Live simultaneous reading of Lincoln speech will kick-off nation’s Civil War Sesquicentennial observance

Share with:

Live webcast in place to allow nationwide participation in February 11 world record attempt
 Springfield, IL – A live webcast has been set up to allow anyone in the nation to participate in the February 11, 2011 simultaneous reading of a famous Abraham Lincoln speech that organizers hope will set a new Guinness World Record™ as part of the national kickoff of the Civil War Sesquicentennial.
 Abraham Lincoln’s speech as he departed Springfield, Illinois as president-elect on February 11, 1861 will be re-enacted on its 150th anniversary at the Great Western Depot in Springfield, Illinois, and everyone in the nation is invited to join in and read Lincoln’s Farewell Address at 11 a.m. Central, noon Eastern, 10 a.m. Mountain and 9 a.m. Pacific Time by accessing the following link:
The link may also be accessed through the world record event’s website,, which has specific guidelines that must be followed in order to make a claim for the world record.  The link is also available through, the website of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum.
 According to Guinness World Records™, the record for the most people reading aloud from the same document simultaneously is 223,363 participants at 909 venues across the United States for an event organized by Walden Media on December 13, 2006.  Since Guinness World Records™ requires the record-breaking reading to last at least five minutes, participants will read the Farewell Address several times until the five-minute threshold is met. 
 The Illinois Historic Preservation Agency, GateHouse Media, the National Park Service, the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, Abraham Lincoln National Heritage Area, and the Looking for Lincoln Heritage Coalition are co-sponsors of this Guinness World Record™ attempt.  The Great Western Depot, the site of the original Farewell Speech as well as the February 11, 2011 re-enactment, is owned and operated by The State Journal-Register, the GateHouse Media newspaper for Springfield, Illinois.
        The text of the speech to be used by readers on February 11 follows:    
“My friends – No one, not in my situation, can appreciate my feeling of sadness at this parting.  To this place, and the kindness of these people, I owe every thing.  Here I have lived a quarter of a century, and have passed from a young to an old man.  Here my children have been born, and one is buried.  I now leave, not knowing when, or whether ever, I may return, with a task before me greater than that which rested upon Washington.  Without the assistance of that Divine Being, who ever attended him, I cannot succeed.  With that assistance I cannot fail.  Trusting in Him, who can go with me, and remain with you and be every where for good, let us confidently hope that all will yet be well.  To His care commending you, as I hope in your prayers you will commend me, I bid you an affectionate farewell.”
As of February 4, the following have been confirmed as locations where the public may participate in the simultaneous reading.  Organizers anticipate many more locations will join the world record attempt in the coming days.  In addition, any group of people may participate wherever they may be, with no need to register in advance.

  • Hot Springs:  Lakeside High School Library. 



  • Norwich:  Norwich Free Academy and Norwich City Hall. 


  • Alton:  Sts. Peter and Paul School
  • Beardstown:  Old Lincoln Courtroom Museum
  • Belleville:  Belleville Public Library
  • Bement:  Bryant Cottage State Historic Site (reading to take place at local school gym)
  • Bishop Hill:  Bishop Hill State Historic Site
  • Bloomington:  David Davis Mansion State Historic Site, Northpoint Elementary School
  • Chicago:  Prologue Early College High School, 1135 N. Cleaver 
  • Collinsville:  Collinsville Museum
  • Colona:  Green Rock Free Will Baptist Church
  • Danville:  Vermilion County Museum
  • Decatur:  Macon County Museum
  • Elizabeth:  Apple River Fort State Historic Site
  • Galena:  Ulysses S. Grant Home State Historic Site
  • Glen Carbon:  Glen Carbon Centennial Library
  • Hartford:  Lewis and Clark State Historic Site
  • Huntley:  Del Webb Sun City-Drendel Ballroom
  • Jacksonville:  Lincoln Land Community College, 32 North Central Park Plaza. 
  • Lincoln:  Lincoln College Museum, Central Elementary School
  • Lockport:  Lincoln Landing (for inclement weather, inside the Gaylord Building, a historic site of the National Trust for Historic Preservation)
  • Mahomet:  Museum of the Grand Prairie on Rt. 47 North
  • Mascoutah:  Mascoutah Senior Services Program
  • Mattoon:  Mattoon Middle School
  • Minier:  Olympia West Elementary School
  • Mt. Prospect:  Euclid School, 1211 N. Wheeling Rd.
  • Mt. Pulaski:  Mt. Pulaski Courthouse State Historic Site
  • Newton:  Newton Community High School
  • Normal:  Illinois State University Milner Library, Bone Student Center
  • Palmyra:  Palmyra Elementary School
  • Pana:  Pana Junior High School
  • Petersburg:  PORTA Central School
  • Pittsfield:  Pike County Farm Bureau
  • Polo:  Polo schools
  • Rockford:  Veterans Memorial Hall
  • Rock Island:  Black Hawk State Historic Site
  • Savanna:  West Carroll High School
  • Springfield:  Great Western Depot,  Illinois State Museum, National Museum of Surveying, Christ the King School, Grant Middle School, Blessed Sacrament School
  • Sullivan:  Moultrie County Courthouse
  • Taylorville:  Christian County Historical Society
  • Urbana:  City of Urbana Building
  • Vandalia:  Vandalia Statehouse State Historic Site
  • Waterloo:  Morrison-Talbott Library


  • Fort Wayne:  1,700 students at South Side High School
  • Lebanon:  Lebanon Public Library


  • Fort Scott National Historic Site 



  • Frederick:  Monocacy National Battlefield


  • Pittsburgh:  Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall


  • Milton:  Milton Elementary School


  • Davis Elementary School


  • Oshkosh:  Winnebago County Historical and Archaeological Society 
  • Since each participating site must submit verification paperwork, it may take several weeks before organizers know if the event set a new world record.

Share with:

WP2Social Auto Publish Powered By :