2018 ALP Conference - Freeport, Illinois

The Association of Lincoln Presenters

The Association of Lincoln Presenters
2018 ALP Conference
April 19-22, 2018
Freeport, IL

2018 ALP Conference Review


Freeport, IL, was pleased to host the 2018 Annual Conference for the Association of Lincoln Presenters. The Conference officially began Thursday, April 19th, with a special theatrical presentation hosted by Winneshiek Players, the local community theatre. Many thanks to the ALP members (Max Daniels, Donna Daniels, RJ Lindsey, Laura Keyes, Leslie Goddard, and George Buss) who donated their time for “Lincoln in Conversation,” which saw Presidents Lincoln and Roosevelt debate who was the better wartime president, First Ladies Mary Lincoln and Jackie Kennedy discuss their many differences and similarities, and Stephen Douglas and Abraham Lincoln revisit their famous Freeport Debate. With their help, the ALP raised over $650 towards the costs of the Annual Conference.

ALP Members were joined this year by many non-members who registered for the conference as well. 88 people officially registered for the conference. Of the 88, 48 were ALP members, and 40 non-members. Regardless of membership, we saw quite the range of people from history that weekend. Some of the people who were portrayed were: Abraham Lincoln, Mary Lincoln, Franklin Roosevelt, Jackie Kennedy, Gen. Grant, Mrs. Grant, Robert Lincoln, Gen. Garfield, and Jefferson Davis. We also had guest speakers portray Gen Thomas, Julia Dent Grant, Frederick Douglass, and Cordelia Harvey. The 88 attendees represented 14 states: California, Georgia, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Ohio, Tennessee, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

Conference attendees enjoyed mini tours of Freeport, where they heard detailed descriptions about the Lincoln-Douglas Debate site, the “Lincoln the Debater” statue donated to the city in 1929, and the Stephenson County Civil War Monument, dedicated in 1869 and restored and rededicated in 2016. Conference attendees also toured the Stephenson County Historical Museum, learned more about Freeport’s history, both before and after Mr. Lincoln’s famous visit in 1858, and also saw some rare Lincoln items. Museum staff set out a number of artifacts from the Lincoln-Douglas Debates, as well as the second known photograph of Sarah Bush Johnston Lincoln.

On Saturday, conference attendees had a low-key day, without all the traveling we accomplished on Friday. Five different lectures were arranged for conference attendees to learn more about the Lincoln Family and the Civil War in general. We learned about Captain Ira Ford’s capture and daring escape; Frederick Douglass’ experiences in Freeport, IL; how and why Cordelia Harvey convinced President Lincoln to create hospitals only for veterans; songs the Lincoln Family would have heard and enjoyed; and how Abraham Lincoln worked with immigrants, both before and during his presidency.

Saturday evening saw almost everyone enjoying good food, great music, and wonderful dancing at the Freeport Club. Many ALP members, and plenty of local folks (43 of them), mixed and mingled while listening to music from Frogwater, learning about dancing from John & Elaine Masciale, and hearing the stories from The Galena Generals, who traveled to Freeport for the evening. Many thanks to those who donated items to the silent auction, and to those who purchased items! The volunteers organizing the silent auction were overwhelmed with donations, a wonderful problem to have. The silent auction raised over $800 towards the costs of the Annual Conference.

On Sunday, a smaller group of attendees traveled to Galena, IL, for a variety of activities to learn more about Gen. Grant’s connection with Galena, as well as Abraham Lincoln’s visit to Galena in 1856. Many of these activities were in connection with that weekend’s General Grant Birthday celebration, hosted by the Galena-Jo Daviess County Historical Society.

If you didn’t attend the conference this year, you missed out on a lot of fun, frivolity, great information, old friends, and new folks. A collection of photos is available from our official photographer, Mary Armstrong. She can be contacted at graceanhope@yahoo.com. Many photos, as well as news articles & videos, will be posted on the ALP Facebook page, www.facebook.com/LincolnPresenters. If you did attend the conference this year, please share your photos on the ALP Facebook page, or contact the Conference Hostess, Laura Keyes, at Keyes97@aol.com.