Friday, February 12, 2010

Burlingame invested as Distinguished Chair in Lincoln Studies

Professor Michael Burlingame lives downtown by the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum and Library, goes to a coffee shop near the Lincoln-Herndon Law Offices and banks at Lincoln’s bank.

Residing in Springfield is the perfect setting for a Lincoln scholar.

On Thursday evening, February 11, Burlingame became the second Chancellor Naomi B. Lynn Distinguished Chair in Lincoln Studies for UIS during an investiture ceremony in the Old State Capitol downtown.

“I am deeply honored to be invited to hold the Chancellor Naomi B. Lynn Distinguished Chair in Lincoln Studies and hope to live up to the high standards set by my predecessor in that position, my late friend Phillip Paludan,” Burlingame said.

The Lincoln Chair was established in 2000 when the Dr. Richard E. Vaden Family donated a gift for that purpose to honor their long-time friendship with then-UIS Chancellor Naomi Lynn.

During the ceremony, Burlingame was invested with a gold medallion, the symbol of the Lincoln Chair. The medallion was presented in part from Springfield attorney Richard Hart, who is the president of the Abraham Lincoln Association and a long-time friend of Burlingame. Val Vaden, managing partner of Outfitter Ventures and representative of the Vaden Family, also spoke at the investiture.

Burlingame was a professor at Connecticut College for 30 years and taught courses on Abraham Lincoln, the Civil War era, and 19th century American history. He recently released a two-volume biography of Lincoln, Abraham Lincoln: A Life (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2008). The biography was named one of the top five books published in 2009 by the Atlantic Monthly.

“I am delighted to be based in Springfield, not only because I can teach courses about Lincoln at sites where he spent time and can conduct research at the splendid Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library, but also because I have so many good friends in town who have been exceptionally kind and hospitable to me over the many years I have been visiting the city as I worked on Abraham Lincoln: A Life," Burlingame said.

Burlingame is well-known as a psychohistorian. His view that history is “psychology teaching by examples” informs his writings and his teaching.

The distinguished Lincoln Chair was first occupied by Phillip Shaw Paludan, who served from August 2001 until his death in August 2007. Burlingame said he intends to continue UIS’ fall Lincoln Legacy Lecture Series, which was started by Paludan.

View video of the investiture.

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