Abraham Lincoln has been the subject of thousands of books. By comparison, the list of the movies and television programs featuring the 16th president is surprisingly short, according to historian Gerald R. Butters Jr.
Butters was the guest speaker Monday for the annual Lincoln Event at the University of Saint Mary.
Butters gave a presentation titled "Lincoln on Film."
He said Lincoln usually makes short appearances as a character in films and usually is not the main subject of a movie.
And Butters said depictions of Lincoln on film seem to be dwindling as the 21st century continues.
Butters pointed to two major factors – a greater demand for historical accuracy and social media – as to why there are fewer movies being made about Lincoln.
He said every depiction of Lincoln is now dissected.
"We expect the real deal in the 21st century," he said.
He said it seems only well established and highly respected directors can take on Lincoln as a subject of a movie.
Butters’ comments came during what was the 22nd annual Lincoln Event for USM.
Saint Mary began the series in 1999 as a way to highlight the Bernard H. Hall Abraham Lincoln Collection, which is housed at the Keleher Learning Commons on the USM campus.
"Our collection includes many treasures," said Sister Diane Steele, USM’s president.
Steele noted that Lincoln has a connection to Leavenworth. She said he visited Leavenworth in 1859 and gave a speech that ultimately launched his presidential campaign.
During his presentation, Butters spoke about a number of feature films and television productions that have focused on Lincoln. He discussed films dating from the silent era to director Steven Spielberg’s 2012 production "Lincoln."
The presentation included film clips.
Monday’s Lincoln Event also recognized several local school children for their entries in an annual Lincoln Art Contest.
Gwynevere Buie, an eighth-grader at Lansing Middle School, received the award for best overall entry.
Jack Bay, a fifth-grader at Anthony Elementary School, was recognized for best use of color.
Zoei Cannon-Shelley, a fourth-grader at Eisenhower Elementary School, received the honor for most original entry.
Rachel Schultz, a seventh-grader at Lansing Middle School, was honored for creating the best portrait.