Brown University Library Special Collections

Señor Americanus: Lincoln's Man in Peru

Posted by [email protected] on May 20, 2011

Christopher Robinson Exhibition

A battered box. An invitation to a bull fight to celebrate Chilean Independence Day. A slightly worn uniform of heavy blue wool, found with a turkish cigarette in the pocket of its jacket. A game called Swiss Sticks. These are a few of the items displayed in our new exhibition on Christopher Robinson, who served the United States as Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary to the Republic of Peru during the Civil War.

The exhibition — a collaborative effort by filmmaker and collector Elizabeth Vangel of non-profit Foss Media, and the John Hay Library, follows the trajectory of Christopher Robinson (Brown 1825) from his roots in Woonsocket, Rhode Island, throught his stint as Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary at the American Consulate in Lima during the Civil War. This little known Brown alumnus — a renowned lawyer in his day — was a key player in the effort to write a state constitution for Rhode Island, and an unfettered advocate for democracy in the United States and abroad. Beloved in Peru, Robinson made friends and contacts easily, even meeting with Garibaldi in Europe at an international peace conference in 1867.

The exhibition has been endorsed by the Rhode Island Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission, and is on view at the Hay Library’s North Gallery from May 15 through September 23, 2011.