INA - A special couple from history will be on hand Thursday at Rend Lake College to tell about their lives and introduce local residents to the many offerings through RLC's Community Education Department.
Abraham and Mary Todd-Lincoln are stopping by the Lifelong Learning Welcome Reception hosted by RLC Community Ed where anyone can come and meet the historic couple and learn more about what upcoming classes, trips and activities the department has to offer this Spring. The Lifelong Learning Welcome Reception will take place from 1-3 pm, at the RLC Historic Schoolhouse on the Main Campus in Ina. The special guests will provide a short presentation and cake will be served to celebrate "Honest Abe's" 200th birthday. Around 3 p.m., Abe and Mary will make their way to the theater and present Lincoln's life with a focus on his political career. During this presentation he will be discussing the similarities of politics today and in the mid-1800s. Both events are free and open to the public.
Portraying Lincoln is Lewis "Abe" Clymer. He is from Vandalia, a location very rich in Lincoln heritage. It is the location of the oldest capitol in Illinois and also where Lincoln began his political career. So it is only natural that the 6'4", 185-pound man would find himself in the role of Abraham Lincoln.
His resemblance to the 16th president is what gave him the nickname of "Abe" way back in high school during a history lesson. The name stuck and now the Vandalia resident, who has owned Clymer TV and Appliances for over 50 years, isn't known by anyone as anything other than Abe. He has been doing Abraham Lincoln presentations for nearly a half of a century. He did his first appearance as Mr. Lincoln on a parade float at the request of a local women's club back in 1960. He was hesitant at first, but they talked him into it.
For additional information about this release, one may contact Community Education Director Lori Ragland at 618-437-5321, Ext. 1367 or Assistant Director Kristina Shelton at Ext. 1267.
He also portrayed Lincoln at a re-creation of a Lincoln-Douglas debate in the early 1960's. After that, he began to do presentations off and on for various schools and organizations. As his reputation grew, the requests for him to perform did as well. In the 1990's newspaper coverage of one of his performances attracted the attention of the Association of Lincoln Presenters, a nationwide group of scholars who portray Lincoln. He has been a life member ever since and regularly performs for schools, museums, churches, service organizations, health care institutions, businesses and historical groups. He enjoys sharing his knowledge about Lincoln and is proud to be able to inspire others.
Marilyn Cole, a grandmother and graduate of SIU-E, portrays Mary Todd Lincoln. Cole works as a daycare teacher, in addition to portraying President Lincoln's wife. She is a
Vandalia resident who has become inspired to research Mary Todd Lincoln due to the historic nature of the town and also thanks to Abe himself. The portrayal of Abe's wife is a task she looks forward to and does with enthusiasm. Together with Abe, she brings a more complete picture of our 16th President and the First Lady for others to enjoy.
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