Remember when Abe Lincoln came to Providence?

President Abraham Lincoln poses for a portrait in this undated file photo.
President Abraham Lincoln poses for a portrait in this undated file photo.MATHEW BRADY

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Happy Friday and welcome to Rhode Map, your daily guide to everything happening in the Ocean State. I’m Dan McGowan and I’m going to see “Hamilton” in New York City this weekend. Be jealous. Follow me on Twitter @DanMcGowan or send tips to Dan.McGowan@globe.com.

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Abraham Lincoln wasn’t yet the president when he visited Providence 160 years ago this month, but in honor of his birthday this week and Monday’s holiday, I found this great pamphlet in the state’s digital archive that recapped his adventure to our state.


Lincoln traveled to Rhode Island on Feb. 28, 1860, the day after he delivered his famous Cooper Union address in New York. The reason for his trip to New England was unclear, but it was believed that he wanted to visit his son at Phillips Exeter Academy, pick up political support in a part of the country that barely knew him and offer his views on slavery.

He delivered his speech to a large crowd at Railroad Hall and then stayed the night at the home of attorney John Eddy, who lived on Washington Street. The best memory of Lincoln’s visit came from Eddy’s son, who was only four at the time:

“Mr. Lincoln stayed at our house on the night of his visit in Providence and gave me a few red gum drops, probably intended for his own use,” young Alfred Eddy recalled.

Imagine how much Mr. Lincoln would have enjoyed Swedish Fish.

Lincoln departed for New Hampshire the next day, but he returned to speak in front of a crowd of 1,500 in Woonsocket on March 8. Slavery was among the topics he discussed during his two-hour address that day.


You know the rest of the story.

Lincoln won the presidency later that year, and Rhode Island delivered him 61 percent of the popular vote. It appears he never returned to New England again.


Rhode Map wants to hear from you. If you've got a scoop or a link to an interesting news story in Rhode Island, e-mail us at RInews@globe.com.

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  • Get ready for the 22nd annual Providence French Film Festival later this month. Here’s a preview.
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Each day, Rhode Map offers a cheat sheet breaking down what's happening in Rhode Island. Have an idea? E-mail us at RInews@globe.com.

  • US Senator Sheldon Whitehouse is off to Germany for the Munich Security Conference. He and Senator Lindsey Graham are a leading a delegation of 21 members of Congress to the fourm.
  • US Senator Jack Reed is hosting a town hall event with veterans this afternoon at the Providence VA Medical Center.
  • If you’re in Boston this weekend, Providence's Everett Theatre’s “Good Grief” will be performed at Emerson College. You can get tickets here.
  • The Infosys Foundation USA’s Pathfinders Conference kicks off on Sunday in Providence. It’s a three-day event that focuses on providing professional development in computer science to educators.
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Thanks for reading. Send comments and suggestions to dan.mcgowan@globe.com, or follow me on Twitter @DanMcGowan. See you tomorrow.

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Dan McGowan can be reached at dan.mcgowan@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter at @danmcgowan.