by David J. Kent
Thursday, December 7, 2023
The Lincoln Group of DC had another fantastic year in 2023. There is a reason that we are the most active Lincoln study organization in the United States - we have a great membership!
We again provided a mix of virtual (Zoom) presentations and in-person dinner/luncheon meetings for our members, both local and national. Zoom-based meetings were held in January (Diana Schaub), May (Candice Shy Hooper), June (Assessing Lincoln's role in the Gettysburg and Vicksburg campaigns), and October (The Gettysburg Address at 160, an Evaluation). As great as those were, we outdid ourselves for our in-person meetings. We hosted the phenomenal Jon Meacham in our joint LGDC/CWRTDC Lincoln Birthday Banquet in February. LGDC President David J. Kent was one of the featured speakers at the ALI Symposium held at Ford's Theatre in March. Roger Lowenstein was our guest at Maggiano's for an April talk on financing the Civil War. Marcia Cole joined us in September at Maggiano's in the role of Charlotte Scott, the formerly enslaved woman who originated the funding for the Emancipation Memorial statue in Lincoln Park. At least 30 LGDC members appeared at the Lincoln Forum in November. And December brought us back to Maggiano's to host Terry Alford talking about the Lincolns, the Booths, and the Spirits at our annual holiday luncheon.
But the Lincoln Group is more than about bringing Lincoln experts in for monthly presentations. Many special events occurred during the year, starting on New Year's Day with members attending the national bell ringing event on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. President David J. Kent was busy giving talks and interviews on his new book, collaborating with long-time LGDC friends such as President Lincoln's Cottage, Ford's Theatre, MOLLUS, and ALI, as well as new friends like Lonestar College, Looking for Lincoln, and the Lincoln Society in Peekskill (NY). Members participated in the annual wreath-laying ceremony on Lincoln's birthday at the Lincoln Memorial, attended the Lincoln-Thomas Day events at Fort Stevens in September, and received a behind the scenes tour of Lincoln artifacts at Smithsonian's National Museum of American History. Many LGDC members also attended a special performance of "Lincoln and Douglass: A Walk to Remember" at the Kennedy Center. We also sponsor a monthly Study Forum that meets by Zoom on Saturday mornings to discuss noteworthy books.
And still there was more. Craig Howell offered not one, not two, but three separate tours during the year, taking us from the U.S. Grant statue at the Capitol for Grant's 200th birthday (postponed from 2022 due to a hurricane); a tour of Grant's trials and tribulations in the Wilderness Campaign; and a walking tour in Washington, DC to celebrate key sites related to Juneteenth. Other LGDC activities included developing a PDF library of all the Lincolnian newsletters throughout our modern history, development of a National Endowment for the Humanities grant application to build on our successful Lincoln Memorial Centennial program, and the beginnings of our plans for ensuring that Lincoln's reverence for the Declaration of Independence be included in the 250th anniversary commemoration of our nation's founding (to be held in 2026).
Then there is our support for Ford's Theatre's teacher training programs through our John T. Elliff Scholarship Fund, our support for the annual ALI Symposium at Ford's, and plans to support other educational programs for DC youth. Also, the dinner/luncheon reservation fees don't usually cover the costs of the restaurant, so we also subsidize those events to varying extents.
I'm sure there is much that I'm forgetting - we are a very active group.
All of this is thanks to the active participation and financial support of our membership. It is you, our members, who have made the Lincoln Group of DC great for so many decades. Your attendance at events, your additional donations, and your feedback on what you would like to see all make a difference. We already have a long list of planned programs for 2024 but are always looking for more input. Please feel free to offer ideas to any of the Board members or use the contact form on this website at any time. I'll be sending out a call for matching donations shortly, but you don't have to wait - donations are accepted all year long by clicking on the Donate Button on our website and using PayPal. Or send a check made out to the Lincoln Group of DC to P.O. Box 5676, Washington, DC 20016.
All the best to all our members as you prepare to celebrate the holiday season. Keep checking this website (Lincolnian.org) for the latest updates on programs and news!