Guest Blog Post from Dan Wilkinson, Executive Director of Lincoln Amphitheatre.
Do Abraham Lincoln and Christmas have anything in common?
We associate them in Spencer County because Abe’s boyhood home is only five miles down the road from the famous Christmas town of Santa Claus. The staff at Lincoln Amphitheatre have been pondering this question as we get ready for our production of “Scrooge’s Christmas” at Heritage Hills High School Auditorium.
Charles Dickens and Abraham Lincoln never met, but were contemporaries with Lincoln being born in 1809 and Dickens in 1812. Dickens’ A Christmas Carol was first published in December 1843 and is widely credited with reviving the season of Christmas as a festive time of the year.
President Ulysses S. Grant signed a bill into law in 1870 which made Christmas an official federal holiday and the rest is, as they say, history. While there is no evidence to suggest that Lincoln ever read Dickens’ work, his first inaugural address included among other memorable phrases the expression “better angels of our nature.” It is thought that this was an alteration of a phrase contained in William’s Seward’s draft of the address taken from the Dickens novel, Barnaby Rudge.
Both men, Lincoln and Dickens, came from rather poor and humble beginnings to eventually achieve world renown and respect.