ALPM Read-a-Thon Ceremony at Lincoln’s Tomb in Springfield, IL


Illinois First Lady MK Pritzker is among special guests who will read children’s stories at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum as part of Lincoln’s 213th birthday celebration on Saturday.

The ALPLM and Lincoln Library, Springfield’s public library, are teaming up for the Lincolns4Lincoln Read-a-Thon and Book Drive to benefit Compass for Kids.

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The museum will offer free admission on Saturday. No reservation is necessary.

A long-running pilgrimage and wreath-laying ceremony by members of the American Legion Springfield Post 32 to Lincoln’s Tomb in Oak Ridge Cemetery will continue at 10:30 a.m. Saturday.

The Illinois VFW Department will gather at Lincoln’s Tomb to honor the winners of the annual Voice of Democracy audio essay program at 3 p.m. Saturday.

The Lincoln Day symposium and banquet has been postponed to June 21 due to concerns over rising COVID-19 cases.

Joe Crain, director of programming at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, waves Springfield Mayor Jim Langfelder as he arrives for a ceremony to celebrate the 16th anniversary of the ALPLM in Springfield, Illinois, Monday, April 19, 2021.


Attendees of the ALPLM event can donate new books that will go to the Compass for Kids after-school program.

Compass for Kids serves low-income and at-risk elementary students in Springfield School District 186.

Book donations can be dropped off at ALPLM (212 N. Sixth St.), Lincoln Library (326 S. Seventh St.) and Barnes & Noble (3111 S. Veterans Pkwy.) Barnes & Noble also offers a selection of children’s books. books chosen by Compass for Kids for customers to purchase, or they can donate Barnes & Noble gift cards by visiting

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MK Pritzker will read “Dragons Love Tacos” during the read-a-thon, which takes place in the ALPLM café space and online via the museum’s Facebook page or YouTube page from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Other guests scheduled to read are State Sen. Doris Turner, D-Springfield (“I Believe I Can”); ALPLM Programming Director Joe Crain (“Cloudy with a chance of meatballs”); WICS-TV anchor Stacey Skrysak (“Thanks, Omu!”) and NPR Illinois “Community Voices” editor Beatrice Bonner (“Wolfie the Bunny”).

Illinois State Sen. Doris Turner, D-Springfield, talks about her family growing up in Texas as she delivers her remarks during a bill signing marking June 19 an official holiday in Illinois at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library in Springfield, Illinois, Wednesday, June 16, 2021.

According to “The Annotated Lincoln”, Lincoln was “a voracious reader”, devouring books belonging to his mother-in-law, Sarah Bush (Johnston) Lincoln, and books from neighbors. These titles included Aesop’s Fables, John Bunyan’s “Pilgrim’s Progress” and Daniel Defoe’s “Robinson Crusoe”.

The museum’s Treasures Gallery will feature two Lincoln assassination relics at Ford’s Theater in Washington, DC on April 14, 1865, ALPLM spokesman Chris Wills said.

One is a piece of cloth from a piece of cloth that was wrapped around Lincoln’s head to soak up blood after he was shot in theater by John Wilkes Booth. Another display is the hair cut from the area directly around the gunshot wound to Lincoln’s head.

Lt. Col. Loyd Wheaton received the Congressional Medal of Honor for his role in the Battle of Fort Blakeley, part of the Mobile Campaign towards the end of the Civil War.  Wheaton, a Michigan native, joined the Union Army in Peoria, Illinois.  The Presidential Abraham Lincoln Museum will display his Medal of Honor in its Treasure Gallery.

The relics, Wills said, are believed to be from William T. “Willie” Clark, who rented the room in the Petersen home, where Lincoln was taken after he was shot and where he died the following day.

Clark, a clerk in the Adjutant General’s office, had gone out that night and did not return until a day after Lincoln’s death.

“These are from him, so they have a good provenance,” Wills said.

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A letter from Mary Todd Lincoln to Abraham Lincoln dated May 1848 will be on display, Wills said.

Lincoln was a congressman from Illinois in Washington, DC and Mary Todd Lincoln lived with their children, Robert Todd and Edward “Eddie” Baker, at her father’s house in Lexington, Kentucky.

The letter, Wills said, talks about household items and Lincoln’s affection for animals, especially kittens.

Sojourner Truth was an abolitionist and women's rights activist.  Frederick Douglass was a national leader of the abolitionist movement.  Wax figures of them are on display at the National Great Blacks in Wax Museum in Baltimore.

Also on display will be the first editions of the memoirs of abolitionists Frederick Douglass and Sojourner Truth and a Congressional Medal of Honor awarded to Lt. Col. Loyd Wheaton of the 8th Illinois Infantry.

Wheaton, who joined the Union Army at Peoria, fought in the Battles of Shiloh and Vicksburg, but was awarded the medal for his role in the Battle of Fort Blakeley, part of the Mobile Campaign, Alabama at the end of the civil war.

Public historian Samuel Wheeler will deliver a lecture,

Lincoln Land Community College

A lecture will focus on Lincoln’s relationship with his father, Thomas Lincoln, at the Trutter Center on the campus of Lincoln Land Community College at 9 a.m. Friday.

Samuel Wheeler, whose work specializes in Illinois, Lincoln, and Civil War history, will present.

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Wheeler, an LLCC graduate, is director of history programs at the Illinois Supreme Court Historic Preservation Commission in Springfield. He’s a former state historian.

The conference is free, but registration is required at or by calling 217-786-2577. Individuals can also attend via Zoom at

Springfield's Pam Brown will play Mary Todd Lincoln in

Pam Brown as Mary Todd Lincoln

Springfield’s Pam Brown will portray Mary Todd Lincoln in the “Now and Forever” program at the Vandalia Statehouse State Historic Site at 2 p.m. Saturday.

The play about the Lincolns’ relationship was written by the late Jacksonville playwright Ken Bradbury.

The Vandalia Statehouse, 315 W. Gallatin St., served as the Illinois capitol building from 1836 to 1839 before moving to Springfield.

The event is free and is sponsored by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources and the Vandalia Historical Society.

For more information, call 618-283-1161 or visit the Vandalia Statehouse State Historic Site on Facebook.

Maj. Gen. Richard Neely, center, the adjutant general of the Illinois Army National Guard, visits with members of the American Legion outside Lincoln's tomb for the 212th anniversary of Lincoln's birthday before the wreath laying ceremony for the 87th Annual American National Legion Pilgrimage to Lincoln's Tomb at Oak Ridge Cemetery in Springfield, Illinois on Friday, February 12, 2021. The wreath laying ceremony was initiated by the American Legion Springfield Post 32 and has been a major post activity since 1935.

Wreath laying

The American Legion’s pilgrimage to Lincoln’s grave at Oak Ridge Cemetery is the longest commemoration of Lincoln’s birthday in the United States.

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Among those attending the wreath laying are American Legion National Commander Paul E. Dillard; Kathy Daudistel, National President of the American Legion Auxiliary, and Michael Fox, National Commander of the Sons of the American Legion.

The ceremony takes place Saturday at 10:30 a.m.

The VFW Department of Illinois program in the grave is at 3 p.m. Saturday.

The Voice of Democracy winner and the top three winners of the Patriot’s Pen essay (for middle school students) are invited to the program.

Pulitzer Prize-winning author Jon Meacham speaks about historic shifts in politics during the Mississippi Book Festival in Jackson, Mississippi, Saturday, Aug. 18, 2018. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

Lincoln Banquet postponed

The Lincoln Day banquet with Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Jon Meacham has been rescheduled for June 21.

The Abraham Lincoln Association hosts the Banquet, the Benjamin P. Thomas Symposium, and the Thomas F. Schwartz Luncheon. These events have also been moved to June 21.

The symposium attracts some of the best scholars in the field of Lincoln Studies.

Meacham, who won the 2009 Pulitzer Prize for Biography or Autobiography for “American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House,” will remain the banquet speaker.

Meacham was the keynote speaker in 2007.

For updates and reservations, visit

Contact Steven Spearie: 217-622-1788, [email protected],


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