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MISSED OPPORTUNITY FOR ALPLM
Congratulations to Bruce Rushton, who, by obtaining an interview with Harold Holzer, a renowned Lincoln scholar, is again focusing attention on the ongoing mismanagement at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum ("Getting real: ALPLM wrestles with hat, looks for leadership," July 30). The lack of transparency, conflicts of interest and overall disharmony by its own foundation has repeatedly caused damage to the reputation of the ALPLM.
What Springfield may not know is that Governer George Ryan wanted to hire Holzer to run the ALPLM. I was with Ryan the day he hosted Holzer and other dignitaries at a dinner at the Pasfield House the night of the grand opening celebration of the library.
Unfortunately, Holzer was overlooked by the foundation when George Ryan left office and Lura Lynn Ryan stepped down as foundation chair. Richard Norton Smith became the front man. No one expected him to stay or dedicate himself to the study of Lincoln like Holzer, who has written more books on Lincoln then anyone.
Louise Taper herself, along with 38 new members, were added to the foundation board under Governor Rod Blagojevich. Then the foundation purchased her collection. Before the purchase, a second appraiser raised questions as to the provenance of Lincoln's hat; it was ignored. Remember, the Taper collection was repeatedly rejected until 2007. The previous foundation chair, Lura Ryan, turned down the collection, which was being pushed as an all-or-nothing proposal.
Prior to the Taper purchase, the foundation had $14.7 million in the bank, raised by the Ryans from private funds, and pledges totaling $22 million, from what I understand. Those funds have been depleted and ever since, the foundation has missed out on acquiring new Lincoln collectibles. Holzer sold his own valuable collection several years ago.
How proud we could have been of the ALPLM if the Ryans would have been able to hire Harold Holzer.
Former ALPLM board member
FOR BETTER OR WORSE
Dave Blanchette's piece about the ordeal he and his wife endured after her accident was a beautiful, heart-wrenching story ("For better or worse," Aug. 6). We never know how life will treat us. We can only agree to do the best we can with kindness and love. I am sure he has an angel looking over him, and I will pray for him to gain peace.
I congratulate the Springfield City Council for passing a resolution which includes proactively investing in Ward 2 and Ward 3 and developing strategies and practices to combat poverty, along with ensuring that minority business goals have minimum requirements.
Although the city council resolution does not go as far as reparations, it is a step in that direction.