It’s been a busy 48 hours with respect to Abraham Lincoln traveling. And it’s about to get even busier.
On Saturday I attended the monthly book discussion group of the Lincoln Group of DC (where last month I gave a talk on Lincoln and Technology). Our book this year is Michael Burlingame’s “green monster,” the name stemming both as an homage to the famous left field wall at Fenway Park in Boston and the color and size of his two-volume, 2000+ page tome Abraham Lincoln: A Life. As always, the discussions were lively and informative.
That night about a dozen current and past Lincoln Group members gathered for dinner and conversation at a beautiful Victorian-style home not far from George Washington’s famed Mount Vernon. Thank you John and Linda for a wonderful event and unbeatable hospitality.
And now it’s on to Gettysburg for 2-1/12 days of immersion at the historical Civil War battlefield site. The Abraham Lincoln Forum meets each year on the anniversary week of Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. Some of the most well-known Lincoln historians in the U.S. will be there for lectures, discussions, and roundtables. Both old and new Lincoln books will be on sale thanks to the appearances of Daniel Weinberg of the Abraham Lincoln Book Shop and many current authors. This is the 20th anniversary of the Forum, which from the beginning has been chaired by retired Rhode Island Supreme Court Justice Frank Williams and vice-chaired by renowned Lincoln scholar Harold Holzer. You can read more about last year’s Forum here.
This year will also serve as a transition. Jim Getty (above) has been the go-to Abraham Lincoln interpreter in the Gettysburg region for many years. People travel from miles around to hear him present the Gettysburg Address on Dedication Day of the battlefield (November 19th). Last year he received the Forum’s prestigious Richard Nelson Current Award. Jim had retired from Lincoln interpretation work this year, then unexpected passed away this summer. He will be dearly missed. A remembrance is planned at this year’s event.
Taking over the Dedication Day duties is interpreter George Buss, whom I met last year here at the Forum (see above; he’s the one with the hat). George has been a long-standing Forum member and has interpreted Lincoln for many years. He resides in the Springfield, Illinois area, which makes another upcoming event even more special. George will give a press conference in Washington, D.C. on December 3rd, taking questions from the public and the national press. In addition, the Lincoln Group of DC has arranged for George to bring Lincoln to our monthly dinner meeting on December 2nd, where he’ll engage in an intimate informal conversation with Lincoln Group members. Sign up on the Lincoln Group website.
The Forum runs through Wednesday night and is followed by the dedication ceremonies on the battlefield on Thursday. I’ll have more to report, plus photos, during and after the conference.
David J. Kent has been a scientist for thirty-five years, is an avid science traveler, and an independent Abraham Lincoln historian. He is the author of Tesla: The Wizard of Electricity (now in its 5th printing) and two e-books: Nikola Tesla: Renewable Energy Ahead of Its Time and Abraham Lincoln and Nikola Tesla: Connected by Fate. His book on Thomas Edison is due in Barnes and Noble stores in spring 2016.