The Robert Fortenbaugh Memorial Lecture is presented each year on November 19, the anniversary of the Gettysburg Address. The goal of the lecture is to speak to the literate general public without abandoning solid scholarly moorings. The series was sustained during its first two decades by an endowment contributed by Mr. and Mrs. Clyde B. Gerberich of Mt. Joy, Pennsylvania, in honor of Professor Fortenbaugh, who taught history at Gettysburg from 1923 until his death in 1959. The endowment has been substantially supplemented by the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Harry D. Holloway Fund, and the Hewlett Foundation. In 1990 the alumni and friends of Gettysburg College made special contributions to commemorate the 79 years of combined service to Gettysburg College by Professors Basil L. Crapster and Charles H. Glatfelter, who retired in 1988 and 1989, respectively. The roll of donors includes Michael Bishop (Gettysburg '57), the winner of the 1989 Nobel Prize in Medicine. The Fortenbaugh Fund continues to welcome contributions from the friends of the lecture and the College.
The first Fortenbaugh Lecture was delivered in 1962 by Bruce Catton. He was followed by David Herbert Donald, John Hope Franklin, Willie Lee Rose, Richard N. Current, C. Van Woodward, Kenneth M. Stampp, Drew Gilpin Faust, Elizabeth Fox Genovese, Eric Foner, Jean H. Baker, Mark E. Neely, Jr., and other luminaries of American historical writing. With the 21st lecture by Jacques Barzun, in 1982, in the 151st year of Gettysburg College, the private printing of the lecture commenced. In 1992 Oxford University Press published, and the Book of the Month Club made an alternate selection of, a collection of revised lectures from recent years: Gabor Boritt, ed., Lincoln, the War President: The Gettysburg Lectures.
The Fortenbaugh Fund continues to welcome contributions from the friends of the Lecture and the College. For further information call the Civil War Institute at (717) 337-6590 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org