Several Brooklyn members of the Civil War Round Table helped honor award-winning actor Sam Waterston as the recipient of the Barondess/Lincoln Award on Feb.16. Shown left to right, Liz Lushpenko, attorney and associate at Connors & Sullivan, Michael Connors, CWRT board member and partner at Connors & Sullivan, Sam Waterston, Dozier Hasty, publisher of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle. Photo by Kate Attardo


Brooklyn members of the Civil War Round Table helped fill a packed house at the Three West Club on 51st Street off Fifth Avenue in Manhattan recently. The star attraction of the evening was not a scholar or writer covering the formative event in American history, as is often the case. Instead it was one of the most well-recognized and respected actors in the universe.

On February 16, 2011, the Civil War Round Table of New York, celebrating its 60th Anniversary, presented the prestigious BARONDESS/LINCOLN AWARD for the 50th consecutive year. This year’s receipient was actor Sam Waterston.

The 2010 BARONDESS/LINCOLN AWARD was presented at the Round Table’s 547st meeting by Harold Holzer, Civil War Round Table of New York Board Member, prolific author, four-time winner of the Barondess/Lincoln Award, and Co-Chairperson of the United States Lincoln Bicentennial Commission; Charles Mander, Round Table President; and Terry McCarthy, Barondess/Lincoln Award Committee Chairperson. The BARONDESS/LINCOLN AWARD was established fifty years ago in 1960. Dr. Barondess was a distinguished charter member of the club and former vice president of the Civil War Round Table of New York, and this award is presented in his memory. The award, in the form of a copy of a bust of Lincoln, is given annually “to any person or institution and for any contribution to the greater appreciation of the life and works of Abraham Lincoln.” Previous distinguished winners have included Doris Kearns Goodwin, Craig Symonds, Gabor Boritt, William Gienapp, William C. Davis, Gary Wills, William Safire and Gore Vidal, just to name a few.

In bestowing this year’s award, Messers. Mander, McCarthy and Holzer all paid homage to long-time Barondess/Lincoln Award Committee Chairperson and former President of the Round Table, Len Rehner, In his last official act for the Civil War Round Table of New York, the scholarly and passionate Mr. Rehner had proudly announced, “At long last, we are doing what we’ve wanted to do for so many years and give the Barondess Award to the legendary star Sam Waterston for his marvelous portrayals of Abraham Lincoln throughout the years.” Sadly, Mr. Rehner passed away suddenly in December 2010.
Growing up in rural Massachusetts and a descendent of a Mayflower voyager, Sam Waterston has portrayed Abraham Lincoln onstage in a Tony-nominated performance in a revival of Robert Sherwood’s Abe Lincoln in Illinois in 1993 and onscreen in Gore Vidal’s Emmy-winning television mini-series, Lincoln, with Mary Tyler Moore as Mary Todd. He was the voice of Abraham Lincoln is Ken Burns’ PBS award-winning documentary, The Civil War. Additionally, if you travel to the new Visitor Center at Gettysburg National Military Park, it is Mr. Waterston’s voice of authority, passion and grace that you will hear giving the Gettysburg Address. He has also done memorable Lincoln readings at Cooper Union in New York City and at the White House, usually accompanied by eminent Lincoln scholar Harold Holzer. Mr. Waterston has starred most famously in 368 episodes of television’s Law & Order, movies including his Oscar-nominated performance in The Killing Fields, and many other films, plays and television shows.
Founded in 1951, The Civil War Round Table of New York generally meets the second Wednesday of the month from September to June. Members assist each other with research, discuss preservation strategy for endangered battlefields, and listen to distinguished speakers talk about a particular aspect of the war. For the year 2010/2011, the club’s meeting location is the 3 West Club, 3 West 51st Street in Manhattan. In 2011, the Civil War Round Table of New York will celebrate its 60th Anniversary at the prestigious Fletcher Pratt Award Meeting on May 11th. The Fletcher Pratt Award is given for the Best Civil War Non-Fiction Book and has been awarded for the past 56 consecutive years. This Special 60th Anniversary Celebration will be an extended four-hour meeting including discussions, panels and speakers including such Civil War luminaries as Historian Bud Robertson, Author Harold Holzer, Artist Mort Kunstler, this year’s Fletcher Pratt Award Winner Don Stoker (The Grand Design), and others. For more information on the Civil War Round Table of New York or the 60th Anniversary Meeting, please contact The Civil War Round Table of New York at our mailing address: 139-33 250th Street, Rosedale, New York 11422. Or, if you prefer, call 718-341-9811, or email us at Check out our website at
A number of years ago, Dr. Mark D. Zimmerman was attempting to negotiate the purchase of a Roman death mask at an antique store. Hanging nearby was a plaster mask the origin of which no one seemed to know other than it had been included in a large estate sale whose contents were not well documented. As it turned out, it happened to be the mask of Abraham Lincoln. After several years of Internet searches and endless phone calls to private individuals, major museums, private collections, and many other sources, Dr. Zimmerman realized that this mask was an authentic 19th century cast from the original 1860 Leonard Wells Volk life mask. The mask was evaluated at a major university archival research center. Comparisons were made with their own authentic Lincoln Plaster Mask, and the facial markings, structure and measurements necessary to provide authenticity were exact. Dr. Zimmerman took the plaster cast to the Bronzart foundry in Sarasota, Florida, and they carefully reproduced the exact mask in bronze from the plaster using the “lost wax technique.” The Bronze mask weighs approximately 15 pounds with the base of polished black absolute granite weighing 14 pounds. Abraham Lincoln’s exact signature is inscribed in the front of the base. The face swivels on a brass pin imported from Italy. The total height is approximately 15 inches and the mask alone is 12.5 inches. Through his generosity, Dr. Zimmerman donated these pieces of art to the Civil War Round Table of New York to be used as the Barondess/Lincoln Award.
CAPTION: From left to right: Harold Holzer, CWRT of NY Board Member; Charles Mander, CWRT of NY President; Sam Waterston, Barondess/Lincoln Award Winner; Dr. Mark Zimmerman; Terry McCarthy, Barondess/Lincoln Committee Chairperson