Lincoln scholar and author Stephen Berry, described as a “rising star” among historians, will speak at three area colleges March 6-8. All three of his talks are free and open to the public.
On March 6, Berry will speak on “President Lincoln’s Private War: Mary Todd Lincoln and Her Siblings” at Monmouth College at 6:30 p.m. at Wells Theater. On March 7, he will give a lecture titled “Abraham Lincoln’s Cooper Union Address and the Future of American Slavery” at Western Illinois University at 5 p.m. in Room 307 of Morgan Hall. He will conclude his three-day tour on March 8 at Knox College with a 4 p.m. talk in the Alumni Room at Old Main. The title of his talk there will be “Divided We Fall: Lincoln, the Todd Family and the Civil War.”
The Gregory Professor of the Civil War Era at the University of Georgia, Berry is the author of “House of Abraham: Lincoln and the Todds, a Family Divided by War” (2008).
“Until now, there has never been a single book that traces the story of one family ravaged by (the Civil War),” wrote one reviewer. “And no family could better illustrate the personal toll the war took than Lincoln’s own.”
Mary Todd Lincoln was one of 14 siblings who were split between the Confederacy and the Union. Three of her brothers fought, and two died, for the South.
“Award-winning historian Stephen Berry tells their family saga with the narrative intricacy and emotional intensity of a novelist,” continued the reviewer. “The Todds’ struggles haunted the president and moved him to avoid tactics or rhetoric that would dehumanize or scapegoat the Confederates. … With brio and rigor, Berry fills a gap in Civil War history, showing how the war changed one family and how that family changed the course of the war.”
Berry is a Distinguished Lecturer for the Organization of American Historians, a past Fellow of the National Endowment for the Humanities and a recent winner of a University of Georgia Teaching Award. He is currently working on a biography of Edgar Allen Poe.
Berry received his undergraduate degree in history from Rollins College and his Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina.