A ‘Save the Flag Penny Drive’ is underway in Logan County schools through Nov. 8, as a way to raise funds to restore an historic flag associated with Logan County and Abraham Lincoln’s first presidential campaign.
“We’ve timed this campaign to coincide with the 2018 election season, giving teachers an opportunity to use the penny drive as a jumping off point to teach students about political campaigns of the past and present,” said Anne Moseley, Director of the Lincoln Heritage Museum at Lincoln College. “At the same time it offers an inexpensive way for students to participate in the restoration of an important local historical artifact directly tied to Abraham Lincoln’s political career.”
Funds from the penny drive will be used to help restore the Middletown Flag, a hand-stitched campaign flag made by the ladies of Middletown, Illinois, during the 1860 presidential election.
The flag was made for a Springfield rally for Lincoln held on August 8, 1860. After being carried in the rally’s parade, the women of Middletown were thrilled to find that Lincoln was draped in their flag as he gave a speech at the fairgrounds. At a time when women were not allowed to vote, the flag served as a way for the ladies of Middletown to express themselves publicly regarding their candidate of choice.
The penny drive has a goal of collecting 1.7 million pennies, or $17,000, toward the cost of restoring the flag, which is estimated to be between $17,000 and $20,000.
The Middletown Flag is one of three pieces created for and used by the Wide Awake Supporters of Logan County currently in the collection of the Lincoln Heritage Museum at Lincoln College. The other two are the “Nations Choice” banner and a smaller banner of Abraham Lincoln. Once the flag is restored, the entire set will be complete.
“We want to use the penny drive to build civic pride while discovering Logan County’s role in this historic chapter,” Moseley said. “In the future, they will be able to point to the Middletown Flag in the museum that they helped to save. Through the flag we can acknowledge past events while instilling pride in the role played by Logan County citizens, past and present, in our nation’s history.”