Dan Bassuk was responsible in 1990 for inaugurating the group. He wrote, “During the previous decade, while studying Lincoln, I came to know several people who impersonated the Lincolns. On a trip to Hildene, Robert Todd Lincoln’s mansion in Vermont, I met Abraham and Mary in the flesh, also known as Robert and Janet Taylor. Finally, I decided to “Link the Lincolns”, and announced the formation of a new Lincoln group in the Lincoln Herald with the motto “Now He Belongs to the Stages”. Jim Hitchcock of Florida was the first Abe to join. What began with a score of Abe’s and three Mary Todd’s, grew to more than 4 score and 7, and Stan Wernz became our 100th Abe in 1997.”
In 1991 Bruce Hanks of Minnesota and Ed Francisco of New Jersey joined Bassuk for a presidential gathering. A photograph of “the three Abes” made the front page of the premiere edition of LINCARNATIONS, our newsletter. It has been exciting to join other Abe Lincolns for talks at historical societies and Civil War Round Tables, and perform with Mary Lincolns in costume.
The famous Lincoln-Douglas debates were reenacted in seven Illinois cities, and shown on C-SPAN in 1994. Six ALP members were chosen to debate, and twenty videotapes recorded these events, which were made available to the ALP as well as educational institutions across the country.
By 1995 the ALP had 76 Abes and 22 Marys, and through the wise urging of Jim Sayre, our first convention was held in Lexington, Kentucky with 34 Abe’s attending. Conventions in Springfield, Illinois (1996); Gettysburg, Pennsylvania (1997); Charleston, Illinois (1998); Burbank, California (1999); Hodgenville, Kentucky (2000); Beckley, West Virginia (2001); Fort Wayne, Indiana (2002); Lincoln City, Indiana (2003); Vandalia, Illinois (2004); Detroit, Michigan (2005), Cincinnati, Ohio, Mt. Pleasant, Iowa, and Alton, Illinois followed, as more and more Lincolns wanted to learn from one another and renew friendships.
Twenty-four Lincolns have received awards for their noteworthy Lincoln work, and seven Lincolns have written books about the 16th President. The ALP has been featured in Americana (1992), Reenactor’s Journal (1994), Lincoln Herald (1994), Lincoln Lore (1997), The Rail Splitter (1997) American Heritage (1999), People Magazine (2000), and Time Magazine (2005).as well as numerous books. Our members have been placed in movies, plays, TV, national public radio, parades, schools and colleges. During these ten years, John Wilkes Booth has dared to make only one appearance, assassinating President McClerren during a performance of “Our American Cousin.”
The Association of Lincoln Presenters, a not for profit organization, is incorporated under the laws of the State of Delaware. The group has tax-exempt status under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. The ALP is also classified as a public charity under sections 509(a)(1) and 170(b)(1)(A)(vi) of the Internal Revenue Code. Contributions to the group are deductible under section 170 of the Code, and the ALP is qualified to receive tax deductible bequests, devises, transfers and gifts under section 2055, 2106 or 2522 of the Internal Revenue Code.