Programs & Events

The Friends of the Lincoln Collection regularly sponsors programs and writing contests, as well as special awards for significant contributions toward “celebrating the legacy and extending the wisdom of Abraham Lincoln” – which is our mission.

On Display Now

Lincoln Financial Foundation Collection items on display now at the Allen County Public Library (900 Library Plaza, Fort Wayne, IN) in the Fine Book Room Vault are listed here.

Lincoln Financial Foundation Collection items on display now at the Indiana State Museum and Historic Sites (650 W Washington St., Indianapolis, IN) are linked here.

Lecture Series

The Center’s two core programs are lectures by nationally recognized Lincoln historians as well as scholars in the Fort Wayne area during the spring and fall of each year.

The Rolland Lecture

The Rolland Lecture was established in honor of Ian and Mimi Rolland in 2012. It is an annual event which, like the McMurtry Lecture, seeks to bring significant Lincoln experts and scholars to speak at the Allen County Public Library.

Next Rolland Lecture

Abraham Lincoln and Franklin Roosevelt: A Conversation on Presidential Leadership

Presented by Harold Holzer and Craig Symonds

May 16, 2019
7 p.m.
Allen County Public Library, Main Theater

Both Lincoln and FDR faced and overcame nation-threatening crises during their presidencies—yet approached their leadership challenges from completely different life and educational experiences.  One of them—Roosevelt—at least had the opportunity to study and learn from Lincoln; the other used George Washington as his model.  How did each leader deal with Congress—the military—the media—a restless electorate—as well as mortal threats to the very survival of this country?  Harold Holzer, an award-winning Lincoln scholar who now heads the Roosevelt House Public Policy institute in New York (in Franklin and Eleanor’s own surviving town house), and Craig Symonds, an award-winning Civil War historian who now specializes in World War II military history, are uniquely qualified to bring their combined perspectives to the most defining historical questions of all: What is leadership?  What makes—or breaks—a leader?

Most Recent Rolland Lecture

May 15, 2018, Allen County Public Library, 7:00 p.m.
“Searching for the Exact Location of America’s Soul: An Artist’s Pursuit”
by Wendy Allen
View online

The McMurtry Lecture

The R. Gerald McMurtry Lecture was established in 1978 to honor Dr. R. Gerald McMurtry, the second director of the Louis A. Warren Lincoln Library and Museum, now the Lincoln Financial Foundation Collection. Each year a distinguished Lincoln scholar is invited to Fort Wayne to present a paper on some aspect of the life of Abraham Lincoln. There have been thirty-seven McMurtry Lectures—one each year except for 1993, 1994, and 2009. The 2010 and 2011 lectures were held at both the Indiana State Museum & Historic Sites and the Allen County Public Library. Since 2012, the lecture has been held solely at the Allen County Public Library in Fort Wayne, IN.

Next McMurtry Lecture

Lincoln and April 1865: The Month that Saved America

Presented by Jay Winik
September 16, 2019
7 p.m.
Allen County Public Library, Main Theater

Most Recent McMurtry Lecture

September 11, 2018, Allen County Public Library, 7:00 p.m.
“A New Vision for America: Re-thinking Ulysses S. Grant”
by Ronald C. White, Jr.

Former Rolland and McMurtry Lectures


In addition to its two lecture series, from time to time the Friends organization presents panel discussions and symposia, featuring multiple participants and active audience interaction.

The upcoming panel is titled “The Measure of Character in Leadership: Has it Changed Since Lincoln’s Time?” and will be held on Thursday, October 25, 2018, 7 pm at the Allen County Public Library’s theater. The panelists include Paul Helmke, Jo Young Switzer, Susan Collins, and will be moderated by Andy Downs.

The most recent panel was November 17, 2017, and was entitled “The Emergence of Lincoln: Because of, or In Spite of, His Hoosier Roots?” The panelists were William E. Bartelt, Dr. Brian Dirck, and Dr. Nicole Etcheson (view online here).

Contests and Awards

Please check this space regularly for news of essay contests, achievement awards, and special celebrations of those who celebrate the legacy and extend the wisdom of Abraham Lincoln.

Our current essay contest for high school students in Allen County, Indiana can be found here.