The Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial: 2008-2009

Hartwick College sponsored "The Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial: Honoring the Role of Hartwick College Personalities and Local Citizens in the Journey to Freedom." An interdisciplinary symposium with events spanning the 2008-09 academic year was cosponsored by the Hartwick College Honor Society, various academic departments, and the Office of Student Life, as well as being joined by the city of Oneonta's Commission on Community Relations and Human Rights.

The symposium expressed Lincoln’s themes through the prism of local history and its impact upon the national stage. The project generated lasting reminders of Lincoln’s interactions with leaders of the Underground Railroad, anti-slavery movement, the Civil War, local history, as well as with alumni and Trustees in the history of Hartwick College, including the following:

  • Hartwick Trustee Rev. John Lawyer and his abolitionist Franckean Synod.
  • Hartwick Alumnus Isaac Newton Arnold, an abolitionist and Congressman from Illinois, who joined with his friend Abraham Lincoln to push through decrees that ended slavery in the United States.
  • Joseph Dottin Husbands, Esq. was the former Colonial Secretary of Barbados before escaping in 1815 to the United States because of his anti-slavery views.  Husbands served as a Trustee of the Hartwick Seminary and Academy from 1825-1833.
  • George Miller Sternberg was born in 1838 at Hartwick Seminary and Academy, the son of principal Levi Sternberg. After completing his studies at the Academy, he received an introduction to the medical field by studying with physicians in Cooperstown. He attended medical school before the start of the Civil War, later enlisting in the Union Army. His career as a scholar and doctor led to the 1893 appointment as Brigadier-General, USA Surgeon-General. He died in 1915 with his will administered by Hartwick Seminary and Academy.

The symposium included faculty-student research regarding Hartwick’s role in the above areas of the Freedom Journey. Further, a series of classes explored freedom, democracy, and equal opportunity within the context of historical periods. A series of dinner discussions, a Lincoln film series, academic courses, and music and art events offered members of the Hartwick and Oneonta communities interdisciplinary exhibits about Lincoln and the Freedom Journey and events at which conversation about diverse perspectives will occur. 

Included in the symposium of events spanning the 2008-09 academic year, the Hartwick community  honored Lincoln on February 12, 2009 by hosting Hartwick College's Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Birthday Bash. Events on Thursday, February 12 were scheduled as follows:

  • Noon-2 p.m., Hartwick and the Freedom Journey, Eaton Lounge, Bresee Hall 
  • 2:30-4 p.m., Freedom Journey Exhibit, 103 A Bresee Hall
  • 7:30 p.m., Abraham Lincoln Birthday Program, Stack Lounge, Dewar Union

For a complete list of symposium events, visit the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial events Web page.

Endorsed by the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission

Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission