Lincoln V. Lincoln

Written by: admin

More than 148 years after President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination, he continues to make his mark on American society, with this year being no exception. Here at the Science & Entertainment Exchange, we have a particular affinity for good old Abe, and this week our pride swells even more than usual. March 3, 2013 marked the 150th anniversary of the National Academy of Sciences, which was signed into existence by none other, than Abraham Lincoln, himself!


In honor of Abraham Lincoln in all forms, both historical and theatrical, we thought we’d bring your attention to a few interesting facts about man, the myth and the legend in the stovepipe hat. Try to guess if we’re being truthful, or if we’re pulling your (possibly wooden) leg! 

True or False: Lincoln director, Steven Spielberg dressed as Abe Lincoln for the entirety of the filming. Including, but not limited to, a fake beard and historically accurate stovepipe hat.
Verdict: False. While we love the image of Steven Spielberg in a stovepipe hat, it sadly isn’t true. But don’t worry, not all is lost! It has been cited that Spielberg did choose to wear a suit and tie during filming  

“I think I wanted to get into the role more than anything else,” Spielberg said. “Because we were creating a part of history, and I didn’t want to be the shlubby baseball-cap-wearing 21st century guy. I wanted to be like the cast.”

True or False: Spielberg affectionately referred to Daniel Day Lewis as Abe throughout filming. 
Verdict: Sort of true. Spielberg took method directing to a new level, and reportedly only referred to Daniel Day Lewis as “Mr. President” while on set and on the call lists. Even Lewis’ fictional wife, played by Sally Field, got in on the action. The director reportedly called her “Mrs. Lincoln” or “Molly” on set. 

True or False: Abraham Lincoln’s son, Robert Todd Lincoln, was also known as his good luck charm. 
Verdict: Super false! Robert Todd Lincoln was actually quite the presidential death magnet. While he was not present when his father was killed, he was an eyewitness to Garfield’s assassination and at the same World’s Fair where McKinley was assassinated.

True or False: Robert Todd Lincoln, the death magnet, was actually saved by his father’s assassin’s brother. Try to say that 10 times fast!   
Verdict: Freakishly true. Robert Todd Lincoln fell between the platform and a train at a rail station. Just as the train began to move, he was pulled from the tracks by none other than Edwin Booth, John Wilkes Booth’s brother. 

True or False: Lincoln was a tastemaker of the time. Some might even call him a fashionista! 
Verdict: True, but we won’t force you to call him fashionista. Lincoln was the first president to sport a beard, and we are a big fan of his stovepipe hat, which he also used to store all kinds of goodies! 

What’s your favorite Lincoln fact? Share it with us on Facebook or Twitter

The statements and opinions expressed in this piece are those of the event participants and do not necessarily reflect the views of any organization or agency that provided support for this event or of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.