Standing behind a podium at Auburn High School, Doris Kearns Goodwin told the sold out crowd she turned down an invitation for a private screening of the film "Lincoln" at the White House with President Obama, instead choosing to speak in Auburn Thursday evening.
The crowd applauded and chuckled, thrilled by the fact that she chose to be in Auburn the same night the film based on her book was set to hit the theaters. It was her way of repaying the town for their support when she was trying to soak up the rich history of former Lincoln cabinet member William Henry Seward, whose preserved house is located on 33 State Street in Auburn. Her research was for her book, "Team of Rivals", featuring President Abraham Lincoln and his cabinet.
"I came to Auburn at the very beginning of the research of the Lincoln book, and being at Seward's house really began the journey, so I am so grateful to this place and to that house, and to have them all come out tonight it's wonderful," Goodwin says.
Hundreds also showed up to the Springside Inn, where Goodwin signed books for fans. Many were Auburn natives, who beamed with pride for their town's history, saying having a world renowned historian like Goodwin in town was great for the area. Some calling Auburn, "History's hometown."
"This is a great shot in the arm for our town," John Callahan, an Auburn native says. "To get the publicity we truly deserve."
As a fan of politics and Goodwin in general, Callahan and his wife Patti made sure their moment with Goodwin counted, telling her about their children in Boston, (where Goodwin was the first female journalist inside the Boston Red Sox locker room), which Goodwin appreciated.
"That's the great thing," Goodwin says. "When you write about history, it strikes people somehow, for some memory of a grandfather or a great grandfather, or some experience that was like this, and they always do share it, which brings it alive."