|Two Knox College professors are receiving what is described as the state's highest award for their ongoing work researching the life of Abraham Lincoln.
The State says Rodney Davis and Douglas Wilson are two of a host of recipients of the state's "Order of Lincoln" award, and will receive it formally February 7th.
Davis tells WGIL he wasn't expecting such an award, but feels he's in great company. "My colleague, Doug Wilson and I, we've been placed in a very impressive list of Lincoln scholars. I think there are about 30 of us who are getting this distinction," Davis said."
Davis and Wilson are co-directors of the Lincoln Studies Center on the Knox College campus. Davis tells WGIL some of the names on the list of winners have either spoken at, or have been on the board of directors of, the Lincoln Studies Center. "We've had a pretty remarkable run of Lincoln scholars come through here over the years and speak publicly," Davis said. "We're glad they've all been gathered together and given this distinction all at the same time."
The state says the winners were specially chosen for their Lincoln work with the anniversary of the Lincoln-Douglas debates this year, and the anniversary of Abe's birth next year, and range from a Mary Todd Lincoln biographer to famed artist LeRoy Neiman, who created a portrait of Lincoln in 1969 that's considered a classic.
The full list of winners is:
* Jean Harvey Baker, Mary Todd Lincoln biographer and Bennett-Harwood Professor of History at Goucher College in Baltimore, Maryland.
* Gabor S. Boritt, author and editor of 16 books on Lincoln and the Civil War, and Robert Fluhrer Professor of Civil War Studies and Director of the Civil War Institute at Gettysburg College in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.
* Michael Burlingame, author and editor of books on Lincoln and Sadowski Professor of History Emeritus at Connecticut College.
* Richard J. Carwardine, Lincoln biographer and Rhodes Professor of American History at Oxford University, England.
* Julie Cellini, a driving force behind the creation of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield, Illinois and chair of the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency, which operates all state-owned Lincoln sites.
* Cullom Davis, founding director and senior editor of The Lincoln Legal Papers, and retired professor of history at the University of Illinois at Springfield.
* Eric Foner, author of books on Lincoln and Reconstruction, and DeWitt Clinton Professor of History at Columbia University in New York City.
* Allen C. Guelzo, author of books on Lincoln and the Civil War, and Henry R. Luce Professor of the Civil War Era at Gettysburg College in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.
* Harold Holzer, co-chair of the U.S. Lincoln Bicentennial Commission and author of books on Lincoln and the Civil War.
* Charles M. Hubbard, Lincoln author and director of the Abraham Lincoln Library and Museum at Lincoln Memorial University in Harrogate, Tennessee.
* Ron J. Keller, curator of the Lincoln College Museum and professor of history at Lincoln College in Lincoln, Illinois.
* Philip B. Kunhardt III and Peter W. Kunhardt of Kunhardt Productions, producers of Lincoln documentaries and publishers of books on Abraham Lincoln.
* John W. McClarey, Lincoln sculptor from Decatur, Illinois.
* Edna Greene Medford, author of books on Emancipation and slavery, and professor of history at Howard University in Washington, DC.
* LeRoy Neiman, the artist who created the 1969 portrait of Lincoln considered a modern American classic.
* Don Pollack, Lincoln artist and professor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
* Robert Provost, Jr., founder of the Lincoln Center in Tirana, Albania.
* Bob Rogers of BRC Imagination Arts of Burbank, California, the designer of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum.
* Thomas F. Schwartz, Illinois State Historian, internationally renowned Lincoln expert, and key planner of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum.
* Jack Smith, a major collector of Lincoln prints and photographs whose collection has been used for a major Lincoln exhibit at the Northern Indiana Center for History.
* Rhoda and Lowell Sneller, founders of AbrahamLincolnOnline.org.
* Louise Taper of Beverly Hills, California, renowned Lincoln collector, exhibit organizer, and John Wilkes Booth author and collector.
* Wayne C. Temple, Lincoln author and Chief Deputy Director of the Illinois State Archives in Springfield, Illinois.
* Lily Tolpo, Lincoln sculptor originally from Stockton, Illinois.
* Daniel R. Weinberg, owner of the Abraham Lincoln Book Shop in Chicago and Lincoln author.
* Frank J. Williams, Lincoln author and collector, and Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Rhode Island.
* Douglas L. Wilson and Rodney O. Davis, Lincoln authors and co-founders of the Lincoln Studies Center at Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois.
(List source: State of Illinois)
(Douglas Wilson, displaying the new book he and Davis co-edited: "The Lincoln-Douglas Debates: The Lincoln Studies Center Edition." WGIL News File Photos.)