The Herald Bulletin

Evening Update

Community

January 3, 2009

Henry co. library program to spotlight Lew Wallace

From fighting for the cause of freedom during the Civil War to writing of one of the best-selling books of all time, Lew Wallace of Indiana enjoyed a remarkable career that touched the lives of such famous figures in American history as Abraham Lincoln, Ulysses S. Grant, Mark Twain, James Garfield, James Whitcomb Riley, and Billy the Kid. 

The ups and downs of Wallace’s amazing days will be explored by Ray E. Boomhower, senior editor of the Indiana Historical Society Press, at a 2 p.m. slide presentation and discussion at New Castle-Henry County Public Library on Saturday, Jan. 10. Boomhower is the author of “The Sword and the Pen: A Life of Lew Wallace,” published in 2005 by IHS Press. This event is part of the Civil War series presented by New Castle-Henry County Public Library in celebration of the 200th anniversary of the birth of Abraham Lincoln. The series is made possible by a grant from Wal-Mart to Friends of the Library.

Growing up when much of Indiana was still a wilderness, Wallace frequently fled from his classroom studies to wander the woods and fields he loved. The son of an Indiana governor, Wallace became passionate about books and combat. He tried to win lasting fame through service for the Union cause on the battlefield during the Civil War, but instead won honor and glory through a quieter pastime: writing. His novel “Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ,” became one of the country’s best-loved books and was made into two successful Hollywood films.

At various times in his life, Wallace also was a lawyer, an Indiana state senator, vice president of the court-martial that tried the conspirators behind the assassination of President Lincoln, governor of the New Mexico Territory during the days of outlaw Billy the Kid and a diplomat who represented the United States in Turkey. 

Wallace dreamed always of glory and lived a life full of adventures, triumphs and tragedies. Through it all, he believed in himself and always was never afraid to accept new challenges. He remains one of the most colorful and important figures in the Hoosier State’s history.

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