April 10, 2007

Friends of Morris Library dinner is April 22

by Tim Crosby

CARBONDALE, Ill. — An expert on Abraham Lincoln's ingenious use of the telegraph during the Civil War is the speaker at this year's Friends of Morris Library dinner to benefit the library at Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

Tom Wheeler is author of "Mr. Lincoln's T-Mails: The Untold Story of How Abraham Lincoln Used the Telegraph to Win the Civil War." He will speak at this year's event, set for at 6 p.m. Sunday, April 22 at the Dunn-Richmond Economic Development Center, 150 E. Pleasant Hill Road, Carbondale.

Carolyn Donow, president of the Friends of Morris Library board, said the dinner is a central event for the group's efforts.

"It's a time when we report what we've done and what the library has accomplished," she said. "It's a time to celebrate with friends, and we'd like to get more friends. The library is a centerpiece of the University and we want to support that."

Kristine McGuire, constituency development officer in Library Affairs at SIUC, said the dinner promotes both the library and the group.

"It's a very important event in that it lets people know we're here and it brings us back to what the Friends of Morris Library do, which is support the library in many ways" McGuire said.

A leader in promoting new telecommunications technology through entrepreneurship and shaping government policy, Wheeler brings almost 30 years of experience to his work on Lincoln. Before writing his current book in 2006, the Washington D.C.-based consultant also wrote, "Take Command: Leadership Lessons of the Civil War," in 2000.

The organization has supported the SIUC library for almost 50 years by hosting a variety of fund-raising events and purchasing materials. Workers are currently remodeling and adding on to Morris Library in a three-year, $48 million project that includes 50,000 square feet of new space and upgrades to all its systems.

The group also will present its Delta Awards, given annually to authors who write, edit or publish about Southern Illinois with distinction. This year's winners are:

• James Pickett Jones, professor emeritus at Florida State University, author of two books on Gen. John A. Logan including "Black Jack: John A. Logan and Southern Illinois in the Civil War Era."

• Robert Hartley, a retired journalist and co-author of "Death Underground: The Centralia and West Frankfort Mine Disasters" and author of "Lewis and Clark in the Illinois Country: The Untold Story."

• David Kenney, SIUC professor emeritus of political science, who co-authored "Death Underground" with Hartley, as well as many other books on Illinois politics.

The Bookworm, a Carbondale independent bookstore, will sell books at the event, donating a portion of receipts to the Friends of Morris Library.

Alongi's Italian Restaurant will cater the event. Tickets are $40. To make arrangements, contact Kristine McGuire at kmcguire@lib.siu.edu or 618/453-1633.