will focus on Elijah P. Lovejoy, the Illinois abolitionist,
Presbyterian minister and newspaper editor who was murdered by a
pro-slavery mob in Alton in 1837.
Wheeler, who joined the Lincoln Presidential Library in Springfield
in 2013, was named Illinois State Historian in 2016. He holds a
Ph.D. in history from Southern Illinois University. He specializes
in the history of Illinois, the Civil War era and the life and
legacy of Abraham Lincoln.
The lecture is scheduled for Nov. 3, beginning at 6:30 p.m. and is
free and open to the public. It will be held in the Lincoln Center
on the Lincoln College Campus, which houses the Lincoln Heritage
“We are very pleased to cap off this year’s lecture series with Dr.
Wheeler. This should be a fascinating talk and it is especially
significant since it will be delivered just a few days before the
180th anniversary of Elijah Lovejoy’s murder,” Tom McLaughlin,
Director of the Lincoln Heritage Museum, said.
“Lovejoy was an incredible figure, both as an abolitionist and as a
courageous newspaper editor. His death shocked the nation and made a
significant impact on the young Abraham Lincoln,” said Wheeler.
“It’s an honor to discuss him at the Lincoln Heritage Museum.”
the publisher of the Alton Observer, was murdered on Nov. 7, 1837,
when a mob attacked a warehouse where his printing press was stored.
He was shot when he confronted the crowd outside the warehouse.
Lovejoy was considered a martyr by the abolition movement and his
reputation grew after his brothers Owen and Joseph wrote a memoir
about Elijah, that was published by the New York Anti-Slavery
Society in 1838.
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Abraham Lincoln referenced the murder of Lovejoy in his address
to the Young Men’s Lyceum of Springfield in 1838, which focused on the dangers
of slavery and helped established Lincoln’s reputation as a political orator.
Wheeler is an award-winning university instructor who has devoted
much of his professional career to public history, assisting museums, historic
sites, documentary editing projects, historical societies, libraries and
As the Illinois State Historian, Dr. Wheeler serves as the Director of Research,
Collections and Library Services at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and
Museum in Springfield. He is also the historian of record for the state’s 56
historic sites and is a member of the Illinois Bicentennial Commission.
This will be the third lecture in the “Learn from Lincoln, Live Like Lincoln”
lecture series for 2017. In March, the series featured Kathryn Harris, president
of the Abraham Lincoln Association, and in July the speaker was Paul Beaver,
Lincoln College Professor Emeritus and past director of the Lincoln College
Public Relations and Media Manager