My Friends, Mac and Dorothy (Abraham & Mary)
By Howard Taylor
CLICK HERE FOR MORE MCCLERREN PHOTOS
CLICK HERE TO VISIT `"THE LINCOLNS" HOME
As a Charleston, Illinois native, I remembered seeing a man
around town that strikingly resembled Abraham Lincoln. It
would be a few years before I would ever meet him, but boy did
this gentleman change my life. It all started with a
Technology Literacy Fund federal education grant I won for my
school district, Charleston and neighboring Shelbyville Schools
during the 2001 school year.
The theme of the grant was "By the Light of the Fire" to
use new technologies to teach about 19th Century life,
especially the 16th President. In the midst of pre-planning I
contacted B.F. McClerren to see if he ever did shows in schools.
WRONG QUESTION! Not only did he do shows, but so did Dorothy,
I will tell more of my Abe and Mary contacts in this
tribute page. During the 2005-2006 school year as gifted
education teacher at Charleston I am conducting another Lincoln
-theme grant entitled "Lincoln Through Technology."
After working on many learning activities as listed in
I have retired from teaching, but did write a book about the
teaching of Lincoln entitled "Learning Lincoln On-line". Mac
was the inspiration for me becoming interested in Lincoln.
I'm proud to have met many of the presenters at the 2002
event. It was awe inspiring to sit with so many Lincolns, that
presented the original man in a similar way. There was even a
Georgia Abe (far left)
Taylor, center, and Mac McClerren, far right posing at
Hodgenville, Ky Lincoln Festival
Abraham and Mary with me at the February, 2006 presentation at
Carl Sandburg Elementary School
B.F. McClerren as the 16th President at the Lincoln-Douglas
May, 2006 for my 2nd grade class
A Biography of B.F. McClerren and Dorothy
(known to all as Mac and Dorothy, or Abe
depending on what they are wearing)
B.F. McClerren, Ph.D., is a retired college professor. His
educational background includes history, philosophy, theology,
and rhetoric. He was a professor at Eastern Illinois University
for thirty years. There the courses that he taught included the
Lincoln Senior Seminar. In 1990 he made a transition and is now
on the stages for all ages.
Honors bestowed include the following. On Sept. 18,1994
McClerren portrayed Lincoln for the C-Span reenactment of the
1858 Lincoln/Douglas debate at Charleston, Illinois. In 1994 the
Association of Lincoln Presenters honored him with "The Lincoln
Presenter of the Year" award. In 2002 City Lights: Time Elevator
Productions of New York City selected McClerren from a list of
twenty-five applicants to portray Lincoln in a full length
Through his presentations a variety of audiences now
witness the soul of Lincoln as he wrestles with questions of
liberty, truth, and forgiveness. They philosophize with Lincoln
the lawyer and politician, weep with Lincoln the war weary
president and grieving father, laugh with Lincoln the story
teller, and hear the heart of Lincoln as he delivers some of his
most famous speeches.
Dorothy A. McClerren is a retired elementary teacher.
With similar facial features, same height, same color of hair
and eyes, Dorothy became Mary Lincoln both on and off stage. She
realistically presents the life of Mary Todd Lincoln of
Kentucky, now of Illinois, and later in the White House.
Audiences laugh and weep with the First Lady.
Honors received by Dorothy include the following. In
1995 she received the "Best Mary Todd Lincoln Presenter of the
Year Award" from the Association of Lincoln Presenters. In 1995
Dorothy entered the Mary Lincoln Look-Alike contest at
Hodgenville, Kentucky, and there claimed first place. When she
entered the same contest again in 2002, Dorothy was again
acclaimed the number one Mary Lincoln.
When asked her purpose in portraying Mary Lincoln,
Dorothy replied: "I believe that Mary Lincoln has been much
maligned. I want to realistically represent her life in
Kentucky, Illinois, and in the White House. When my audiences
hear Mary Lincoln I want them to feel and understand her soul,
to laugh and weep with
Mac and Dorothy have demonstrated that they are one of
the best Lincoln teams on stage today. In April, 2002 The
Association of Lincoln Presenters bestowed upon them the award:
"Best Lincoln Team of the Year."
A neat little pose with several Lincoln Presenters at
the annual Hodgenville, Kentucky Lincoln Birthplace Festival.
B.F. McClerren is on the far right (I'm in the center of
course). B.F. knows he is a little too short to match the 6'4"
real thing, but has the oratorical ability and knowledge of
most important Lincoln speeches, including the Debates. Mac
has been awarded the title of "best Lincoln orator in the U.S."
and the same by WAND TV News, Decatur, Illinois.
PHOTOS OF MAC AND DOROTHY WHEN PERFORMING AT
During the 2001-2002, during my big Abe Lincoln Technology
grant, I had the help of a nearly perfect presenter of Abraham
Lincoln. The children at Cowden-Herrick Schools, grades K-8 had
a difficult time understanding that Abraham and Mary Lincoln
were not "really" present at our school. When trying to explain
that Abe and Mary were actors, it was very similar to explaining
that Santa Claus is not Santa Claus. I was amazed that even
older children were true believers.
Here are some photos of the visits of Mary and Abraham
Lincoln. The time was during the Civil War. Abraham was showing
fatigue and age since his first inauguration. In actuality,
Abraham Lincoln never returned to Illinois after moving to
Washington D.C. into the White House, but the presentation by
Mac and Dorothy, depicted him and his wife fictionally making a
trip to Central Illinois to visit with family and take care of
winning support for his war efforts. He was able to make a stop
at our little school in Shelby County. This is much what
presidents in modern times like to do. We were the lucky
school this time