Wendy Swanson to Accept Ed Bearss Legacy Award

By David J. Kent

Washington, DC

Thursday, June 9, 2022



Many of our Lincoln Group of DC members are also big Civil War fans, and everyone who ever met him is a big fan of Civil War tour leader Ed Bearss. But Wendy Swanson epitomizes the best of both worlds. On June 15th, the DC Civil War Round Table will honor Wendy with the recently approved inaugural Edwin C. Bearss Legacy Award.


Edwin Cole Bearss spent more than seven decades crusading for historic preservation, expanding interest and education in history, and leading countless tours of battlefields and other sites. He authored more than two dozen books and was a consultant on numerous films and documentaries, including Ken Burns's The Civil War, in which Ed appeared. He was chief historian of the National Park Service from 1981 to 1994 and later named Historian Emeritus. Officially retired, Ed continued to lead tours well into his 90s, passing away in 2020 at the age of 97. Ed was a singular human being and everyone who met him cherished the experience.


To honor him, the DC Civil War Round Table created two awards. The 2022 "Edwin C. Bearss Preservation Award" will be presented to the African American Civil War Museum founded and led by Dr. Frank Smith. Frank was a speaker at our recent Lincoln Memorial Centennial event. The "Edwin C. Bearss Legacy Award" goes to an individual who has contributed in such a way to carry on Ed's amazing legacy. That person in 2022 is our own Wendy Swanson.


As all of us know in the Lincoln Group, Wendy is an excellent person for the inaugural Legacy Award. We all know Wendy as the editor of the Lincolnian newsletter and chief editor of this Lincolnian website blog. But Wendy has also been a huge contributor to the DC Civil War Round Table and Civil War preservation. She hosted annual parties to celebrate Ed Bearss's annual birthdays, with proceeds going to preservation or interpretation of historic sites hand-selected by Ed himself. Over the years, efforts by Wendy and the "Bearss Brigade" collected over $250,000 to support such activities.


Both awards will be presented via Zoom on the evening of June 15, 2022. Immediately after the awards, another Lincoln Group of DC member (and CWRTDC member), Carl Adams, will give a presentation on "March to Juneteenth." Carl has been instrumental in researching the life of Nance, the first African American ever freed by Abraham Lincoln. Carl's talk will cover his in-depth research into the more than 20,000 United States Colored Troops from regiments comprised of men from all over the country who were sent to Texas at the close of the Civil War to enforce the Emancipation Proclamation. Carl's research helped support the bi-partisan recognition of the event as a federal holiday.


For more information about the Ed Bearss Awards and the Carl Adams presentation, please go to the DC Civil War Round Table page at https://cwrtdc-calendar.blogspot.com/