Richard Raymond | First Lincoln Scholarship
Richard Raymond Donates the First UIS Center for Lincoln Studies Scholarship
The new UIS Center for Lincoln Studies is an exciting priority of the Reaching Stellar Campaign – and donors have already begun voicing their approval for the initiative through their gifts. Among them is Richard Raymond, who has created the first scholarship for the Center.
“Abraham Lincoln’s is a great American tale,” he says. “Lincoln rose from a log cabin to a pleasant home on a street of doctors and lawyers in one of the nicer neighborhoods in Springfield. Then he became President, and overnight he had to deal with that great international issue—slavery. After the war, instead of trying to subdue the conquered, he had a statesman’s plan for reconstruction of the Union. For these reasons, I believe his life is worthy of study and emulation.”
The Richard D. Raymond Scholarship Endowment Fund will support graduate history students with a demonstrated interest in Abraham Lincoln. You can use the following Donate button to make a gift in any amount. Your gift will add to the size of the scholarship.
A Career in History
Richard has always valued history. In fact, he has devoted almost his entire professional life to the preservation of historical artifacts at National Park Service sites, beginning during the restoration of the Lincoln Home the late 70s.
“Objects are magic,” he says. “History happens in the blink of an eye. Historical collections like those in the Lincoln home help us leap across time to see what people in the past valued and used and even what they loved.”
His love of history grew from his family’s deep roots in Alton, Illinois, coupled with an artistic talent for arts and crafts that gave him a profound appreciation for both historical objects and the people who made and used them. His artistic abilities took him during summer breaks while at UIS to workshops at the Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, and the renowned Penland School of Crafts in Penland, North Carolina.
Back at UIS (then Sangamon State), while Richard was earning degrees in communication and education, he fed his hunger for historical arts and crafts by working at Lincoln’s New Salem State Historic Site in Menard County, Illinois, and teaching classes at the Clayville Historic Site, near Pleasant Plains, Illinois.
After graduating, Richard worked for seven years in Springfield, then spent a year at the Studio of the Gobelin in France, specializing in tapestry fabrication. Gobelin gave him an even stronger appreciation for historical artifacts, so he jumped at the chance back in Springfield to become a museum curator during the Lincoln Home restoration.
The National Park Service
After Springfield, Richard worked for the National Park Service at the Harry S. Truman National Historic Site in Missouri, Yorktown Village in the Colonial National Historical Park in Virginia, the Melrose Plantation in Mississippi, and the Harpers Ferry National Historical Park in West Virginia, curating at each site. He retired from the National Park Service in 2000 and has served as a volunteer curator for the Carl Sandburg National Historic Site in Flatrock, North Carolina.
Richard is especially proud of his work with the Yorktown branch of Preservation Virginia, an organization that helps preserve Virginia historical Sites. The branch had only 20 households when he arrived and was on the brink of folding. He set to work reviving it, convincing people to have more fun, enlisting community members to donate their plantation houses for fundraising parties, and generally energizing and inspiring the group. When he left, the branch had become the largest in the Commonwealth with more than 100 households.
Richard’s UIS art professor Nina Kasanof once told him, “Richard, you are a Renaissance man. You can do anything.” Richard has proved the truth of those words with his career in art, history, preservation, education, and his ability to make friends wherever he goes.
Enthusiastic, expert, eclectic, engaged—Richard is all of these, and now he has focused part of his enthusiasm on the new UIS Center for Lincoln Studies. UIS is proud to have him as an alumnus and pleased to welcome the Center’s first scholarship, especially from someone so passionately committed to history.