Logan Hay

Logan Hay was the third president of the Lincoln Centennial Association, the forerunner of the present Abraham Lincoln Association. When John W. Bunn died in 1920, the board of directors wasted little time in electing Logan Hay as president.  Hay’s grandfather was Stephen Trigg Logan, Abraham Lincoln’s second law partner.  His father was Milton Hay, who had studied law in the Lincoln/Herndon law firm.  And John Hay, Abraham Lincoln’s personal secretary, was Logan Hay’s cousin.  If these ties to the Lincoln tradition were not sufficient, Hay was a partner in the firm of Brown, Hay & Stephens, the successor to the firm of Stuart & Lincoln.

        From 1920 until his death on June 20, 1942, Hay transformed the Association from a quiet patriotic group into the organization that set the standard for excellence in Lincoln research and publications.  It was Logan Hay who raised an endowment that allowed the Association to hire Paul M. Angle, its first full-time executive director.  The name of the organization was changed from the Lincoln Centennial Association to the Abraham Lincoln Association in order to better reflect the broader purposes and research interests of the organization.  No longer would the purpose of the Association be merely commemorative. Rather, a vigorous research agenda was set and a stable of leading Lincoln scholars was assembled to see it through to fruition.  Under Hay’s leadership, Such Lincoln classics as Benjamin Thomas’ Lincoln’s New Salem and Paul Angle’s “Here I Have Lived”:  A History of Lincoln’s Springfield, 1821-1865 were published under the Association imprint.  Both Thomas and Angle indicated their profound gratitude to Hay for his careful reading of their manuscripts and thoughtful suggestions for revisions.  Fifty-eight issues of the Association Bulletins were issued during Hay’s presidency, as well as the Abraham Lincoln Quarterly, the Association publication that became the foremost scholarly journal in the Lincoln field.  Logan Hay also began the research phase that would later culminate in the publication of Lincoln Day By Day and The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln, two of the Association’s most significant reference worksBecause of his tremendous contributions to the Association, Logan Hay’s descendants established the Logan Hay Medal as the highest honor bestowed by the Association.

      

Logan Hay was a leading member of the Springfield and Illinois bar.  He served as president of the Illinois State Bar Association in 1920 and was one of six downstate Illinois lawyers selected as charter members of the American Law Institute in 1923.  His contributions to other charitable organizations were significant.  Among his leading interests were the Abraham Lincoln Council of the Boy Scouts of America, the Associated Welfare Agencies and Springfield Hospital.  He served as a director of both the Illinois National Bank and the First National Bank of Springfield.

        Paul M. Angle summarized Logan Hay’s love of Lincoln best in the following eulogy:  “In the last seventeen years of his life, his study of the life of Lincoln, and the translation of that study, through the Association, into tangible results, was a major interest.  In his leisure time he read widely, but he was never long away from the literature of some phase of Lincoln’s career.  And there were few days when he did not devote at least some time to the affairs of the Association.  Visitors to his office, when informed that he was occupied, often asked:  ‘What is it--law or Lincoln?’  If law, they knew there was a chance that he would soon be free; if Lincoln, they were aware that he might be unavailable for hours.”

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