Information about the officers of The Lincoln Forum

The Lincoln Forum - To enhance the understanding and preserve the memory of Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War.

Officers of The Lincoln Forum

Frank J. Williams, Chairman

Frank J. Williams, Founding Chairman of the Lincoln Forum, is Chief Justice of the Rhode Island Supreme Court (Ret.), and one of the nation's most prominent authorities, collectors, and leaders in the Lincoln field. He served for 12 years as president of the Lincoln Group of Boston, for nine as president of the Abraham Lincoln Association, and has been chairman of the Forum since its inception -- all while working as well as president of the Ulysses S. Grant Association. The author or editor of more than a dozen books, he is also a popular lecturer, whose papers have appeared in several books, including We Cannot Escape History and The Lincoln Forum series. Williams co-edited Abraham Lincoln: Sources and Style of Leadership and Abraham Lincoln: Contemporary, and with Harold Holzer, authored Lincoln's Deathbed in Art and Memory: The "Rubber Room" Phenomenon. In addition to Judging Lincoln, a collection of his essays, and The Emancipation Proclamation: Three Views (Co-authored with Harold Holzer and Edna Greene Medford.) Williams most recently co-edited The Mary Lincoln Enigma and authored Lincoln as Hero on the SIU Press "Concise Lincoln" Series. A former member of the U.S. Lincoln Bicentennial Commission, he lives with his wife Virginia in Hope Valley, RI.

Harold Holzer, Vice Chairman

Harold Holzer who also serves as Chairman of the Lincoln Bicentennial Foundation, has authored, co-authored, and edited 46 books on the Lincoln era, including The Lincoln Image, Lincoln on Democracy (with Mario Cuomo), Lincoln President Elect and Lincoln: How Abraham Lincoln Ended Slavery in America, the official young readers' companion book to the 2012 Steven Spielberg movie for which Harold served as script consultant. His more than 500 articles for popular and scholarly publications include regular appearances in American Heritage, Civil War Times, and many other publications. Holzer's book, Lincoln At Cooper Union: The Speech That Made Abraham Lincoln President (2004) won a second place Lincoln Prize and other awards. Holzer serves as Senior Vice President for Public Affairs at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, and lives in Rye, NY. In 2008, President Bush awarded Harold the National Humanities Medal. A frequent commentator on C-Span and other television networks, Harold and his wife Edith have two daughters, Harvard grad Remy, and Yale grad Meg, a graduate of NYU law school. Harold's website is

Russell H. Weidman, Treasurer

Mr. Weidman is a 1956 honors graduate of the United States Naval Academy. In 1964 he was awarded a Masters Degree with honors in High Energy Nuclear Physics. He continued his career in the Navy as an aviator and Aeronautical Engineering Officer until he retired in 1978 as a Commander. He then joined the engineering firm of Science Applications International Corporation where he worked on numerous technical programs for 18 years. He retired as Vice President in 1996. Russ has served as Treasurer for the Cruise Missile Association and is a member of the Lincoln Forum, the Lincoln Group of D. C. and the Civil War Round Table of the District of Columbia. He supports the Civil War Preservation Trust and the Central Virginia Battlefield Trust.

Jerry Desko, Administrator

Edna Greene Medford, Executive Committee

Edna Greene Medford is the department chair and director of graduate studies in the department of history at Howard University in Washington. The former director of New York’s African Burial Ground project, she has appeared regularly on C-Span, as a commentator on the Lincoln-Douglas Debates, as both guest and host on the series Q and A, and on the network’s American President series. She has written many articles and reviews, and is co-author of the book, The Emancipation Proclamation: Three Views.

Craig L. Symonds, Executive Committee

Craig L. Symonds, professor of history emeritus at the U.S. Naval Academy and, until recently, the chief historian of the U.S.S. Monitor Center at the Mariners’ Museum in Newport News, Virginia, is the author of the recent book, Lincoln and His Admirals, which won the 2009 Lincoln prize, the culmination of three decades of study of the Civil War navies and the Union’s admiral-in-chief. His previous books include biographies of Joseph E. Johnston and Patrick Cleburne, a battle guide to Gettysburg, and the award winning study Decision at Sea: Five Naval Battles that Shaped American History.

George Buss, Executive Committee

George Buss serves over 200 schools in the upper Midwest in his current role as Program Manager for AVID - Advancement Via Individual Determination. His work with students in Freeport District 145 is recognized by the Illinois State Board of Education, Illinois House of Representatives and the Illinois Education Association. He was also named an Outstanding Young Educator by the Freeport Jaycees and is featured in AVID: 25 years - 25 Stories.
For nearly a quarter century George has been interpreting Abraham Lincoln and as Lincoln said of himself; George, too, "is 6 foot 4 inches tall, nearly and weighs between 160 and 180 pounds." George appears nationally to wide acclaim. His work has been seen on C-Span, The Illinois Channel and local cable affiliates and was featured in Smithsonian Magazine.
George is not only known for his ability to portray and interpret Lincoln; he is president of the Stephen Douglas Association, vice president of the Lincoln Douglas Society, and board member of the Lincoln Fellowship of Wisconsin.
George is curator of the exhibit "Out from the Shadow of Lincoln: Stephen A. Douglas" from his own collection of Douglas images, artifacts and primary source documents. The exhibit continues touring the Midwest since its debut in 2008.
He has degrees from Ball State University and National-Louis University. He and his wife Mona reside in Freeport, IL and are the parents of two sons, Jordan, serving in the United States Navy and Jason, a senior at Western Illinois University.

Betty Anselmo, Co-Administrator

Betty Anselmo teaches U.S. History Honors and Law in the Social Studies Department at Tiverton High School in Tiverton, R.I. She served as a Mock Trial Coach for five years with her school earning state titles for two years. In conjunction with the World Language Department, Mrs. Anselmo travels with students to foreign countries during school vacation week every other April. In 2014 they are heading to Lisbon, Portugal.
Mrs. Anselmo earned an Associate of Science Degree in Criminal Justice from Bristol Community College in 1977 and received the Director’s Special Award for the highest GPA in the Criminal Justice Program. In 1997, she graduated from The University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Arts in History and was also recognized as having the highest GPA in History, the College of Arts and Sciences and Continuing Education. The Massachusetts State Senate also recognized Mrs. Anselmo’s scholastic achievement with an Official Citation.
Mrs. Anselmo joined The Lincoln Forum in 1996, became the Administrator in 2007 and the Co-Administrator in 2013.
She lives in her hometown of Tiverton, RI with her husband Albert. They are the parents of three sons and have three daughter-in-laws and three grandchildren.