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200 North Main St | Bloomington, Illinois | 309-827-0428

Zoom Abraham Lincoln and the Heritage of Illinois State University

Saturday, July 17
Starts at 1:00 PM

McLean County Museum of History
200 N. Main St, Bloomington IL 61701

Zoom Abraham Lincoln and the Heritage of Illinois State University

The Museum is pleased to host authors Tom Emery and Carl Kasten for a program about Abraham Lincoln’s close ties to Illinois State University, a topic largely ignored in the 156 years since Lincoln’s death. This free, virtual program will be held on Saturday, July 17 at 1:00 p.m.

Lincoln’s connection to then Illinois State Normal University is the subject of Emery and Kasten’s new book Abraham Lincoln and the Heritage of Illinois State University (2021). Lincoln served as counsel to the State of Illinois’ newly formed Board of Education, which oversaw I.S.N.U. He wrote the guaranty to secure funding for the university and in doing so, ensured that it would be located in Normal in 1857 (which at that time was known as North Bloomington). Additionally, many of the early financial backers of I.S.N.U were among Lincoln’s closest allies and friends, including David Davis and Jesse Fell. Had it not been for Lincoln’s work to secure the guaranty, I.S.N.U could likely have been awarded to nearby Peoria.

Tom Emery is an accomplished freelance writer and historical researcher who has created thirty-six book and booklet titles in his career. Among Emery’s other recent works is The History of Illinois, a full-length 2017 compilation that provides a thorough overview of the rich history of the state. He holds degrees from Blackburn College and Southern Illinois University – Edwardsville. Emery is also the recipient of thirteen awards from the Illinois State Historical Society and is currently developing several large-scale historical projects.

Carl Kasten is now retired after a 48-year legal career. He is a graduate of Illinois State University and earned his J.D. from Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law. A history enthusiast, Kasten is a longtime supporter of education on all levels. From 2003-2008, Kasten served as chair of the Illinois State University Board of Trustees. Prior to that, he spent seven years as Secretary of the board.

Copies of the book, Abraham Lincoln and the Heritage of Illinois State University, are available for purchase in the Museum’s Visitors Center and Gift Shop for $22.95 plus tax.

To register for this free, Zoom webinar, go to For more information or question, please contact the Education Department at