Still A Great Hall After All

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One of the famous readers that day was Kitty Carlisle Hart, the nonagenarian singer who is something of a historical landmark in her own right, having made her stage debut in 1932.1 spoke to Mrs. Hart a few hours after her performance. She joked that she was not quite old enough to have been at Cooper Union when Lincoln spoke there.

But had she felt the presence of Lincoln on the Cooper Union stage? “Oh, yes, darling,” she laughed. “Ever since Ford’s Theatre, no actor goes onstage at a theater without thinking about Lincoln.”

But only at the Great Hall of Cooper Union can audiences so easily inhale Lincoln’s presence too—there to imagine not the dying but the living man, not the bearded icon of myth but the clean-shaven, fresh-voiced political original who conquered all New York here on the way to the White House and immortality.

—Harold Holzer