Ford's Theatre Lincoln Medal

The Ford’s Theatre Lincoln Medal is an annual award given to individuals who, through their body of work, accomplishments or personal attributes, exemplify the lasting legacy, and mettle of character embodied by the most beloved President in our Nation’s history, President Abraham Lincoln.

Traditionally, the Ford’s Theatre Lincoln Medal is given to recipients at the Ford’s Theatre benefit, which is held annually in the theatre where President Abraham Lincoln was shot on April 14, 1865.

Recipients of Ford’s Theatre Lincoln Medals should illuminate or reflect Lincoln’s legacy of leadership, service, humanity, wisdom, eloquence and vision in their body of work, accomplishments or personal attributes. As Ford’s Theatre serves as a connection point and reminder of Lincoln’s legacy, so must the recipients of Ford’s Theatre Lincoln Medals, helping us understand the beloved 16th President’s lasting impact in a contemporary light, and how it continues to inspire generations of Americans.

The Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees of Ford’s Theatre Society evaluates and determines who will receive Ford’s Theatre Lincoln Medals. Read an overview of the Lincoln Medal Guidelines.

The Medal

Ford’s Theatre Lincoln Medals are sterling silver circular medals that are two and half inches in diameter. On one side is a raised profile of President Abraham Lincoln with his name as well as his birth and death dates: February 12, 1809, to April 15, 1865. On the reverse side is a raised illustration of Ford’s Theatre and its date of establishment, 1863.

Winners of the Ford’s Theatre Society Lincoln Medal

Diane Nash, Civil Rights activist

The Honorable John D. Dingell, U.S. House of Representatives (D-Mich)
Mr. James Earl Jones, actor

Dr. Condoleezza Rice, former Secretary of State
Mr. Bill Russell, professional basketball player and coach

Mr. Morgan Freeman, actor
Mr. Elie Wiesel, author, professor, activist
Mr. Wayne R. Reynolds, Ford’s Theatre Society Chairman, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the American Academy of Achievement
Mr. Rex Tillerson, Vice Chair of the Ford’s Theatre Board of Trustees, previous Chair of The Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Campaign, Chairman and CEO of Exxon Mobil Corporation

Mr. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, professional basketball player and author
Ms. Julie Andrews, actress, vocalist, author, Dame Commander of the British Empire
Mr. Lee Kuan Yew, Minister Mentor of Singapore

Justice Albie Sachs, judge on the Constitutional Court of South Africa, author
Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, activist and author

Ms. Aretha Franklin, singer and songwriter
Mr. George Lucas, director
Mr. Sidney Poitier, actor

Dr. Maya Angelou, Civil Rights activist, author, dancer, actor
Ruby Dee, actress
Dr. Benjamin S. Carson, Sr., Director of the Division of Pediatric Neurosurgery, The Johns Hopkins Hospital
Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, Former Associate Justice, United States Supreme Court (1981 – 2006)

Congressman John Lewis, U.S. House of Representatives (D-GA)
Dr. James M. McPherson, George Henry Davis '86 Professor of American History, Emeritus, Princeton University

Mrs. Doris Kearns Goodwin, Historian
Dr. David Herbert Donald, Charles Warren Professor of American History and Professor of American Civilization, Emeritus, Harvard University

Mrs. Zoe Dell Lantis Nutter, Board of Trustees, Ford's Theatre Society
Mr. Nicholas D. Chabraja, Chairman and CEO, General Dynamics

Mr. Robert Iger, President and CEO, The Walt Disney Company
Mr. Carl Lindner, Chairman and CEO, American Financial Group

Mrs. Laura Bush, First Lady of the United States

Mr. Donald J. Carty, Chairman and CEO, American Airlines

The Honorable Walter J. Hickel, Secretary of the Interior
The Honorable Ronald H. Walker, Director, National Park Service

Mr. James Whitmore, Actor

Mrs. Tricia Lott, Gala Chair and wife of Senator Trent Lott, (R-MS)

Mrs. Hillary Rodham Clinton, First Lady of the United States

Mr. Robert Stanton , Director, National Park Service

Edward P. Faberman, Assistant General Counsel and Vice President, Government Affairs, American Airlines

Mrs. Peatsy Hollings, Gala Chair and wife of Senator Fritz Hollings (D-SC)
Mrs. Ann Simpson, Gala Chair and wife of Senator Alan Simpson (R-WY)

Mrs. Lady Bird Johnson, First Lady of the United States
Mr. Joseph Cates, Gala Producer

Mrs. Barbara Bush, First Lady of the United States

Mr. William F. McSweeny Chairman Emeritus, Ford’s Theatre Society Board of Trustees

Congressman Sidney Yates, U.S. House of Representatives (D-IL)

Mrs. Frankie Hewitt, Founder and Producing Artistic Director, Ford’s Theatre Society
Mr. Tom Berra, Technical Director, Ford’s Theatre Society

The Honorable Stewart Udall, Secretary of the Interior

Mrs. Nancy Reagan, First Lady of the United States

Mr. Gerald Freed, The Freed Foundation

Mrs. Joy Dirksen Baker, Gala Chair and wife of Senator Howard Baker (R-TN)

Mrs. Millie O’Neill, Gala Chair and wife of Congressman Thomas P. O’Neill, Jr. , Speaker, US House of Representatives (D-MA)

Mr. Clyde Wheeler, Vice President, Government Relations, Sun Oil Company

Mr. C. William Verity, Chairman Emeritus, Ford’s Theatre Society Board of Trustees & Founder, Ford’s Theatre Society Board of Governors

Senator Milton Young, Sr., (R-ND)