Friday, January 11, 2019

Dan Abrams is featured speaker at annual Abraham Lincoln Symposium Banquet on February 12

Dan Abrams is featured speaker at annual Abraham Lincoln Symposium Banquet on February 12, Metamora Herald

February 11 – 12 Lincoln Symposium to feature Lincoln as a political party leader, legislator, and the race by journalists to cover his assassination

SPRINGFIELD – Dan Abrams, ABC News' chief legal affairs anchor, the host of the A&E Network show Live P.D. and the author of a best-selling book on Abraham Lincoln's last murder case as a lawyer, will be the featured speaker at the annual Abraham Lincoln Association Symposium Banquet on Tuesday, February 12 in Springfield. Four renowned Lincoln authors and historians will highlight the Abraham Lincoln Symposium February 11 – 12, which will feature discussions on Lincoln as a political party leader, his time in the Illinois legislature, his thoughts about death, and the race to photograph events following Lincoln's assassination.

Dan Abrams will discuss his New York Times best-selling book Lincoln’s Last Trial: The Murder Case That Propelled Him to the Presidency. The book examines the 1859 trial of Peachy Quinn Harrison, the son of a close Lincoln friend and political supporter, who was accused of murdering Greek Crafton, whom Lincoln had mentored and trained for a law career in his Springfield office. Lincoln had recently risen to national prominence a year earlier during his U.S. Senate campaign debates with Stephen A. Douglas and because of that the eyes of the nation were focused on this Springfield murder trial. Lincoln won an acquittal for Harrison, and one year later would be elected President of the United States.

Dan Abrams' father, the renowned First Amendment attorney Floyd Abrams, will receive the Lincoln the Lawyer Award during the February 12 Symposium Banquet. Floyd Abrams has argued numerous cases before the U.S. Supreme Court, primarily on freedom of expression issues. In 2011 Yale Law School founded the Floyd Abrams Institute for Freedom of Expression in his honor to promote free speech, scholarship and law reform on traditional and new media freedoms.

The Symposium Banquet, held to observe the 210th birthday of Abraham Lincoln, will be held at the President Abraham Lincoln Hotel in downtown Springfield. A reception starts at 6 p.m. followed by dinner at 7 p.m. Tickets are $55 each and can be obtained online at or by calling (217) 546-2656 (217-LINCOLN).

The banquet is one of many activities scheduled each year to commemorate Lincoln's birthday. The annual Abraham Lincoln Association-Benjamin Thomas Symposium begins Monday, February 11 at 6 p.m. in the Old State Capitol Hall of Representatives with a free presentation by Brian Dirck, history professor at Anderson University and author of the forthcoming The Black Heavens: Abraham Lincoln and Death. Dirck's Symposium presentation will be “Last Full Measure: Lincoln and the Battlefield Dead.”

The Symposium resumes at 11 a.m. Tuesday, February 12 at the Old State Capitol where Ron Keller, professor of history and political science and the managing director of the Abraham Lincoln Center for Character Development at Lincoln College, will discuss his forthcoming book, Lincoln in the Illinois Legislature. He will be joined by Dickinson College history professor Matthew Pinsker, author of Lincoln’s Sanctuary: Abraham Lincoln and the Soldiers’ Home, who will discuss his next book in a talk entitled, "Boss Lincoln: New Insights on a Party Leader." The Tuesday morning session is free and open to the public.

The Thomas F. Schwartz Symposium luncheon, which begins at 1 p.m. on Tuesday, February 12 at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library, features journalist and author Nicholas J.C. Pistor, who will discuss his recent book, Shooting Lincoln: Mathew Brady, Alexander Gardner, and the Race to Photograph the Story of the CenturyThe luncheon is $30 per person and reservations can be made at or by calling (217) 546-2656 (217-LINCOLN).

A roundtable discussion featuring all four Symposium speakers will begin at 2:30 p.m. at the Presidential Library followed by book signing.

The Abraham Lincoln Association Symposium is co-sponsored by the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, the University of Illinois Springfield, and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. For more information about the Abraham Lincoln Association, visit

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