Friends of the Lincoln Collection of Indiana is happy to announce a first-time symposium, titled “The Emergence of Lincoln: Because of or in Spite of his Hoosier Roots?” The event, which is free and open to the public, will be held at 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 17, in the theater of the Allen County Public Library, 900 Library Plaza.
In 1816, the same year that Indiana became a state, the Lincoln family ventured across the Ohio River from Kentucky and put down roots in Spencer County. Former Indiana Gov. Otis Bowen once said that “Lincoln made Illinois, but Indiana made Lincoln,” acknowledging the influence of the young Hoosier State on the young man who would change the course of American history.
This historic convergence of person and place will be explored by three noted Lincoln and Indiana scholars:
· William Bartelt, a retired Hoosier educator, will speak to “The impact of the Ohio River on the Lincoln experience.” Bartelt wrote “There I Grew Up: Remembering Abraham Lincoln’s Indiana Youth,” an examination of Lincoln’s life from ages 7 to 21, his formative years before moving on to Illinois in 1830. Bartelt is a native of Holland, Indiana, and was employed as a ranger and historian at Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial in Spencer County for more than 15 summers.
· Nicole Etcheson, professor of history at Ball State University, will explore “Politics as the pivot for Lincoln’s relationship with Indiana.” Etcheson’s book, “A Generation at War: The Civil War Era in a Northern Community,” focuses on Putnam County, Indiana, and won the 2012 Avery O. Craven Award from the Organization of American Historians for most original book on the Civil War era and the 2012 Best Nonfiction Book of Indiana from the Indiana Center for the Book.
· Brian Dirck, professor of history at Anderson University since 1998, will examine “Lincoln’s understanding of death and mourning as experienced through the deaths of his mother and sister in Indiana.” Brian Dirck is the author of several books on Lincoln and his era, including “Lincoln and Davis: Imagining America, 1809-1865,” “Lincoln the Lawyer,” and the forthcoming “Lincoln in Indiana.”
Audience questions are welcome in a discussion of the impact of Indiana on Lincoln that will follow the presentations. Sponsored by the Allen County, Indiana, Bicentennial Task Force, the symposium is presented as part of expanded programming by the Friends of the Lincoln Collection of Indiana.