75th Anniversary Convention Medal

Education Director Column

Fall 2014

What follows is a sneak preview of our 2015 Civil War Forum, which will be a highlight of next year's convention in Schaumburg, IL. This will be the fourth forum in a series that began in 2012 as a commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War. True to form, the 2015 forum will follow the same format as previous forums.

Dates - Friday and Saturday, April 24 and 25

Times - Beginning at 10 a.m. and ending around 3 to 5 p.m. each day. Both days open to the public, with no admission charge.

Location - Nirvana Ballroom C on the second floor of the convention center

Our 2015 forum features some old friends and some new ones, as well. Dennis Boggs returns from his home in Nashville, TN, to portray President Abraham Lincoln. At the 10 a.m. session on Friday, April 24, Boggs will give his famous Meet Mr. Lincoln presentation, which is an enlightening, informative and educational look at the life of our 16th president as it might have been told by Lincoln himself, starting with his birth in the wilderness of Kentucky, to his boyhood in Indiana, to his growth and political career in Illinois and then finally to his presidential years during the Civil War.

Boggs will end our forum on Saturday at 1 p.m. with a presentation titled 1865 - Peace At Last. After four years of bloody fighting and with the loss of nearly 700,000 lives, Lincoln is beginning to see that the war is coming to an end. His thoughts are not those of a conquering hero who wants to punish the vanquished South and reap the spoils of war, but are more like those of the father of the prodigal son who celebrated the return of one who was lost.

The second speaker on Friday at 11:30 a.m. will be Robert Girardi who is returning from last year's forum.

A career detective with the Chicago Police Department, Girardi earned his BA in history and business administration from Dominican University and his MA in public history from Loyola University Chicago.

He is past president of the Chicago Civil War Roundtable and recipient of its prestigious Nevins-Freeman Award for the advancement of Civil War scholarship. His Friday talk will be an overview of Illinois in the Civil War.

Girardi will also give the Saturday 11:30 a.m. presentation, when his topic will be The Murder of General "Bull" Nelson. Girardi is author of the 2013 book, The Civil War Generals.

The third speaker on Friday, April 24, will be Dr. Ted Karamanski, public history graduate director at Loyola University Chicago, the first such program in the Midwest and first to offer a Ph.D. in public history. He will give a talk Chicago in the Civil War. He has taught at Loyola Chicago for many years and specializes in courses in American history. Professor Karamanski just co-authored the book Civil War Chicago: Eyewitness to History with Eileen McMahon.

The fourth presentation on Friday will be musical in nature. The Battlefield Balladeers will perform the songs and music of the American Civil War. Their repertoire consists of the patriotic, sentimental and comic songs of the period, along with minstrel songs and the melodies of Stephen Foster. Their unamplified, acoustic instruments are played by personnel in museum-quality uniforms. They will bring to life the sounds of the Blue and Gray for all ages.

The fifth and final presentation on Friday will be given by Lawrence Schuffman, adjunct professor of finance at Montclair State University in New Jersey. Schuffman is a financial planner with the company Summit Financial Resources. He will be talking about the Confederate commerce raiders, the CSS Florida, CSS Shenandoah and CSS Alabama, which destroyed 68 Union merchant ships. The lesser-known facts about Great Britain's role in funding these ships and the post-war consequences will be explored by Schuffman.

The Saturday session of the Civil War Forum begins at 10 a.m. and features Daniel Weinberg, president and owner of the Abraham Lincoln Book Shop in downtown Chicago. Weinberg will give his audience a close-up look at Current Lincoln Literature. His undergraduate work in history was pursued at Temple University and graduate work, also in history, at New York University. The bookstore, founded in 1938, is internationally known for its expertise in the buying, selling, appraisal and authentification of historical literary, artistic and museum properties since 1938.

Girardi and Boggs round out the Saturday presentations as detailed above.

Take some time out of your numismatic adventures at our CSNS convention and learn more about the American Civil War. You will find your time well spent.

Ray Lockwood
Education Director