Friday, March 27, 2009

Congratulations, Dr. Dreyfuss

There are times in life when you know you're in the right place at the right time, times when you experience something so magnificent and exciting you can think of no place you'd rather be - and you can't stop smiling when you think of it.

Seeing Richard Dreyfuss awarded an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from Illinois College in Jacksonville (Ill.) was one of those moments. Dreyfuss was in town for the 29th Annual Illinois History Symposium, "Lincoln in Antebellum Illinois: 1831-1860." Together, Dreyfuss and my favorite Lincoln scholar, Harold Holzer, presented "Lincoln Seen and Heard," a magnificent work which blends Lincoln images with Holzer's well-crafted narrative, as well as Lincoln's own words.

Anytime you can see Holzer present you know you're in for a treat, and the same is certainly true of any time Dreyfuss performs. Put the two together and you've got a dynamite show. I'll tell you more about the performance in a future post.

The one thing I want to share tonight before I fall asleep on my keyboard is how excited Dreyfuss was to receive this degree. I truly believe it meant the world to him. Witnessing his excitement made me almost as happy for him as I was upon receiving my own college degree at age 41.

You know, it was strange. I've admired this man's work for decades, yet meeting him tonight for the first time, he didn't come across as some great, unreachable movie star. He was warm, accomodating, appreciative of his fans and thankful for the honor he'd received. It was really cool to be there to experience his special moment.

So, I have to say it again: "Congratulations, Dr. Dreyfuss! I'm happy for you." Ann


Ernest Nicastro said...

Fantastic Ann! It's so refreshing when you hear something like that about a "celebrity." I've always admired Dreyfuss's talent and to read your comments makes me like him even more. And Mr. Holzer sounds like someone I would enjoy as well. I've never read any of his work so I'll have to put him on my reading list.

Lincoln Buff 2 said...


Please do add Harold to your reading list. You won't regret it. It will keep you busy a long time, as he's now written or edited 33 books!

I'm currently reading "In Lincoln's Hand: His Original Manuscripts with Commentary by Distinguished Americans," which he co-authored with Joshua Wolf Shenk. I'm really enjoying it. Josh, by the way, also wrote "Lincoln's Melancholy," a wonderful examination of Lincoln's depression and how it fueled the presidency.

Over New Year's break, I read "Lincoln President-Elect: Abraham Lincoln and the Great Secession Winter 1860-1861," a wonderful work. I reviewed it in the blog:

Perhaps my favorite of the Holzer books I've read to date is, "Lincoln As I Knew Him," an easy read which examines how different people first became interested in Lincoln.

One of my first published book reviews was of "The Lincoln Mailbag." It, too, is a quick read, and one I'll always enjoy.

That should get you started. Who knows, if you get hooked, you may even get ahead of me. Happy reading!


Joe W. said...

I had the honor of meeting the now Dr. Dreyfuss a few years ago. He was just as warm then as he seems to be now.