About Our Speakers


April 3-April 5, 2020



E. LAWRENCE ABEL will be speaking on Lucy Hale, A Woman To Be Reckoned With.  Mr. Abel (University of Toronto PhD) is emeritus professor at Wayne State University’s School of Medicine and former Director of the University Mott Center for Human Growth and Development.  He is also among past presidents of the Behavioral Teratology Society and the Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Study Group. He is the author of more than 40 non-fiction books under the name Ernest L. Abel and 4 books on Civil War subjects (Singing The New Nation; Confederate Music; A Finger in Lincoln’s Brain; and John Wilkes Booth and the Women Who loved Him).  “Ernie” is a member of the Michigan Civil War Round Table, the National Museum of Civil War Medicine, the American Name Society, the Association of Graveyard Studies, and is a Life Member of the Surratt Society.

FRANCIS J. GORMAN was the attorney for Green Mount Cemetery in Baltimore in May of 1995, when a 1994 Petition to Exhume, filed by two collateral Booth descendants, was sent to trial in the Circuit Court of Baltimore City.  Fueled by the ongoing contention that John Wilkes Booth escaped death in 1865, the descendants, their lawyer, and others sought to waive the Cemetery’s previous refusals to have the Booth remains disinterred and examined.  This led to four days of trial, sixteen witnesses, and many exhibits. Mr. Gorman’s presentation at our conference, Sixteen Witnesses: The Testimony in the Booth Exhumation Trial, will discuss each witness and his/her testimony – why each was selected, the testimony given, its relative significance, and what testimony had the most influence on the court’s decision to deny the Petition to Exhume.

Frank is a graduate of the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service and the Georgetown University Law Center.  He is a founding partner of Gorman & Williams with offices in Baltimore and Washington, D.C. As a trial attorney for 50 years, his scope of experience includes business and commercial law, maritime law, and patents, copyrights and trademarks cases with concentration on intellectual property and litigation matters as well as patent and other IP licenses, trademark and copyright registrations, domain name issues, take down notices, and other internet matters.  Frank is a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers; in 2005, received the Maryland State Bar Association Lee Caplan Pro Bono Award; and has taught law classes at the University of Baltimore School of Law and the University of Maryland School of Law. Growing up in Washington, Frank developed an interest in the Civil War and the Lincoln assassination, which intensified after the Booth exhumation trial. He is a member of The Surratt Society and the Lincoln Group of the District of Columbia.

LEON GREENE will be presenting on The Confederate Yellow Fever Conspiracy, which is the title of his 2019 book on Dr. Luke Blackburn’s plot to spread germ warfare in the North in order to turn the tide of war in favor of the Confederacy.  With a few recruits, Blackburn began to wage war from Canada with plans that would take him to Bermuda, the Virgin Islands, and Cuba. This talk will explore the mind and motives of a previously respected physician who decided to use his medical skills for a diabolical purpose of spreading an epidemic to the North.  Could it have worked?

Leon’s first career was as a cardiologist.  Educated at Johns Hopkins University, where he received his M.D. degree in 1969, he completed his medical internship and residency at Duke University before heading back to Hopkins where he trained in cardiology and served on the faculty at Johns Hopkins Hospital from 1973 until 1979.  He then ventured to Seattle where he was affiliated with a hospital of the University of Washington, studying causes and treatments of cardiac arrest. Leon has authored over 250 medical scientific articles, 300 abstracts, 30 book chapters, and 3 books – always researching and writing.

After a second career delivering medical care at a Christian missionary hospital in Honduras for eight years, he turned his attention to historical research, letting his medical training guide his approach toward discovering historical events and their causes.  Currently an Emeritus Professor of Medicine at the University of Washington, Leon is dedicated to historical accuracy, honed by decades of medical sleuthing into causes and treatments for often obscure diseases.

DIANE T. PUTNEY is writing a book on the history of Ford’s Theatre and will share some of her findings with conference attendees as she speaks on The Fall and Rise of Ford’s Theatre, 1865-1968.  Diane spent her career as a civilian historian working for the Department of Defense.  For the U.S. Air Force program, she served as chief historian for the Air Force Intelligence Agency, assistant deputy for readiness and field programs, and the Pentagon team chief.  With the Historical Office of the Office of the Secretary of Defense, she retired as deputy chief historian.  

Diane is the editor of ULTRA and the Army Air Forces in World War II; the author of Airpower Advantage: Planning the Gulf War Air Campaign, 1989-1991; and the co-author of Pentagon 9/11.  Her award medals include the Air Force Civilian Exemplary Service Medal and the Secretary of Defense Medal for Meritorious Service.

Her M.A. is from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland and her Ph.D. from Marquette University in Milwaukee.  While doing research for a Pentagon corridor exhibit on the history of the defense civilian workforce, she came across a news article about the deaths of Army clerks at Ford’s Theatre in 1893. She wondered, “Why on earth were Army clerks at Ford’s Theatre and how did they die?”  That question marked the start of her interest in the history of America’s most famous playhouse.

SCOTT SCHROEDER will share with us his research on Lew Wallace: Biographical Portrait of a Trial Commissioner – a man who, from an early age, aspired to be great.  To students of the Lincoln assassination, his name is familiar as a commissioner for the 1865 trial of the conspirators.  But, his role in that trial is only a small part of the incredibly diverse and fascinating life he led as a lawyer, soldier, author, artist, politician, and diplomat.  With each of these roles came a host of interesting tales to tell, as we will see in this overview of the life of Lew Wallace, one of the renaissance men of the 19th century.

Scott is a native South Dakotan and an independent historian and researcher.  He is a professional Physical Therapist and Certified Athletic Trainer, currently practicing in southern Indiana, and is an adjunct faculty member at two universities.  He is a lover of American history with the American Civil War and Abraham Lincoln being of particular interest. Among other organizations, he is a member of the Society of Civil War Historians, the Abraham Lincoln Association, the Lincoln Forum, and is a lifetime member of the Surratt Society.  He currently serves as President and Program Coordinator for the Monroe County Civil War Roundtable in Bloomington, Indiana. Scott is working on several writing and other projects related to Abraham Lincoln.

DAVE TAYLOR is a Lincoln assassination and Booth family researcher and runs and maintains the website BoothieBarn.com, which provides information on the assassination through articles, maps, videos, travelogues, and picture galleries.  He has presented at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield, Illinois, and on live television about his interest in the tragedy at Ford’s Theatre. Dave is one of the narrators for the John Wilkes Booth Escape Route bus tours sponsored by the Surratt Society.  When not searching for graves or giving speeches on the subject of the Booth family at Tudor Hall, Dave is an elementary school teacher in Southern Maryland.

Last April, Dave and wife Kate marked their first wedding anniversary by spending several days touring and camping at Fort Jefferson in the Dry Tortugas and surrounding waterways.  In his speech for our 2020 conference, The Prisoners of Shark Island: Fort Jefferson and the Lincoln Conspirators, Dave will discuss what prison life was like for the four conspirators sent to the isolated Dry Tortugas for their roles in the crime of the century.


A delightful Special Blend of harmony as an old-fashioned quartet of that name takes the stage to carry us back to the nostalgic days of good music, understandable lyrics, and cheerful repartee – known as Barbershop Quartets.

Participants in our Authors' Hour  to be announced.