.  Although Wikipedia does not mention anything about this finding, it does mention that Girard did extensive works with orphans.

In any event, it is a story worthy of follow-up for this blog and I will see what I can dig up…no pun intended. 

Links in the November/Decmeber 2008 Issue of AAHGS News

Here is the list of weblinks for the articles appearing in the November/December 2008 issue of AAHGS News:

p. 3:  “Black Studies” NARA Catalog:  www.estore.archives.gov

p. 5:  Boston University’s Genealogical Research Certificate Program:  http://professional.bu.edu/cpe/Genealogy.asp

p. 6:  Enumerator Instructions Online http://usa.ipums.org/usa/voliii/tEnumInstr.shtml

p. 6:  Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database  www.slavevoyages.org/tast/database/index.faces

p. 6  AfriGeneas Forums:  Heritage Arts & Crafts:  www.afrigeneas.com/forum-crafts

p. 6  AfriGeneas Forums:  AfriGeneas at the Movies:  www.afrigeneas.com/forum-movies

p. 7:  On the Bookshelf selections:

Index to Virginia Estates, 1800-1865, Volume 9:  www.vgs.org/publications.htm

Index to District of Columbia Estates, 1801-1929:  http://users.erols.com/pipp OR www.heritagebooks.com

African American Slavery, Indenture & Resistance in Illinois 1720-1864  www.costonie.com

The Washingtons of Wessyington Plantation www.wessyington.com

p. 9:  Mississippi to Africa:  A Journey of Discovery www.mississippitoafrica.com

p. 10:  Slave Births in New Jersey Online  www.njarchives.org/links/guides/chncl004.html

p. 10:  Navy personnel FREE access to Ancestry and HeritageQuest  wwwa.nko.navy.mil/portal

p. 11:  Florida State University’s Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration:  www.fsu.edu/news/2009/01/08/king.celebration

p. 12:  Booker T. Washington Online at Library of Congress:  www.loc.gov/rr/program/bib/btwashington/index.html

p. 14:  Free at Last?  Slavery in Pittsburgh in the 18th and 19th Centuries  www.imdiversity.com/villages/african/pitt_slavery1008.asp

p. 16:  Events listings:  Virginia Beach Genealogical Society www.rootsweb.com/~vavbgs

The International Black Genealogy Summit (IBGS)  www.acpl.lib.in.us

NGS Family History Conference:  www.ncgenealogy.org/blogs/ngs2009

p. 18:  African American Genealogy Sources in the Louisiana Division of the New Orleans Public Library  http://nutrias.org/guides/black.htm

p. 20:  An Anthology of Respect:  The Pullman Porter National Historic Registry (1st Ed.)  www.aphiliprandolphmuseum.com/anthology-of-respect.htm

AAHGS Election 2008: Important Update

The AAHGS Board of Directors has voted to defer final ruling on the recent election for officers for the 2009-2010 term pending completion of a review of employed procedures.  Current officers will continue in their positions until the issues surrounding the process have been resolved.  Chapter presidents, AAHGS News, and the AAHGS website will be updated when resolution has been reached.

November/December Issue of AAHGS News at Printer

File under better late than never — the November/December 2008 issue of the AAHGS News is at the printer.  Right on the heels of that is the January/February 2009 issue which will include the 2008 article index, listing of individuals named in the Remembrance Register and possibly the call for papers for the 2009 conference.

We are always looking for submissions for the News in the areas of African American history and genealogy.  If you are interested in submitting an article or news item for inclusion in an issue of the News, please email the editor at aahgsnews ‘at’ yahoo.com.

Happy New Year!

I would like to wish all of our AAHGS News readers a Happy New Year 2009! After an extended absence, we are back on the blog with the November/December and January/February AAHGS News newsletters in the works as I write this.

Thank you to all of our members for continuing their involvement with our organization. Here is the latest update regarding the 2008 elections from our President, Khadijah Matin:

“The AAHGS Board of Directors has voted to defer final ruling on the recent election for officers for the 2009-2010 term pending completion of a review of the procedures employed. We apologize for the delay and any confusion; however, we want to be absolutely clear that process followed comports with our governing documents and that your rights as members have been protected. To that end, the current officers will continue in their positions until the issues surrounding the process have been resolved. When the resolution has been reached, you will be notified through your chapter presidents, through the newsletter, and through the website.  If you have any questions, please contact the vice-presidents for genealogy or history,
Charles Howard at ; or
Denise Lancaster Young at

Best wishes for a happy and healthy 2009!