November 19th is Dedication Day, the anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s famous Gettysburg Address (admit it, you had to memorize it in middle school too). It’s also the week of the annual Lincoln Forum, held November 16-18. I’ll be at both.
The focus of this year’s Forum is “Lincoln and His Contemporaries: Friends, Enemies, and Successors.” Speakers will include Charles Strozier (talking about Lincoln’s intimate friend, Joshua Speed), Steven Engle (Lincoln and the War Governors), Jonathan W. White (Dreams of War and Peace), Melanie Kirkpatrick (Lincoln and Thanksgiving, which appropriately follows next week), and Annette Gordon-Reed (Andrew Johnson, who is either a friend or enemy and questionable successor, depending on your point of view).
Not to be missed is a break out session in which friends and foes Craig L. Symonds and John F. Marszalek do their best Abbott and Costello routine (or Costello and Costello) facing off with Northern and Southern perspectives of the Civil War.
The Forum is deftly guided by founding and continuing Chair, the Honorable Frank J. Williams and unrivaled Lincoln scholar and Forum Vice-Chair, Harold Holzer. The two, along with a cast of dedicated Board members and staff, have led the Forum for 22 years, and every year seems to get even better. One of the preeminent Lincoln conferences, each year about 300 Lincoln scholars and aficionados, some in period costumes, join together to share great scholarship, good food, and long-lasting relationships. If you haven’t already, check out the Forum website at the link above (and the other Lincoln groups, including my own Lincoln Group of DC, in the links below).
I’ll be there catching up with other Lincoln authors, attending the talks, and increasing my already voluminous Lincoln library. I’ll also have copies of my own Lincoln book. Anyone who wants one can catch me roaming the hallways and I’ll be happy to sign one for you.
As the Forum ends the crowd shifts to the Gettysburg Battlefield where George Buss plays Abraham Lincoln and recites the Gettysburg Address. This year’s keynote speaker is none other than the Forum’s Harold Holzer.
This week is a busy one for us Lincoln scholars and geeks. Last night I attended a welcoming reception at the Lincoln Cottage for members of the Abraham Lincoln Association. ALA hosted us a year ago when over 20 Lincoln Group of DC members toured the Springfield, Illinois area. We were happy to return the favor as ALA engages in its annual “fishing trip” before heading up to the Lincoln Forum.
See you at the Forum!
David J. Kent is the author of Lincoln: The Man Who Saved America, now available. His previous books include Tesla: The Wizard of Electricity and Edison: The Inventor of the Modern World (both Fall River Press). He has also written two e-books: Nikola Tesla: Renewable Energy Ahead of Its Time and Abraham Lincoln and Nikola Tesla: Connected by Fate.
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