The Lincoln-Douglas Society of Freeport, Illinois

Lincoln-Douglas Society

Our Mission

To educate and encourage the general public to think, study and acquaint themselves with the history of our county, state, and nation, and historical events, especially in connection with the lives, works and deeds of Abraham Lincoln and Stephen A. Douglas.


Freeport industrialist W T. Rawleigh called a meeting on November 28, 1928, to announce that he was donating to the community a statue of Abraham Lincoln to be created by Leonard Crunelle, who was also present at the meeting. Out of that meeting the Lincoln-Douglas Society was formed with James R. “J.R.” Jackson (1872-1955) elected as its first president.

A 501(c)3 Not-For-Profit Corporation, The Lincoln-Douglas Society regularly solicits donations and grants to fund its work:

  • Freeport’s Debate Square – maintenance and upkeep
  • The Stump, annual newsletter
  • The Richard F. Sokup Lecture Series
  • Music on Debate Square, free summer concert series
  • Additional programs and projects as envisioned

Directors and Officers of the Society – 2020-21

  • Nicole M. Bauer, president
  • Mindy Borgmann, treasurer
  • Edward Finch, secretary

Board of Directors

  • Olga Carlile, emeritus
  • Tim Connors
  • Carole Dickerson
  • Ned Furst
  • Scott Leiser
  • Mickey Martin
  • Sally Noble
  • Michael Perry
  • Robert Plager, emeritus
  • Jim Shankland
  • Connie Sorn
  • Danairo Thomas
  • Alan Wenzel

Past Presidents of the Society

  • James R. “J.R.” Jackson, 1929-1955
  • Robert J. Schmelzle, president pro tem 1955-1956
  • Michael Cassidy, president pro tem, July, 1956
  • Robert J. Schmelzle, 1956-1985
  • Robert B. Plager, 1985-1997
  • Richard F. Sokup, 1997-2004
  • Edward F. Finch, 2004-2018


To join the Society, download our membership form.


To contribute to the Society’s mission, you can make a secure online donation at