SPRINGFIELD – For the 21st time, scholars will gather to share their research into the legacy of the 21st state, offering new insights into the history of Illinois baseball, Abraham Lincoln’s social circle, immigrant experiences and dozens of other topics.
The annual Conference on Illinois History, which takes place Oct. 3-4 at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, also includes special presentations on serial killer H. H. Holmes of “Devil in the White City” fame and on the geographic ties that brought Lincoln together with two of his most trusted aides.
There will also be a tour of the Dana-Thomas Home, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright for suffragist Susan Lawrence Dana. The tour will focus on the home’s connections to the early 20th century fight for women’s right to vote.
“This conference does a wonderful job of making Illinois history accessible to everyone,” said Alan Lowe, executive director of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum. “Whether you’re interested in Civil War battles, baseball, farming or something else, you can learn about it directly from some of the top experts on Illinois.”
The price is $90 to attend both days or $50 for a single day. (The student prices are $45 and $25.) Tthe luncheon sessions at $15 each.
Teachers can earn continuing professional development units by attending the conference. It offers eight sessions designed specifically for teachers, including presentations on Lincoln’s legacy in music, teaching about war and the best way to present history in community colleges.
The Thursday lunch features Adam Selzer, author “H. H. Holmes: The True History of the White City Devil.” Holmes has become one of Illinois’ most infamous villains – but how much of the story is true? Selzer shows how the legend grew and highlights the one man known to have worked with both Holmes and Lincoln.
The speaker at Friday’s lunch session will be Wayne C. Temple, author of such books as “By Square and Compass: The Saga of the Lincoln Home” and “Abraham Lincoln, from Skeptic to Prophet.” He will focus on two Illinois towns and how they helped connect Lincoln to aides John Hay and John Nicolay.
Panels will also discuss:
- A Confederate monument in Chicago
- The role of Illinois regiments in the Civil War
- Baseball in central Illinois
- Illinois’s place in different eras of national politics
- Women’s history, including the first woman to serve in the Illinois Senate.
The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum uses a combination of rigorous scholarship and high-tech showmanship to immerse visitors in Lincoln’s life and times. The library holds an unparalleled collection of Lincoln books, documents, photographs, artifacts and art, as well as some 12 million items pertaining to all aspects of Illinois history.
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