- Historic Sites
An Epitaph For Mr. Lincoln
The curiously troubled origin of a brief and fitting inscription
February/March 1987 | Volume 38, Issue 2
Almost all critics quickly agreed that the finished Lincoln Memorial was appropriate in every sense. In the decades that followed, the memorial became one of the most visited sites in the United States. Millions of tourists, both Americans and foreigners, rose up its grand steps and entered the great hall where Daniel Chester French’s statue looks out over Washington, the world, and time itself. They silently read the inscription above Lincoln’s head. Cortissoz was correct. The inscription is exactly right. He was also correct in perceiving his own anonymity. The words are moving, but the author is unknown. He would not have minded. As he said, he was part of Lincoln, and that was enough for anyone.