November 18, 2009

Simon exhibit, program coming to Troy

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- An exhibit that celebrates the life and legacy of the late Sen. Paul Simon is coming to the St. Louis metropolitan area.

“Paul Simon: Compassion, Vision and Courage” features both a special exhibit and a thought-provoking program from the Special Collections Research Center at Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s Morris Library. A public reception and kick-off program is set for 7-9 p.m., Dec. 10, at Tri-Township Public Library at 209 S. Main St. in Troy, Ill.

Charles Klotzer, the founder, editor and publisher emeritus of the “St. Louis Journalism Review” is the featured speaker for the evening. Klotzer worked with Simon at the “Troy Tribune” from 1948 until 1951 and later was the chairman of Simon’s Missouri campaign during his 1988 run for the presidency.

“At the age of 19, Paul Simon bought the ‘Troy Tribune,’ a small-town newspaper in Troy. He owned the ‘Tribune’ and several other weekly newspapers until 1966. As an editor and publisher, Simon gained a reputation as a crusader against local gangsters and political corruption. Paul Simon used the ‘Troy Tribune’ to expose criminal activities and in 1951, at age 22, was called as a key witness to testify before the United States Senate’s Crime Investigating Committee. He also wrote more than a dozen books on politics and history. The ‘Paul Simon: Compassion, Vision, Courage exhibit and program in Troy will focus on Simon’s influence as a journalist and politician,” said Pamela Hackbart-Dean, director of the Special Collections Research Center at Morris Library.

The opening program and reception as well as the exhibit are free and open to the public.

The new exhibit features a sizeable collection of Simon’s papers, artifacts, photographs, campaign memorabilia and other items. It offers viewers the opportunity to learn about Simon’s work with constituents, his foreign relations efforts and his political campaigns, including his 1988 presidential campaign.

The exhibit highlights the legislative issues Simon handled and his relationship with President Barack Obama long before Obama arrived at the White House. The balanced budget amendment, the direct student loan program, television violence and missing and exploited children were issues Simon felt strongly about, as the exhibit illustrates. In essence, “Paul Simon: Compassion, Vision, Courage” is a glimpse into at Simon’s life and its impact and his contributions to the state and the country.

The exhibit will run through Jan. 12, 2010.

The Illinois Humanities Council, Morris Library and SIUC are providing sponsorship for the event. For more information about the Paul Simon exhibit, his papers, or Morris Library’s Special Collections Research Center, call 618/453-2516 or e-mail