Monday, August 10, 2009

The Rubber Chicken Circuit!

Over the past ten years I have had the great pleasure and privilege of giving presentations to Civil War Round Tables and other organizations. Over the years I've learned a lot of lessons, have hopefully improved as a speaker, and still get a great amount of joy at being invited and even more pleasure from meeting new people.

My very first lecture was almost ten years ago. I gave a talk to my local group - the McHenry County (IL) Civil War Round Table in the far NW Chicago 'burbs - about the Battle of Wilson's Creek.

This retrospective look at my time on the "rubber chicken circuit" is prompted by an invitation that I am very excited about and that has me coming "full circle":

I will be talking to my old friends at the McHenry County Civil War Round Table at their annual Fall Symposium this year, on November 14th. It will have been more than 5 years since I moved from Chicagoland to Houston, and at least that long since I've seen many of my fellow members, although I have tried to keep in touch. I am looking forward to it very much.

I followed that first lecture a few years later with a presentation to the same group on the interesting and important role played by the University of Notre Dame in the Civil War. That lecture started the next part of my "speaking career": being invited to speak to other local groups, and so I had the great privilege of giving the same talk to other groups in the Chicagoland area over the next few years, including the Lake County and Northern Illinois CWRTs.

In the meantime, I began to write my medical column for The Civil War News, which led to some invitations from around the Midwest, including the terrific folks at the St. Louis (MO) and Mahoning Valley (OH) CWRTs, who also heard my Notre Dame presentation.

A few years elapsed before I began speaking again in earnest, but the publication of my first book - Lincoln's Labels: America's Best Known Brands and the Civil War (Edinborough Press, 2008) - afforded an excellent opportunity to hit the road again.

Indeed, there's only thing more pleasing (and humbling) than being invited to speak: being invited back to speak again! So, with the publication of Lincoln's Labels, I had the great pleasure of revisiting my friends at the Northern Illinois Civil War Round Table and meeting new friends across Texas in Dallas, Fort Worth, and Waco.

Readers of this blog know that one of my passions is Civil War medicine, and I've had the great pleasure of attending - and speaking at - the 2007 (St. Louis) and 2009 (Chattanooga, TN) annual meetings of the Society of Civil War Surgeons.

Here is what I have scheduled so far for the remainder of this year and the beginning of next:

If you follow this blog, read my column in The Civil War News, want to learn more about Lincoln's Labels, or just want to have a (guaranteed!) enjoyable evening, please mark those dates on your calendar and make sure you introduce yourself!

Likewise, if you are making speaker plans for your own organization in the coming year, please keep me in mind, and feel free to contact me (jschmidt at lexpharma dot com) if you have any questions.

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