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The Women in Lincoln’s Life by Dr. Frank Wetta

September 28, 2022 @ 5:30 pm - 8:30 pm

Dr. Frank J. Wetta will speak on “Lincoln’s Women in Film and Biography”

In Hollywood’s cinematic Abraham Lincoln, the supporting characters are the mother (Nancy Hanks); the stepmother (Sara Bush Johnson); the tragic lost love (Anne Rutledge); the woman who rejected him (Mary Owens); and the wife and widow (Mary Todd Lincoln). This talk will look at how women helped to define his character and contribute to his achievements — giving birth to the nation's savior, nurturing him in his youth, propelling him into politics prophesizing his destiny, and contributing to his melancholy.  Understanding the role that these women played is essential to understanding the life and meaning of Lincoln as represented in myth and reality — in this case the contest between Hollywood’s undisciplined imagination and the biographers’ reconstructed lives.  Importantly, we look at the women themselves.  They may have played only “supporting roles” but they had lives of their own — lives that deserve our attention.

Please make reservations by 8:00 p.m. Friday, September 23. We cannot guarantee availability of meals for untimely reservations.

Frank J. Wetta earned his Ph.D. in History at Louisiana State University under Professor T. Harry Williams. He currently has in the works two projects: a manuscript for Louisiana State University Press: “When Abraham Lincoln Met Shirley Temple: Lincoln and Women in Film” and an essay, “War and American Memory.” The Oxford Handbook of American Military History, Oxford University Press

Dr. Wetta’s publications include:

  • Last Stands from the Alamo to Benghazi: How Hollywood Turns Military Defeat into Moral Victories  (Routledge, 2016) with Martin Novelli;
  • The Long Reconstruction: The Post- Civil War South in History, Film, and Memory (Routledge Press, 2014) with Martin Novelli;
  • The Louisiana Scalawags: Politics, Race, and Terrorism During the Civil War and Reconstruction (Louisiana State University Press, 2012);
  • Celluloid Wars: A Research Guide to Film and the American Experience of War (Greenwood, 1992) with Stephen J. Curley;
  • “World War I Films” in Oxford Online Annotated Bibliographies (Oxford University Press, 2016);
  • “On Telling the Truth about War: World War II and Hollywood’s Moral Fiction, 1945-1956” with Martin Novelli  in Why We Fought: America’s Wars in Film and History (University of Kentucky Press, 2008);
  • “Romantic, isn’t it, Miss Dandridge,” in American Nineteenth Century History: The Vistas of American Military History (2006) with Martin Novelli;
  • “Now a Major Motion Picture: War Films and Hollywood’s New Patriotism” in The Journal of Military History (2003), with Martin Novelli.


To make sure we have enough food for everyone, please register for the meeting HERE. Members can also register by responding to the forthcoming emailed invitation.

Join us for a Friendly & Fun Evening of Civil War History!

Doors open at 5:30
Meal served at 6:30
Presentation at 7:30



  • roast beef with gravy / au gratin potatoes / green beans almondine
  • tossed salad (premixed with Italian dressing)
  • rolls and butter
  • dessert:  cookies and brownies assortment
  • coffee bar, non-alcoholic drinks, wine/beer available throughout the meeting


We meet at:

6330 Heege Road
St. Louis, MO 63123

Dinner and Presentation
Members . . . . . . . . . . . . .$25.00 (each)
Nonmember . . . . . . . $30.00 (each)
Presentation ONLY
Members . . . . . $ 10.00 (each)
Nonmember . . . . . . . $15.00 (each)

NOTE: We accept all major credit/debit cards, cash, and checks at our meetings.

Please note – there is a $14.00 per person charge for anyone who registers for dinner and does not show up.  No refunds unless we are notified by 5 p.m. on Sunday prior to the meeting.


September 28, 2022
5:30 pm - 8:30 pm