Rushville Mayor Mike Pavey recently welcomed two-time Pulitzer Prize winning historian and New York University Professor David Lewis to Rushville to discuss Rushville's role in shaping 1940 Republican Presidential candidate Wendell Willkie and the impact Willkie has had on the City of Rushville, the State of Indiana and the United States.
Lewis came to Rushville to do research for a new biography on Wendell Willkie to be published in 2014. Civic leaders joining Mayor Pavey for lunch at the Park Restaurant to discuss Willkie with Professor Lewis included former Rushville Mayor John McCane; Franklin County GOP Chairman John Worth; Rushville City Council member Brian Sheehan; long-time Rushville native Mrs. Luella Goins; representatives of the Rush County Historical Society, retired Rush County High School teacher Al Hodge and Will Cameron; as well as Willkie grandson and Rushville native David Willkie.
Professor Lewis heard stories of Willkie as well as testimonies of his role in history, especially his understanding of the nature of economics, trade and employment; advocacy for a united front in the face of World War II; and promotion of individual freedoms and liberty for all people, ideas that were ahead of his time.
Lewis also learned how the Willkie family has continued to be an integral part of this community. Ê
During his tour of Rushville, Professor Lewis visited the Willkie home, the Willkie gravesite at East Hill Cemetery and the Rush County Historical Society Museum. He also visited with local businessman Paul Barada Sr. and Rushville native Ed Pribble.
Professor Lewis was drawn to Rushville after seeing the CSPAN Contenders program on Wendell Willkie, which was broadcasted from Rushville last fall. In addition to visiting Rushville, Professor Lewis travels to Indiana also included trips to Elwood and the Lilly Library at Indiana University.