Join us for Lincoln Group Oral History Night with Ed Steers
By David J. Kent
Thursday, March 24, 2022
The Lincoln Group of DC has a long and storied history. Luckily for us today, Ed Steers was a large part of the group in the 1980s, serving as president, newsletter editor, and a multitude of other roles. On April 5, 2022, Ed will recall some of the history of the Lincoln Group through the miracle of Zoom.
It all started back in 1934, and Ed has re-discovered old interview tapes he made with Capitol Police Lt. Bert Sheldon, the first elected president of the Lincoln Group. An octogenarian at the time of the recording, Bert reminisced about the beginnings, and Ed will bring that knowledge to us in stories and anecdotes from the past.
It doesn’t stop there. Congressman Fred Schwengel became president in 1958, bringing the power and influence of an entire branch of federal government behind the work of the Group. Not inconsequentially, the following year was the sesquicentennial of Lincoln’s birth, and the Lincoln Group was instrumental in planning the celebration banquet featuring keynote speaker Carl Sandburg. Edward R. Murrow joined us the following year.
By the 1980s, Ed and Joan Chaconas (who seemed to know everyone in Washington), were running the show (Joan would serve as president a second time a dozen years later). They moved what had been luncheon meetings to dinner in the Officers Club at Ft. McNair. Membership jumped! Ed will give us insight into other important people in the Lincoln world, including how Lincoln Group member and Library of Congress expert Percy Powell helped catalog and prepare the Robert Lincoln papers for release to the public 21 years after Robert’s death (quite a crowd of historians showed up at midnight to be part of the opening). Then there was that time that President Ronald Reagan came to the Lincoln’s birthday wreath laying ceremony.
And let’s not forget when Ed and Joan got access to the Oldroyd Collection stored in the “Lincoln Vault” on the second floor of Union Station. Man, that was a treat.
Seriously, this event is not to be missed.
RSVP now for this once in a lifetime event, the first of what we hope will become a recurring Lincoln Group of DC Oral History project. The event will be presented via Zoom beginning at 6 pm, Tuesday, April 5, 2022.