LESLIE MORTIMER, the Adult Services Manager at the Patten Free Library, in the Sagadahoc History & Genealogy Room on the second floor of the library.

LESLIE MORTIMER, the Adult Services Manager at the Patten Free Library, in the Sagadahoc History & Genealogy Room on the second floor of the library.


Marking the 150th anniversary of the American Civil War, the Patten Free Library in Bath will host a lecture titled “Lincoln — Evolution of a President” on Wednesday, Feb. 25. The public event will take place at 6:30 p.m.

Presenter Erin Bishop, who serves as director of the Association of Maine Archives and Museums, has more than 15 years of experience in Museum Education, and was director of education for the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield, Illinois, for almost five years.

Her presentation will “explore Lincoln, the man and the myth. From humble beginnings to the national stage, Lincoln’s views on slavery, race and how best to preserve the union were constantly evolving,” according to the library’s website. “Through primary documents and thought-provoking activities, participants will discover how his early years as a laborer and a lawyer in frontier America, and the relationships he formed there, shaped his policies in Washington and prepared him to lead a nation through its darkest hours.”

Bishop said her presentations are inspired by her work in Springfield.

According to Bishop, the museum oversaw about 1,000 school tours a day. Because the museum is self-guided, she would prepare information packets for teachers and students, along with larger lesson plans teachers could use when they returned to the classroom.

Through primary documents, political cartoons, photographs and other images, Bishop’s workshops showed teachers how to make the story of Lincoln engaging for fourth graders to seniors in high school. She uses a similar approach in her presentations.

“We look at some of his letters, get audience input, and look at different quotes,” she said.

The final culminating activity is usually a joint reading of the Gettysburg address. She said it’s chilling, but ends the presentation on a hopeful note.

Bishop presents about three or four times a year around the state, but hopes to do more in the future.

When asked about her fascination with Lincoln, Bishop said, “It’s how he essentially came from nothing. He grew up in an extraordinary time. The world he came of age in was ripe.”

“I would probably would put him as one of the top 10 figures of all time,” she added. “It was all his own drive that propelled him forward.”

Leslie Mortimer, the Adult Services Manager at the Patten Free Library, got in touch with Bishop in January after hearing about her through a librarian at the Wells Public Library.

“People are always interested in Lincoln,” Moertimer said. “You can’t learn enough about him.”

When Bishop proposed three or four possible topics on Lincoln for the presentation, Mortimer said she chose this particular subject because it sounded the most intriguing to her.

“The title appealed to me because it was more about him,” she said. “ It was more about his personal life and how he evolved, and how his points of view changed.”

This lecture is just one of many engaging events Mortimer organizes for the library.

“ Usually there’s something going on at least one night a week. We typically run a film series for a better part of the year,” she said. “I’ve done live music concerts, have authors come in, and lectures. I’m pretty open and I try to mix it up so there are a variety of things.”

Comments are not available on this story.

filed under: