Convention of Abraham Lincoln presenters in Dayton this week

Those who spot Abraham Lincoln strolling through downtown Dayton this week can rest assured they are not seeing things.

From Thursday to Sunday, there will multiple people dressed like the former president and others garbed in 19th-century attire around Montgomery County, as the Association of Lincoln Presenters (ALP) hosts its annual conference in Dayton.

On Sept. 17, 1859, Lincoln, who wouldn’t be elected until the year after, made an appearance in Dayton. He spoke near what is now referred to as the “Old Courthouse” at 7 N Main St. A statue on Courthouse Square commemorates the event.

“Dayton is rich in late 19th and early 20th century history, including the fact that Abraham Lincoln actually visited our city, and that makes Montgomery County a perfect fit to host this conference,” Dayton CVB President and CEO Jacquelyn Powell said in a statement.

Lincoln is remembered as a towering figure in American history. “His leadership during the Civil War and his commitment to justice and equality left an indelible mark on the nation,” the chamber said. “A unique and passionate community honors his legacy: the Association of Lincoln Presenters.”

The group organizes an annual convention, featuring workshops, panel discussions and presentations by renowned Lincoln scholars, providing valuable insights and fostering a sense of community among members. It also visits locations in the host city that hold historical significance.

The conference brings together passionate individuals from across the nation who share a common fascination with the life and legacy of the former president and his wife, First Lady Mary Todd Lincoln.

“One of our primary objectives is to ensure that portrayals of Abraham and Mary Lincoln are authentic and historically accurate,” ALP member and conference organizer Susan Miller said in a statement. “Members dedicate significant time and effort to researching Lincoln’s life, speeches, mannerisms and even his physical appearance. By meticulously studying primary sources and historical records, they aim to present a faithful representation of the man who played a pivotal role in shaping the nation.”

The 2024 ALP Conference, “A Gathering of Lincoln Presenters: Exploring History in Dayton, Ohio,” will host about 50 members. It includes Thursday and Friday gatherings and presentations for registrants. On Saturday, attendees will be out and about in Dayton, many attired as Lincoln or clad in other 19th century garb, visiting Lincoln-related sites around Montgomery County. Lincoln sightings are set to include a group photo with Courthouse Square’s Lincoln Statue.

The conference concludes Saturday evening with a buffet dinner and performance of “The Henry ‘Box’ Brown Show” at the Dayton Woman’s Club, 225 N. Ludlow St. The event, which is scheduled to start at 6 p.m., is open to the public. For ticket information, write to Teena Baldrige, at

Baldrige, who is an ALP member and also president of the Lincoln Society of Dayton, played a key role in helping bring the conference to Dayton.

“The ALP conferences are held mostly in cities that Lincoln either lived in or visited, and Teena gave a compelling presentation about Dayton’s Lincoln connections,” Miller said.

President Lincoln spoke at the Dayton Courthouse, and the Dayton Lincoln Society erected a statue there, she said. On March 3, 1865, Lincoln also signed legislation that established a network of national facilities to care for the nation’s wounded Civil War soldiers, Miller said. The Dayton VA Medical Center, which resulted from that legislation, is one of the three oldest health care facilities in the nation, she said.

In addition, there are many Lincoln scholars associated with the Dayton Lincoln Society and several are speaking to the group during the conference, Miller said.

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