‘Lincoln, the Great Communicator’ coming to Paris

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The Edgar County Looking for Lincoln group, in association with the state Looking for Lincoln is hosting a special evening of history and music 7 p.m. Oct. 11 at Prospect Bank. Attendance is free.

“Lincoln, the Great Communicator” is a joint effort between Abraham Lincoln impersonator George Buss and Illinois folk musician and folklorist Chris Vallillo.

This theatrical style performance is presented as a casual conversation between Lincoln and Vallillo discussing how Lincoln used his skills as a communicator for the betterment of mankind. Vallillo performs period music to illustrate Lincoln’s points and Buss will quote passages from Lincoln’s speeches.

According to organizers, Lincoln lived when the power of mass communication was just beginning. Traditional means of mass communication like books and popular music were augmented by developments within the industrial revolution such as steam powered printing presses, the telegraph, photography and improved transportation systems featuring steamboats and trains.

Looking for Lincoln is the organization responsible for coordinating activities within the Abraham Lincoln National Heritage Area. Congress created the national heritage area in 2008 that includes 42 counties in central Illinois that shaped Lincoln’s life and work during his 30-year residency in Illinois before being elected president.

Lincoln was familiar with Paris and Edgar County. He was here at least twice a year between 1845 and 1853 as a visiting attorney traveling with the Eighth Judicial Circuit and participating in local legal cases.

Author Guy Fraker’s book “Lincoln and Eighth Judicial Circuit” argues the connections Lincoln made in Edgar County with nearby Indiana politicians was critical for helping him achieve the 1860 Republican Party presidential nomination.