Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Road tripping with Lincoln in Illinois

Ever read a blog or a social networking site, listened to a voice mail or received an email out of office message where the person says, "I'm on the road this week"? I always thought that sounded so cool!

I've been "on the road" with Abraham Lincoln lately and it's been quite an experience. Okay, not really with him, but certainly pursuing his legacy.

Events aplenty
Thanks to the upcoming bicentennial of Lincoln's birth, central Illinois has been a great place to be a Lincoln buff - especially these last few weeks. A person would have to be nearly super-human to make it to all the events, but I've done my best to try to achieve that stature - four events in six days!

Immersed in Lincoln
As a student in the class which Heartland College is offering to commemorate the Bicentennial, History 296: The Life and Times of Abraham Lincoln, taught by Dr. Scott Rager, I spend one evening each week immersed in Lincoln in the classroom and countless other hours reading my lesson and learning as much as I can outside of class. Yes, it has become somewhat of an obession!

Buss-Connors as Lincoln-Douglas
The Lincoln-Douglas Debate Reunion Tour 2008 has had George Buss as Lincoln and Tim Connors as Stephen A. Douglas traveling throughout the state. If you get a chance sometime, please go see them. You'll be glad you did.

I saw Buss and Connors at the historic Normal Theatre on Sept. 24 and at Galesburg on Oct. 4 for the anniversary celebration of the Galesburg debate. They've hit all the other 1858 debate sites this fall, as well. On Oct. 16, Buss will portray Lincoln for a modern day press conference at the Pettengill-Morron House in Peoria. I hope to make it to that event, too.

Scholars present
Last Saturday's colloquium at Knox was fantastic (see my Oct. 11 blog post) and tonight I was at the University of Illinois in Springfield for the Lincoln Legacy Lecture series with Drs. Silvana Siddali and Jennifer Weber presenting. This isn't the first time I've heard these two brilliant Lincoln scholars present, and I intend not to let it be the last. The event was moderated by Order of Lincoln honoree Thomas Schwartz, Illinois Historian, whose work with the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, Lincoln Bicentennial Commission and many other Lincoln-related organizations is inspirational. Watch my future posts for information on these Lincoln experts, areas of their Lincoln scholarship and links to their books.

I'll also try to tell you a little more about all of the Order of Lincoln honorees I've met in the past week, their contributions to the Lincoln legacy and their publications. Watch for future posts.

My assignment
In the meantime, I'm taking some time off the road for my own scholarly work. (Wow, I always wanted to say that!) I'll be working on a paper on Abraham Lincoln and his mentors. I've had great mentors myself - in work and in academia - so I was drawn to this subject. I think the topic definitely has relevance today.

Your assignment
Okay, all readers, here's your assignment. Think of a mentor you've had who has inspired you, helped you grow and guided you to new heights. Please feel free to use the comments function to share your story. (I do review all comments before posting, so you may not see them until the following day.)

Lincoln scholars, I know we've got budding scholars reading this post, especially my young friends in the Lincoln Seminar class at Galesburg High School. Like me, they admire you and your work. Please tell them about the mentors who inpired you.

© Copyright 2008 Ann Tracy Mueller. All rights reserved.

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