Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Richard Norton Smith

C-SPAN viewers know him from his regular appearances on “The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer,” but Lincoln scholars recognize him as the first director of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum.

Richard Norton Smith will be appearing at Illinois State University in Bloomington-Normal today at 2 pm to speak about Abraham Lincoln’s legacy.

“Every generation rediscovers Lincoln for itself,” Smith said. However, he does not believe we should put Lincoln “up on some marble pedestals.” As the bicentennial of Lincoln’s birth nears, Smith encourages Americans to wade through the “myths, legends, and criticisms of the man so that a rediscovery is seen through the realities of his time, not ours.”

I want to encourage all my friends at ISU to check out the talk at the Bone Center. As always, I’m sure Richard Norton Smith’s comments about Lincoln will be insightful, but also take the opportunity to ask him about some of his other projects. He truly is a scholar who has written about the American presidency, the life of George Washington, and is currently writing a book on philanthropist Nelson A. Rockefeller. In addition, he has directed official libraries and museums of four other U. S. presidents: Herbert Hoover, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Gerald Ford, and Ronald Regan.

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