26 January, 2015 Stratford-upon-Avon Town Council The Mayor's Parlour
Dr Daniel W. Stowell Director, Center for Digital Initiatives 112 North Sixth Street Springfield Illinois 62701
Dear Dr Stowell
150th Anniversary of the death of President Lincoln (1865-2015)
I am delighted to have this opportunity to write to you as Mayor, on behalf the Town Council and townspeople of Stratford-upon-Avon, as the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library commemorates the 150th anniversary of President Lincoln's tragic death in 1865.
The inhabitants of our ancient town were understandably shocked and appalled by the assassination of the President as the letter you received at the time from one of my predecessors, written on behalf of the Borough Council & the Burgesses, clearly expresses.
Stratford-upon-Avon has many reminders of the close relationship we have always had with the United States of America, perhaps the earliest being Harvard House built in 1594, the childhood home of John Harvard's mother, a founder of Harvard University. That special relationship has been celebrated within the past 150 years with the erection of the American Fountain in the Rother Market Square in 1887. Further generous gifts from the American people of two stained glass windows in Holy Trinity Church, the first one close to Shakespeare's grave in 1887, followed by a second in
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1896. More recently an American donation allowed the RSC to establish the Swan Theatre, created in the part of the building which was devastated in the fire of 1926 and which destroyed most of the original Shakespeare Memorial Theatre. The Swan Theatre now compliments the newly refurbished Royal Shakespeare Theatre and is much loved.
The United States of America and its people have always been held in the very highest esteem by the people of Stratford-upon-Avon since the earliest of days. Every year, thousands of your countrymen and women are welcomed to our town to visit and to study and it is a great joy for us all to share the rich Shakespeare Heritage with you.
Out of such a tragic occurrence 150 years ago has come a friendship with the people of United States of America which we treasure, and I trust and hope that this will be something that we will both continue to benefit from for many, many years to come.
Ian F Fradgley Mayor of Stratford-upon-Avon Town Council