Public programs planned for WLU Lincoln exhibit

WEST LIBERTY – West Liberty University recently welcomed the traveling exhibit “Lincoln: The Constitution and the Civil War,” to campus, and now invites the public to view two programs that highlight different aspects of the exhibit.

Both programs will be held in the Paul Elbin Library, which is also the site of the 1,000 -quare-foot exhibit on loan from the American Library Association Public Programs Office in collaboration with the National Constitution Center.

The events include:

7 p.m., Sept. 11 presentation by Jason Phillips, Eberly professor of Civil War studies at West Virginia University. Phillips will speak on the South’s view of Lincoln during the Civil War in a program entitled, “Abraham Lincoln in the Southern Imagination.”

3 p.m., Sept. 12 poetry reading with WLU Professors C.J. Farnsworth and Dave Thomas who will present “Poetry of the Civil War Era.” Audience members will hear voices of strife, solidarity, loss and liberation from literary favorites Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson, Stephen Crane and many more.

Phillips specializes in teaching Civil War and Reconstruction, Southern history and 19th-century America. He earned his doctoral degree at Rice University, his master’s at Wake Forest University and his bachelor’s degree at University of Richmond.

His first book, “Diehard Rebels: The Culture of Invincibility,” was published by the University of Georgia Press in 2007. He also edited a collection of essays, titled “Storytelling, History, and the Postmodern South,” which Louisiana State University Press published in 2013. His current book project, “Prophecy of Blood,” studies American anticipations of the Civil War to understand how widespread expectations shaped thoughts, actions and memories of the war.

Farnsworth is a graduate of the Vermont College of Fine Arts Masters of Fine Arts program. Her work has appeared in Poetry Quarterly, Kenning, Kestrel and Poetry on the Move. She also has been published in WV Living.

Farnsworth also is active in local theater productions. She resides in Wheeling with her husband and son.

Thomas also resides in Wheeling has taught at West Liberty since 1985. He previously served two years as interim chair of the Department of Humanities and most recently received the Professor of the Year award for the fourth time. He earned bachelors degrees in both English and history at West Liberty and earned a Master of Arts in American Literature at Marshall University and a Doctoral of Modern American Literature from West Virginia University.

Thomas is the author of the 1998 book of poetry, “only the trying.” He is known regionally for his poetry reading, and is a frequent guest at Ohio County Public Library Lunch with Books program and the Wheeling Arts Fest.

Using the Constitution as the cohesive thread, “Lincoln: The Constitution and the Civil War” offers a perspective on Lincoln that focuses on his struggle to meet the political and constitutional challenges of the Civil War.

Organized thematically, the exhibition explores how Lincoln used the Constitution to confront three intertwined crises of the war – the secession of Southern states, slavery, and wartime civil liberties.

Hours for the Elbin Library during the school year are 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Fridays and noon to 4 p.m., Saturdays. It is closed on Labor Day.

For more on the Lincoln Exhibit, visit the ALA website, For more information on the Elbin Library or its programming, call 304-336-8261.