President Lincoln and the Musical Danas

One of the most interesting things about working in an archives, is finding local links to major historical events. I recently finished a collection that Music Professor John Turk donated. The materials in the collection were used to aid him in writing his book, The Musical Danas of Warren, Ohio. Anyone doing research on the Dana School of Music would be interested in this book and his collection. While working on this collection, I came across a local tie to one of the nation’s most well-known events, the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln. Quoting from John Turk’s book The Musical Danas of Warren, Ohio page 6.

“On the evening of April 14, 1865, when President Lincoln was shot and mortally wounded, not only was the Vice-President away from the city but the Secretary of State, Frederick Seward, lay seriously wounded as the result of a similar assassination attempt. Setting up an office in the room across from where Lincoln lay, Stanton took full control of the government. With Dana at his side, he spent the night dictation orders and telegrams to alert the country, keep the military advised, and attempt to solved the crime. For a period of almost twenty-four hours, Charles Anderson Dana was the de facto Vice-President of the United States.”

Charles Anderson Dana was the uncle of William Henry Dana, founder of the Dana School of Music in 1869. Charles Anderson Dana was the Assistant Secretary of War under Edwin Stanton in Lincoln’s Cabinet. In John Turk’s collection there is a musical composition which was dedicated to Charles Anderson Dana in 1865 entitled, “The Re-Union March” by Dr. H. Perabeau.

Access the finding aid for John Turk’s collection HERE

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