March General Meeting, 2010
EHS President Robert Remer opened the meeting with a review of the successes of the Edgewater Historical Society in the past year. After a membership report from Elizabeth Mayian and a brief financial report from Leroy Blommaert, the Board Development chair, Reggie Griffin announced the nominations for the new board of directors for 2010. Four new board members were nominated and elected. They are: Al Borenstine, Dorothy Nygren, Will Rye and Barbara Strauss. We welcome them with our thanks.
Our featured speaker at the 22nd annual meeting of the Edgewater Historical Society was Gary Johnson, President of the Chicago History Museum. His talk about Abraham Lincoln and his relationship to Chicago focused on Lincoln’s reading material and his political activities. Mr. Johnson was an animated speaker as he reported to us that Lincoln had very little formal education and that this made his reading material very important. His first book was the King James Bible. Beyond that he had a book that reprinted a variety of stories form a variety of authors. But perhaps the most significant thing in his early years was when his father married Nancy Hicks who had been a teacher, and she came with a trunk full of books. This greatly expanded his access to ideas in print.
As Mr. Johnson evoked a picture of Lincoln traveling the circuit on horseback for his legal work he reported on the books Lincoln carried in his saddle bag.
Once Lincoln expanded his career to politics he was a frequent visitor to Chicago. In 1860 he was nominated to the Presidency in Chicago, though he was not present at the convention and prior to the nomination had never met his running mate. Mr. Johnson’s reports gave all in the audience pause to think about how different life and politics was in the 1860s.
The meeting also featured a speaker from the Census Bureau who encouraged all to spread the word about how important the census data is for getting funds to our communities. The meeting was closed and refreshments were served.