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Lincoln Group Activities
In October 1990, Richard N. Current spoke on "Lincoln and the Loyalists: His Soldiers From the South," and on February 12, Mark E. Neely, Jr., delivered "The Fate of Liberty: Abraham Lincoln and Civil Liberties" before the Lincoln Group of the District of Columbia. The group has published a new membership directory.
The Lincoln Fellowship of Pennsylvania heard Harold Holzer talk about "Lincoln on Democracy" on November 19, 1990. Jack F. Kemp, secretary of Housing and Urban Development, delivered the address at the Soldiers' National Cemetery. His paper is available from his office. Harold Holzer also delivered his paper before the Lincoln Group of the District of Columbia on September 18, 1990, the Lincoln Group of Boston on December 8, 1990, and at the fifty-first annual meeting of the Lincoln Fellowship of Wisconsin on April 7, 1991.
Steve Rosswurm presented a series of lectures entitled "The Civil War in Perspective" at the Chicago Historical Society on November 7, 14, and 28, 1990, that focused on the growth of the Republican party and the greatness of Lincoln as a politician and military commander.
Carl N. Degler delivered the twenty-ninth annual Robert Fortenbaugh Memorial Lecture on November 19, 1990, at Gettysburg College: "One Among Many: The American Civil War in Comparative Perspective." An extract appeared in the New York Times on February 12, "Lincoln: Was He America's Bismarck?" in which Degler compared Lincoln to Otto von Bismarck, who achieved Germany's unification in 1871. Both, according to Degler, forged nations. His paper is available from Gettysburg College.
The eleventh annual Illinois History Symposium was held on November 30 and December 1, 1990. Harlington Wood, Jr., chaired the session on "The Lincoln Legals Papers Project," which included papers by William D. Beard ("Barrett v. Alton and Sangamon Page [End Page 57] Railroad Company") and Joanne R. Walroth ("Abraham Lincoln Circuit Court Case Work: A Report from Menard County"). Arthur McEvoy commented. Robert Bray presented his controversial "Reading Between the Texts: With Malice Toward None and Benjamin Thomas's Abraham Lincoln" (see "Stephen B. Oates and Robert Bray," p. 99), and Douglas Wilson presented "Abraham Lincoln, Joshua Speed and 'That Fatal First of January.'" James Hurt presented "With Malice Toward Some: The Historiography of Stephen Oates." G. Cullom Davis commented.
The eighteenth annual Abraham Lincoln symposium sponsored by the Abraham Lincoln Association, the Illinois State Historical Society, and the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency was held at the Old State Capitol in Springfield on February 12. Papers were presented by Douglas Wilson and Charles B. Strozier discussing Lincoln's last law partner and biographer, William H. Herndon. The year 1991 marked the centennial of Herndon's death. As curmudgeonly and outrageous as Herndon could be, both presenters and commentator Rodney O. Davis indicated how important it was to not ignore Herndon but to continue to study him and his work in order to ascertain the truth about Lincoln. Tom Wicker, New York Times columnist and author of Unto This Hour, delivered the banquet address. Wicker pointed out that dissent must be allowed in wartime even though free speech "can't be as free in wartime as in peace." The nucleus of his banquet address appeared in his column for the New York Times on February 13 as "Lincoln and the Gulf."
At the Lincoln Group of Boston on February 9, William E. Gienapp discussed how Lincoln was shaped by the unique political culture of antebellum America, and how he, in turn, contributed to that culture after he became president.
On February 7, Harold Holzer presented "Two Views of Abraham Lincoln" before the Lincoln Club of Delaware.
The speeches of Abraham Lincoln were the topic at the Illinois Writers Past and Present program on February 10 at the Nichols Library, Naperville, with Mark E. Neely, Jr., as guest speaker.
John Y. Simon delivered "In Search of Lincoln" before the Civil War Round Table in Chicago on April 14. Jean Baker presented "Mary Todd Loncoln" at the June 14 meeting of the group.
The Lincoln Museum in Fort Wayne, Indiana, has prepared a handsome new descriptive brochure about the museum and its collections and has also prepared a souvenir facsimile of the fifth and final draft of the Gettysburg Address. The original now hangs in the Lincoln Room of the White House. Page [End Page 58]
Thomas F. Schwartz, curator of the Henry Horner Lincoln Collection at the Illinois State Historical Library, spoke on "Lincoln in Springfield" when he delivered the fourth annual Harman Memorial Lincoln Lecture, at Washburn University, Topeka, on March 7.
Cullom Davis, director and senior editor of the Lincoln Legal Papers Project, spoke on "Lincoln the Lawyer" before the Lincoln Group of Florida on February 23. The group's first annual Basler Memorial Lincoln Symposium featured Freda Postle Koch on "Writing About Lincoln and Coggeshall" and Richard R. Adicks delivered "Writing a Lincoln Assassination Novel."
The annual ceremonies at the Lincoln Memorial commemorating the 182nd birthday of Lincoln featured the annual wreath-laying by Vice-President Dan Quayle and the recitation of the Gettysburg Address by Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Jack Kemp.
The annual Lincoln Day observance at the New York Avenue Presbyterian Church was held on February 10 with readings from Lincoln by Nancy Grosshans.
Philip C. Stone of the Harrisonburg-Rockingham Historical Society in Dayton, Virginia, led the annual cemeteries at the Lincoln Family Cemetery on Linville Creek in the Shenandoah Valley on February 12. Here, Lincoln's great-grandparents are buried and his father was born.
The ubiquitous Wayne C. Temple presented "Living with Lincoln" at the Tagathon Club in Springfield, Illinois, on February 5 and "Lincoln at Gettysburg" at the thirty-fifth annual Lincoln Tomb Ceremony on April 15 in Springfield. Temple also delivered the keynote address at the Memorial Day services of the Illinois Grand Army of the Republic on May 27.
Documentary filmmaker Ken Burns delivered the annual William B. Williams Lecture at Brown University on May 10. The title of his talk, "Mystic Chords of Memory," is from Lincoln's first inaugural address.
Merrill D. Peterson spoke on " 'This Grand Pertinacity': Abraham Lincoln and the Declaration of Independence" for the 1991 R. Gerald McMurtry Lecture at the Lincoln Museum on May 16.
The Supreme Council, 33d degree, Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite, Northern Masonic Jurisdiction, United States of America, has proposed a 26th degree, to be named after Abraham Lincoln.
Hans L. Trefousse delivered "Lincoln Chooses a Vice President: The Succession of Andrew Johnson" at the April 24 meeting of the Lincoln Group of New York. Page [End Page 59]
Former Illinois Governor James R. Thompson delivered the annual address to the Stephen A. Douglas Association on June 1, "Stephen A. Douglas: Advocate of America First."
The annual meeting of the Lincoln Group of Illinois was held at Illinois Benedictine College, Lisle, on June 15. Lewis P. Mallow, Jr., offered his audio-visual production of "The Life of May Todd Lincoln."
William D. Beard of the Lincoln Legals staff presented the seventh annual Lloyd Ostendorf Lecture at Lincoln Memorial University, Harrogate, Tennessee, "We Thanked the Lord for the Illinois Central."
Awards and Prizes
Mario Cuomo and Harold Holzer received the first annual Achievement Award of the Abraham Lincoln Association and the Bardoness/Lincoln Award of the Civil War Round Table of New York for their Lincoln on Democracy. Governor Cuomo received the Lincoln Group of New York Award of Achievement for initiating this anthology.
Ralph G. Newman, a founder of the Civil War Round Table of Chicago, past president of the Ulysses S. Grant Association, and chair of the board of directors of the Stephen A. Douglas Association, was honored at the fiftieth anniversary celebration of the Civil War Round Table. For his work, the extensive Civil War Collection of the Chicago Public Library was named in his honor.
Ken Burns, producer of The Civil War for the Public Broadcasting System, was the winner of the first $50,000 Gettysburg College prize presented on February 9, received the New York Civil War Round Table's Bell I. Wiley Award, and was given an honorary doctorate of humane letters from Springfield College (Illinois) on May 17.
John Hope Franklin received one of seven achievement awards from Morehouse College, Atlanta.
Don Fehrenbacher received the Lincoln Diploma of Honor from Lincoln Memorial University.
The tenth annual Lincoln Era Essay Contest, sponsored by the endowment from the estate of Frank L. Jones and administered by the Lilly Library, was held by Indiana University. Page [End Page 60]
Janis E. Harrison of Huntsville, Alabama, whose late husband's great-grandfather was the defendant Lincoln represented in a murder trial, donated the one-hundred-page People of Illinois v. Peachy Quinn Harrison transcript to the Illinois State Historical Library as a result of the transcript's coming to light when the Lincoln Papers Project began. Harrison, who retained literary and dramatic control over the transcript, has found a West Coast producer to develop a television show based on the trial in which lawyer Lincoln defends the son of a political ally in a murder trial hinging on the victim's deathbed testimony. A reproduction of the cover page for the transcript is given to those who contribute to the project. Cullom Davis's essay "Lincoln the Lawyer" is distributed to those who contribute $100 or more.
The Lincoln Papers Project has created two categories for contributors: "Partner" for those who contribute in the aggregate $1,500 and "Senior Partner" for those who contribute $5,000 or more. Handsome lucite mementos with the logo of the Lincoln Legals Project are presented to the recipients.
It was reported at the Project's advisory board meeting on February 12 that twenty-one thousand documents relating to Lincoln's career were in hand, and the staff had examined nine hundred cases in which Lincoln was involved. Such examination has led to new finds, for example, an astounding forty-three-page legal document in Lincoln's hand but without his signature was found in a dusty metal box at the Macoupin County Courthouse (reported in the July 31 issue of the State Journal-Register). It is now known that the number of cases in which Lincoln appeared before the Illinois Supreme Court has risen to 355, more than a hundred more than Harry Pratt originally listed.
Bill Furry profiled the Lincoln Legal Papers Project in "The Missing Lincoln" for the March 21 issue of Illinois Times.
Lincoln Home National Historic Site
On February 12, as part of the Lincoln Heritage Lectures at the Lincoln Home National Historic Site, Jame Stevenson delivered "A Providential Theology: Shakespeare's Influence on Lincoln's Second Inaugural Address," and Mark E. Neely, Jr., discussed his book, The Fate of Liberty: Abraham Lincoln on Civil Liberties. Page [End Page 61]
Awards were presented for the fifth annual Lincoln Essay Competition on February 10. This eighth-grade competition for students in Illinois had as its theme "Lincoln as President."
A special presentation entitled "Abraham Lincoln: A Biography in Words and Music" was presented at the Visitors Center on February 10. Actor Fritz Klein portrayed Lincoln in an 1865 political rally. Other events during the year included a slide presentation on June 18 entitled "New Salem Traditions"; a slide presentation entitled "Lincoln the Lawyer in Logan County" on June 19 and August 1; a presentation entitled "Mr. Lincoln's Religion" on June 20; a marionette performance by the DePriest Puppets entitled "Abraham Lincoln: New Salem to Springfield" on June 22 and August 25; a dramatization by Paul Presney, Jr., who plays William Herndon, on June 24, July 8, and August 19; a multidimensional presentation of "Mr. Lincoln's World" on June 25 and August 5; slide presentations of "The Life of Abraham Lincoln" and "The Life of Mary Todd Lincoln" on June 27; a twilight tour of the historic neighborhood on July 4, August 8, and August 25; a slide presentation entitled "Lincoln's Campaign Manager: David Davis" on July 10 and August 14; a dramatized interview with Mary Todd Lincoln's sister, Mrs. Elizabeth Todd Edwards, on July 15 and August 12; a slide presentation entitled "Lincoln Home Archaeology" on July 22; a slide presentation entitled "The Restoration of the Lincoln Home" on July 30; and a slide presentation entitled "Illinois Wildlife of the Lincoln Era" on July 18 and August 15.
Kim Burford's article "Park Service Proposal on Lincoln Center Stirs Preservationist's Ire," appearing in the Illinois Times February 14–20 issue, pointed out how in the case of a proposed $52.6 million Abraham Lincoln research and interpretive center the Historical Preservation Society of Springfield wants the NPS to use the historical buildings that date back to Lincoln's time. The intent of the study is to build a new facility. Representative Dick Durbin of Lincoln's old 7th Congressional District is pressing for a funding request for site acquisition. Other concerns dominate this proposal. Where will the historical and Lincoln material come from? What institutions are expected to give up their own treasure for this facility, and under what conditions? The Springfield State Journal-Register on May 25 reported that some state authorities, including Governor Jim Edgar, have expressed interest in cooperating with the project, including the possibility of loans of Lincoln materials from the Illinois State Historical Library.
The Eastern National Park and Monument Association, the Na- Page [End Page 62] tional Park Service, and the Lincoln National Home Historic Site have published Restoring Mr. Lincoln's Home with text by Judith Winkelmann.
Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial Lincoln City, Indiana
The Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial in Lincoln City, Indiana, celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of the Nancy Hanks Lincoln Memorial Building. The cornerstone was laid on May 20, 1941, the end of work that began in 1926 to "preserve the grave of Nancy Hanks Lincoln and to erect a suitable, simple, yet dignified Memorial to both Lincoln and his mother." In 1962, the state of Indiana entrusted the Memorial Building and grounds to the stewardship of the National Park Service. On August 21, 1966, the Memorial Visitor Center was formally dedicated as a part of Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial. The year 1991 also represents the 175th anniversary of the Lincoln family's migration to Indiana in 1816, the year Indiana became a state. "We removed from Kentucky to what is now Spencer County, Indiana, in my eighth year. We reached our new home about the time the state came into the Union" (Abraham Lincoln's autobiographical letter to J. W. Fell on December 20, 1859).
The Historical Society of Delaware presented Divided Nation, Divided State: Delaware and the Civil War on August 4, 10, and 17, 1990. Ken Burns discussed his documentary The Civil War on October 4; James Getty portrayed President Lincoln on October 10; and James McPherson delivered his paper interpreting "America's greatest crisis" on October 17.
Lee C. Moorehead conducted his "Long Look at Lincoln" on June 28, 29, and 30 in Springfield, New Salem, and Petersburg.
The Annual Civil War Institute at Gettysburg College was held from June 23 to June 29, with papers by James M. McPherson ("Why Did the Confederacy Lose?") and Harold Holzer ("The Lincoln Family Album").
The Organization of American Historians at its conference in Louisville, Kentucky, on April 13 heard Dwight T. Pitcaithley deliver "A Splendid Hoax: The Strange Case of Lincoln's Birthplace Cabin," Page [End Page 63] with comments by Charles W. Calhoun, Mark E. Neely, Jr., and Gabor S. Boritt, who presided. Frederick J. Blue delivered "The Emancipation Proclamation: Salmon P. Chase and Abraham Lincoln," with comments by James P. Stewart and Louis S. Gerteis as part of a session entitled "The Politics of Divided Counsels: Antislavery Republicans and Lincoln's Emancipation Policy" presided over by James A. Rawley.
On October 10–13 the Civil War Society held a seminar, "A Closer Look at A. Lincoln," in Springfield, Illinois, with tours of the Lincoln home, Lincoln-Herndon law office, the Old State Capitol, New Salem Village, and the Lincoln Tomb. Papers were given by Mark E. Neely, Jr., Harold Holzer, and William E. Gienapp.
The Lincoln Colloquium sponsored by the Lincoln Home National Historic Site was held on October 26 in Springfield with papers by myself ("Lincoln's World Stature: A Comparison With Other World Leaders of the Time"), Richard N. Current ("Lincoln's Loyalists in the South"), James M. McPherson ("Who Freed the Slaves"), and John Y. Simon ("Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation").
After forty years and eleven volumes containing a thousand pages each, at a total cost of $2 million, the work of producing The Papers of Henry Clay has been concluded. In honor of the publication of the final volume, the King Library at the University of Kentucky, Lexington, conducted a symposium on June 21–22 at which Mark E. Neely, Jr., spoke on "Henry Clay, Lincoln and War." Robert V. Remini spoke at a celebratory dinner on June 21, delivering "Henry Clay: Spokesman for the Union" based on his forthcoming biography of Clay. The exhibition "Henry Clay: Images of a Statesman" was prepared for the occasion.
"Perspectives on the War in the West" sponsored by the Civil War Society (August 14–17) included a paper by John T. Hubble, "Lincoln and the War in the West."
In his "On Language" column in the New York Times Sunday Magazine on September 2, 1990, William Safire discussed whether or not to use the word blockade to describe interdiction in the Persian Gulf in order to thwart Iraqi shipping. He described how international law defines blockade as an act of war and how the use of the word presented a problem for Lincoln, who although blockading the South did not want to give the South official status as a Page [End Page 64] belligerent for what he termed an insurrection. Why didn't Lincoln use the term interdiction or quarantine?
In a column that appeared in the Providence Journal-Bulletin on October 26, 1990, Safire notes that someone like General Grant was needed to take care of the Iraqi problem and to implement a Lincoln-like strategy to "take casualties as needed to wear down a smaller enemy" and not equivocate like a General McClellan, but to prevail fully and completely. This was published before the emergence of General H. Norman Schwarzkopf.
James Krohe, Jr., of Illinois Times discussed his displeasure over the National Park Service's treatment of the Lincoln Home Site in "Ghost Houses" for the November 21–28, 1990 issue. Krohe does not believe that the NPS achieved its promise to recreate the Eighth Street of the 1850s. To him, the area has been made too neat and tidy, with white picket fences and cleaned-up lots.
Cartoonist Ohman, in his piece for The Oregonian for September 28, 1990, has President Bush dressed as Abraham Lincoln, saying "With Malice Toward Iraq, With Charity for the Rich."
A Mike Royko column that appeared in the Ashtabula (Ohio) Star Bulletin on November 19, 1990, described his outrage at scheduling the Super Bowl in Florida—a state that has no holiday commemorating Lincoln's birthday. According to Royko, "If it hadn't been for Lincoln, there wouldn't even be a Super Bowl as all the players would be white."
The Providence Journal-Bulletin on February 13 featured an essay by Paul Greenberg, editorial page editor of the Pine Bluff (Arkansas) Commercial, headlined "Lincoln—the Power of Myth." Greenberg feels Lincoln was a "moral realist," a rarity in any age, as he was able to oppose evil effectively. "His whole, uncertain career is a thesis against simple fanaticism and for resilient principle."
Mark Patinkin's column for the Providence Journal-Bulletin on February 14 presented questions by the author with answers from Abraham Lincoln. For example, "Shouldn't you have worked harder to negotiate a peace with the enemy?" Answer: "Human action can be modified to some extent, but human nature cannot be changed.... Those who deny freedom for others deserve it not for themselves." On Lincoln's birthday, the Journal-Bulletin reprinted a section from "Abraham Lincoln and the Self-Made Myth" found in The American Political Tradition by Richard Hofstadter (1948): "The great pose of the presidential years came from a soul that had been humbled. Lincoln's utter lack of personal malice during these Page [End Page 65] years, his humane detachment, his tragic sense of life, have no parallel in political history."
The annual Lincoln's Day editorial of the State Journal-Register appeared in its February 12 edition under the headline "Lincoln Provides Lesson for This Time of Conflict." Like so many editorials at the time, our Civil War and Lincoln's role in it were juxtaposed with the strife in the Persian Gulf, and the inevitable attempts at parallels were drawn. The editorial writer believed that Lincoln's sussess was a result of "his strong moral convictions and purpose.... with courage and firmness because he was confident that what he was doing was right."
Billy Porterfield called Lincoln the "Man for all Americans" in his column syndicated by Cox News Service and appearing in the Austin American Statesman on February 11. To Porterfield, Lincoln personified and was the connecting link for many ideologies. "Everyone claims Lincoln. His fellow presidents love him because he was the king of executive privilege when he felt he had to be. Liberal Democrats know in their hearts Abe was one of them. Conservatives think Lincoln was rightfully a Republican."
In a comparative sense, historians become nervous because they do not believe that history repeats itself says Peter B. Rose, who wrote "Historian: Bush Faces Well-Worn Challenges" for the Idaho Statesman on February 18. "Historical analogies are very dangerous." Yet, the problems that Washington and Lincoln dealt with are the same today because of a pluralistic country with its ethnic and economic divisions.
On February 13, Steve Blow wrote for the Dallas Morning News that the new man of the hour is Abraham Lincoln: "These Days, All Roads Lead to Honest Abe." Pointing to Lincoln's humor ("Well, for those who like that sort of thing, I think it's just the sort of thing they would like"), literary skills ("I feel how weak and fruitless must be any words of mine which should attempt to beguile you from the grief of a loss so overwhelming...."), and his ability to inspire people in wartime, Blow believes that Lincoln is the "model of the American ideal" because there is a "yearning today for leaders who base their principles on something higher than the public opinion polls."
William F. Woo reflected on "What if Lincoln Had Lived on in a Persistent Vegetative State?" in the March 17 issue of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Woo questions whether modern emergency medicine might have saved Lincoln, holding that some doctors held out the possibility that the president might have lived in a vegetative state. Page [End Page 66] Such an event, Woo speculates, would have hastened what became the 25th Amendment regarding presidential disability because without it the nation may have been in a prolonged political and constitutional crisis. Should more or extraordinary efforts be made in keeping a president alive than an "ordinary" citizen and victim of an automobile accident? If the answer is yes, then we accept the conclusion that there exists an "aristocracy of survival" and that such a concept is hard to "square with democratic ideals."
Kitty Kelley's biography of Nancy Reagan provoked satire and parody from syndicated columnist Kevin Cowherd of the Baltimore Evening Sun in April with an "excerpt" from Kelley's "new book" Mary Todd Lincoln: The Unauthorized Biography, wherein Lincoln tells Mary to "Shut Up, Woman!" as he had been drinking for hours. "In addition to his fondness for alcohol and his undisguised cruelty toward animals, Lincoln had shown an alarming lack of interest in the affairs of state and was an inveterate liar."
In the aftermath of Presidential Chief of Staff John Sununu's traveling at taxpayers' expense, Lawrence D. Hogan wrote of Lincoln's offer to pay the cost for his son, Robert, to serve on General Grant's staff in a letter dated January 19, 1865. Hogan's letter appeared in the May 23 issue of the New York Times. Grant appointed Robert to his staff at government expense. Editorials about the Sununu flap abounded. Oliphant drew the best with "There'll Always Be a Sununu," which describes four major historical events wherein history could have been changed because transportation had been preempted by the chief of staff. One panel shows Lincoln at the train station saying, "I'm Due to Deliver an Address in Gettysburg—Where's the Train?" The station master responds, "John Sununu Took It to Go Get His Teeth Fixed, Sir."
In New York Newsday on May 4 M. G. Lord has a representative of the "Dems" visit a scientist, who has a portrait of Lincoln on the wall. The scientist states "Cloning him's a cinch! But what makes you think you can persuade him to change parties and run against Bush?"
Gore Vidal continues his musing about Lincoln in "Lincoln Up Close," an essay in the August 15 edition of the New York Review. He states that "for better or worse, we still live in the divided house that Lincoln cobbled together for us, and it is always useful to get to know through his writing ... a literary genius who was called upon to live, rather than merely to write, a high tragedy. I can think of no one in literary or political history quite like this essential American writer." Page [End Page 67]
The Lincoln on Democracy Project
A reception was held at the New York Historical Society on November 13, 1990 to announce the publication, in English and Polish, of Lincoln on Democracy (Harper/Collins). On November 16–17, 1990, a symposium was held in Albany, with panel discussions and remarks by Mario M. Cuomo and Harold Holzer, editors of the project; James M. McPherson, author of Battle Cry of Freedom; and myself. At the end of the year, fifteen hundred copies of the Polish edition were sent to the minister of education in Warsaw for distribution to the schools in Poland. When Minister Wiktor Kulerski acknowledged the gift on January 29, he announced that his ministry would be printing thirty thousand copies of Lincoln o Demokracji. The Harper/Collins edition is in its fifth printing and has been issued in paperback.
Jed Stevenson reported in the New York Times on Sunday, August 12, 1990 about a missing mint mark on some of the 3,500 1990 Lincoln penny proof sets, which sold originally for $11. The value of these is now $600 and expected to rise to more than $10,000 by the year 2000.
Fusion Video (17214 South Oak Park Ave., Tinley Park, IL 60477) has produced an Abraham Lincoln video.
Robert Jay Lifton discussed "Assassination: The Ultimate Public Theater" in the New York Times on September 9 while discussing Stephen Sondheim's latest work, Assassins. Lifton describes society's fascination with the killer, as we see "the dark underbelly of our own national reverence and loyalty." Lifton correctly states that John Wilkes Booth's act, contrary to a point of view that he killed Lincoln because of his frustrations as an actor and his rivalry with his more talented father and brother, was the result of his fierce advocacy of the Confederacy, with Lincoln representing everything Booth disliked.
Michiko Kakutani's essay on "Freedom of Fiction, Applied to Biography" appeared in the September 10, 1990 issue of the New York Times. Although Lincoln is not mentioned, many thoughts apply to him as he is portrayed in biographical novels, for example, Gore Vidal's Lincoln and William Safire's Freedom. Kakutani points Page [End Page 68] out, "There is no life that can be recaptured wholly, as it was, which is to say that all biography is ultimately fiction."
"Mr. Lincoln's World," a living history program presented at the Old State Capitol on October 6 by Carol Andrews, site manager, and her assistant, Jennie Battles, included the presentation of such historic figures from Lincoln's day as Mason Brayman, the attorney and chief solicitor for the Illinois Central Railroad, played by Tom Mason, and Brayman's wife Mary, portrayed by Sandy Temple.
The success of the Civil War series produced by Ken Burns and shown for eleven hours over five nights indicates that history does indeed "sell." Some fourteen million people watched the series. The book, The Civil War (Knopf), written by Geoffrey C. Ward with Ric Burns and Ken Burns, intended to accompany the series, was on the best-seller list of the New York Times Book Review for twenty-one weeks. John Milius interviewed Ken Burns in the Sunday New York Times on September 16, 1990, and iconographer Harold Holzer provided backup by discussing the provenance of the documentary images used in the series.
As a spin-off from The Civil War, a soundtrack album including twenty-eight musical excerpts was released by Elektra Nonesuch. Within ten days, 150,000 copies had been sold, making it the fastest-selling album in the label's history. The only contemporary piece on the soundtrack, "Ashokan Farewell," the fiddle lament composed and played by Jay Ungar, was released as a single. Bootstrapping, Philips's Mercury label, reissued the 1960s' production of The Civil War: Its Music and Its Sounds in a two-disk set.
Sculptor Seward Johnson, Jr.'s model for his Abraham Lincoln statue was unveiled in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, on November 19, 1990. Abraham Lincoln stands with his hat pointed toward the Wills's house, a contemporary American with him. The sculptor, known for his realistic portrayals, has attempted to transport the figures in time. The life-sized statue is planned to be located on the sidewalk in the town square.
Teaberry Tapes (770 W. Landoran Lane, Tucson, AZ 85737) has produced "That Reminds Me of a Story ... the Wit and Humor of Abraham Lincoln," a well-narrated forty-two-minute presentation of Lincoln and the humorous stories he told.
Southern Illinois University Press has published The Federal Art Project in Illinois: 1935–1943 by George J. Mavigliano and Richard A. Lawson. The Illinois Art Project (IAP) put hundreds of artists to work during the depression, and they lined the walls of dozens of public buildings with murals. Among them are a 14 × 16 foot mural Page [End Page 69] of "Lincoln at New Salem" on the wall of the Petersburg Post Office and "Lincoln as Postmaster in New Salem," a 12 × 4 foot mural in the Salem Post Office.
The Chicago Historical Society has added imagist Roger Brown's Lost America to its collection. Painted in 1989, it is a portrayal of a thoughtful Lincoln striding through a surreal landscape and is evocative of the American Man of Sorrows with references to national ideals and national tragedy.
The fall 1990 issue of Prologue of the National Archives contained Jonathan Heller's "A Civil War Album" as a portfolio taken from his War and Conflict. Heller's edited publication from the National Archives contains 1,500 images that record America's military engagements from the Revolution to Vietnam.
The Lincoln Museum has produced a handsome poster entitled "Since 1928, The Lincoln Museum part of Lincoln National Corporation" and showing a montage of many of the first-rate items in its collection.
An original play by Ken Bradbury and Robert Crowe, The Shadow of Giants: Mr. Lincoln Comes to Jacksonville, was presented at the Morgan County Courthouse, Jacksonville, Illinois, from February 8 to 12. Based on an actual trial in which Abraham Lincoln was co-counsel for Colonel James Dunlap, who was blamed by the plaintiff Paul Selby, editor of the Morgan Journal, for causing financial problems at the local state hospital for the insane. Dunlap thrashed Selby with his cane and was fined $25 for breach of the peace. Selby, not satisfied, sued Dunlap for $10,000.
The Lincoln Museum chose Charles Keck's Lincoln statue located in Wabash, Indiana, as its 1991 attendance award card presented to those Boy Scouts who make the Lincoln Shrine pilgrimage on February 12.
The Procter & Gamble Company produced the television movie A Perfect Tribute, which aired on ABC on April 14, the anniversary of the shooting of President Lincoln. The movie, based on the short story by Mary Raymond Shipman Andrews that sold more than six hundred thousand copies, is about Lincoln at Gettysburg. Jason Robards portrayed President Lincoln.
As promised, the Department of Treasury has issued Mount Rushmore commemorative coins to help preserve the memorial. Intended to raise $18 million, the United States Mint has issued, in proof and uncirculated editions, a $5 gold piece with an eagle flying over the monument, a silver dollar with the monument itself, and a half-dollar, with the monument surrounded by a sunburst. The Page [End Page 70] sculpture, begun in 1927 by Gutzon Borglum, blasted away the entire face of the mountain so Lincoln's face could be carved.
Sculptor Jeffrey Barnard renovated the Abraham Lincoln statue for Lithia Park in Ashland, Oregon. The statue was originally donated to the city in 1917. Crafted in Florence, Italy, and displayed at the Panama Pacific Exposition in San Francisco in 1915, the statue came to its final resting place in Ashland, where it remained until 1967 when it was removed because of vandalism. Because the original head was lost, Bernard had to create a new head from Italian marble. The Ashland Daily Tidings told the story in its February 11 issue.
Barbara W. Carlson discusses the actress Page Hedden Wilson in "Strong Women Live Again in Monologues" for the Sunday New York Times on March 31. Wilson's latest production, Proud Sorrow, depicts the Civil War's first ladies, Mrs. Lincoln and Mrs. Davis.
The Evansville, Indiana, Museum of Arts and Science displayed an exhibit from January 20 through April 21 entitled "Abraham Lincoln: A Legacy" designed to celebrate the 175th anniversary of Lincoln's arrival in Indiana. Several aspects of Lincoln's life, including his family and his political career, were featured. The museum owns a corner cupboard that belonged to Thomas Lincoln.
An operatic life of Frederick Douglass was written by Ulysses Kay and presented at Newark Symphony Hall on April 14. Kevin Maynor appeared in the title role, and Bernard Holland reviewed the performance in the New York Times on April 16.
Hudson Hills Press (235th Avenue, New York, NY 10001) published Albert Bierstadt: Art and Enterprise to accompany the major Bierstadt exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum from February 8 to May 6, the Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco from June 8 to September 1, and at the National Gallery of Art in Washington from November 3 to February 17, 1992. Nancy K. Anderson and Linda S. Ferber were the authors, with a contribution by Helena E. Wright.
Technical Educational Consultants (76 N. Broadway, Hicksville, NY 11801) has produced "Review Bank Software" as an educational tool in American history. One disk covers exploration to Reconstruction. Disks are available to conform with the requirements of all computers. Each study guide contains more than 750 multiple-choice questions.
D. Mark Katz is the author of Witness to an Era: The Life and Photographs of Alexander Gardner (Viking). Many think that Gardner was a better photographer than Brady, whose poor eyesight required Page [End Page 71] him to rely on Gardner until Gardner's resignation in 1862. He earned the sobriquet "Mr. Lincoln's cameraman" during the war years because he photographed the president more than any other photographer. His photographs of the execution of the Lincoln conspirators were on exhibit at the National Defense University Library at Fort Lesley J. McNair in Washington, and others were displayed at the Washington Center for Photography from February 8 to March 2 and in a traveling exhibit by the Chrysler Museum of Norfolk from October 17 to January 5, 1992.
A play based on the life of Mary Todd Lincoln, written by Vaughn McBride and featuring Sylvia Caldwell, was presented at Lincoln Memorial University from February 12–15.
Your Obedient Servant, A. Lincoln by John Ahart was presented at New Salem as part of the Great American People Show from June 22 through August 24.
Noble E. Cunningham, Jr., is the author of Popular Images of the Presidency from Washington to Lincoln (University of Missouri Press), in which the author uses visual material as historical documentation. The popular images, many reproduced for the first time, reveal the development of our political tradition in which a national identity was forged and added to the legitimacy of early government.
Bernard F. Reilly, Jr., is the author of American Political Prints, 1766–1876: A Catalog of the Collections in the Library of Congress (G. K. Hall).
Ross J. Kelbaugh (7023 Deerfield, Baltimore, MD 21208) is the author of an instructive pamphlet, "Introduction to Civil War Photography."
In the January–February issue of Americana, Harold Holzer, with photographs by Dennis Brack, told in "An Ornament Once Again" of how the new museum now displays much more of the assassination story than heretofore, with many "poignant reminders of the night Abraham Lincoln was killed."
The International Museum of Photography at George Eastman House in Rochester, New York, has put together a show entitled "American Photography: 1839–1900." Page [End Page 72]
The Library of Congress concluded the two-year celebration of the 200th anniversary of the U.S. Congress, with an exhibit entitled "My Dear Wife: Letters from Members of Congress to their Spouses, 1791–1944." Henry Dawes of Massachusetts, who wrote to his "own Dear Wife" of the death of President Lincoln, said "I have never seen such awful sorrow—I can't talk about it—I am at a funeral and the nation are mourners."
The National Portrait Gallery commenced a new exhibition on February 1 with a handsome brochure, "Lincoln and His Contemporaries: Photographs by Mathew Brady from the National Portrait Gallery's Frederick Hill Meserve Collection." The exhibit was to run through February 17, 1992. Anne Shumard delivered her lecture at the gallery, "Lincoln's Contemporaries: Photographs by Mathew Brady" on February 21. Michael Kilian discussed the exhibit in "His Face in History" for the Chicago Tribune on February 12.
Highlights from the Lincoln Collection in the New York Historical Society were placed on exhibition to accompany the announcement of the publication of Lincoln on Democracy. Exhibited at the New York Historical Society on November 13, the New York State Museum on November 16 and 17, and at Gettysburg College on November 19 and 20, 1990, were a rare printing of Lincoln's Second Inaugural Address delivered on March 4, 1865, a letter written by Lincoln on behalf of his chiropodist, Dr. Zacharie, to Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton, and a letter from the president asking General Meade to transfer General Joseph Hooker.
To mark the first anniversary of A House Divided: America in the Age of Lincoln at the Chicago Historical Society, Eric Foner, exhibition co-curator, discussed the major issues leading to the Civil War on January 20. David Blight delivered "Keeping Faith in Jubilee: Frederick Douglass and the Meaning of the Civil War" on February 10 at the society.
Brian Riba offered for auction on October 20, 1990, a letter from President Lincoln, on Executive Mansion stationery and marked "Private," to Secretary of War Stanton. Lincoln requested the appointment of two brigadier generals in Connecticut who supported the enlistment of "Negro soldiers." Estimated value before auction was $20,000 to $25,000, and the letter sold for $32,000. Lincoln's Page [End Page 73] endorsement on a letter written to him by former president Millard Fillmore went for $20,000 (the pre-bid estimate $14,000–$18,000).
The Riba auction held on July 13 featured an endorsement for Lincoln's podiatrist, Dr. Zacharie, which went for $65,000. A political letter of 1852 inquiring whether Missouri would go for Winfield Scott sold for $35,000. An interesting Mary Lincoln letter on black-bordered stationery that states "Without my idolized husband, I care not to live. Although I most truly acknowledge my gratitude for my good boys...." went for $19,000.
At the Sotheby's auction on October 30, 1990, a transcription of the proposed Thirteenth Amendment that had been copied as a souvenir, with signatures of Abraham Lincoln, Vice-President Hannibal Hamlin, and House Speaker Schuyler Colfax along with 148 senators and representatives, sold for $220,000. It was not expected that a president sign resolutions proposing an amendment to the Constitution, but Lincoln was so keen about the abolition of slavery that he signed several. At the same sale, the assassination reward poster with cartes-de-visite of John Surratt, John Wilkes Booth, and David Harold sold for $18,700, and a broadside from Ford's Theatre advertising Our American Cousin with Laura Keene for Friday, April 14, 1865, went for $14,300.
Christie's held an auction of printed books and manuscripts on December 7, 1990. An inscribed copy of the debates between Abraham Lincoln and Stephen A. Douglas, "Alexander H. Todd with compliments A. Lincoln" sold for $71,500. Todd was Lincoln's brother-in-law. In the same sale, the pen Lincoln used to sign the Act of Emancipation for the District of Columbia on April 16, 1862 brought $77,000; the pre-auction estimate was $5,000–$7,000. The downward spiral of art prices has not affected Lincolniana. The December 1990 Auction News from Christie's contained Chris Coover's "Mary Todd Lincoln: President Lincoln's 'Confederate Connection.'"
Leslie Hindman Auctioneers' auction on December 10 in Chicago featured a heroic marble bust of Abraham Lincoln by Avard Tennyson Fairbanks. Bidding did not reach the reserve, however, and the bust was not sold after a catalog estimate of $50,000–$60,000.
The Sotheby's acution held on June 13 included a leaf from Lincoln's schoolboy sum book signed three times by him. Estimated at between $120,000 and $160,000, it sold for $143,000. The pen with which Lincoln signed the bill giving freedom to all the inhabitants in the territories of the United States on June 19, 1862, was sold for $33,000. Page [End Page 74]
In "John Wilkes Booth's Other Victim" in the February–March issue of American Heritage, Richard Sloan discusses William Withers, Jr., the orchestra leader at Ford's Theatre on April 14. Withers believed that the night would end in triumph for him because his composition "Honor to Our Soldiers" would be sung by Laura Keene, the star of Our American Cousin. Her timidity and procrastination and Booth's deed prevented the performance. An article by George McClellan's biographer Steven W. Sears, "Getting Right with Robert E. Lee," is in the May–June issue. Sears notes that "Lincoln remains unchallenged as the Civil War's most written about figure," but Lee holds second place.
Harold Holzer writes about his and Mark E. Neely, Jr.'s "The Lincoln Family Album" in his annual article for The Antique Trader (February 13). James Swanson's survey of "Civil War Art" appeared in the May 1 and 15 issues.
Douglas L. Wilson's "What Jefferson and Lincoln Read" appeared in the January issue of The Atlantic.
The John Hay Sesquicentennial volume 35–36 (1988–89) of Books at Brown was devoted entirely to the one-time private secretary to President Lincoln. Guest editor Jennifer B. Lee wrote the Introduction, and articles include "Those Whom the Gods Would Disappoint They First Make Charming" by Gore Vidal; "John Hay and Abraham Lincoln: A Retrospective" based on the work of Henry B. Van Hoesson by Frank J. Williams; and "John Hay and the Five of Hearts: The Story of a Friendship" by Patricia O'Toole.
The December 1990 issue of Civil War History contains Douglas L. Wilson's "Abraham Lincoln, Ann Rutledge, and the Evidence of Herndon's Informants" and William A. Tidwell's "Booth Crosses the Potomac: An Exercise in Historical Research." In "Unconditional Surrender and the Rhetoric of Total War: From Truman to Lincoln" (Center on Violence and Human Survival Occasional Paper no. 2) Charles Strozier alleges that the Civil War was a "total war" by twentieth-century standards. Mark E. Neely, Jr., refutes this in "Was the Civil War a Total War?" for the March issue. Neely asserts that although the Civil War approached "total war," it was not the same as twentieth-century warfare; the Civil War remained constricted by Victorian standards.
The January–February issue of Civil War Times Illustrated contains Harold Holzer's portrayal of "Lincoln's Victory Tour" in Richmond, Virginia. In the same issue Richard Pindell discusses "The Vice Page [End Page 75] President Resides in Georgia" and how Lincoln's fellow Whig congressman and the Confederate vice president Alexander Hamilton Stephens found himself at odds with his Confederate government. Although longing for state's rights, he advocated peace negotiations to avoid the South's ruination. Lloyd Ostendorf discusses "Lincoln's 'Lost' Telegram" in the March–April issue, and John Stanchak writes of "An 'Historic' TV Doublefeature?" Did, he asks, the commander of the Confederate ironclad Virginia have a romance with a Union spy before he fought the enemy ship Monitor, and did President Lincoln befriend a small boy whose brother was a wounded Confederate officer at Gettysburg? Although neither event occurred, television producers presented "Ironclads" (TNT) on March 11, and ABC presented "A Perfect Tribute" in May. Lela Tindle inquires "Whatever Became of Boston Corbett?" Corbett was the reputed killer of John Wilkes Booth and disappeared without a trace. The entire July–August issue of Civil War Times Illustrated is devoted to the Confederate president, " 'We Will Vindicate the Right': An Account of the Life of Jefferson Davis" by Mark Grimsley.
The January–February Lincoln issue of Dispatch of the Illinois State Historical Society includes an article by Thomas Schwartz about the Lincoln Collection at the Illinois State Historical Library.
The winter 1990 issue of the Illinois Historical Journal contains Thomas F. Schwartz's "Grief, Souvenirs, and Enterprise Following Lincoln's Assassination" and Thomas Keiser's "The Prince of Wales and the United States: A Harbinger of English Opinion of the Civil War." The summer issue contains Schwartz's " 'About New Powder' An Unpublished Lincoln Note." In this recently discovered Lincoln manuscript, the president refers an old Springfield friend and colleague, Captain Isaac R. Diller, to John A. Dahlgren to test a new gun powder, the results of which showed great potential.
The theme of the annual Lincoln issue of Illinois History is "Abraham Lincoln—Idealist or Pragmatist?" with a feature essay, "Lincoln as a Writer," by the late Waldo W. Braden. Other articles are by Kristie Kramer ("Lincoln's Views of Slavery"); Heather Haliburton ("Lincoln's Changing Views on Slavery"); Ram Krishnamoorthi ("Slavery in the Great Lincoln-Douglas Debates"); Carrie Coplan ("Abraham Lincoln's Changing Views on Slavery"); Tom Quinn ("Government versus Justice"); Jane Comaroff ("Man of Myth, or American of Americans?"); Karen Weeks ("The Great Emancipator or the Great Pretender?"); Jenny Rubin ("Lincoln: Morality versus Reality"); Kyle Arlington ("Lincoln's Changing Views on Government"); Catherine Duggan ("Lincoln's Changing Page [End Page 76] Views on Political Parties"); Helen Odessky ("Lincoln's Changing Views on Presidential Powers"); Sharon Kukshiner ("That Unique Experiment"); and Todd Duda ("Lincoln and Patronage").
The June issue of Indiana Magazine of History contains Douglas L. Wilson's "Abraham Lincoln's Indiana and the Spirit of Mortal."
Frederick Hatch's "Dark Shadows" appeared in the December 1990 issue of the Journal of the Lincoln Assassination.
The spring issue of Kentucky Ancestors, the quarterly of the Kentucky Historical Society, is devoted entirely as an index of Kentuckians and Kentucky families, including the Lincolns.
The July issue of the Lincoln Group of Florida Newsletter, written and edited by Gary Planck, contains an updated compilation of Lincoln-related organizations, publications, and collections.
Garry Wills, in his cover essay "Lincoln" for the February issue of Life, points out that Lincoln was the only president "who became a great President because he was a great writer."
The summer 1990 issue of the Lincoln Herald contains Nicholas M. Cripe's "Abraham Lincoln Wins the Republican Nomination for President, 1860," W. Emerson Reck's "Tragic Death Also Takes Man Who Warned Lincoln," and Steven M. Wilson's discussion of The Lincoln Portrait by Thomas Buchanan Read. The fall 1990 issue contains Wayne C. Temple's "Abraham Lincoln's Doorplate" and his "Ruth Stanton Recalls the Lincolns." Steven M. Wilson, director of the Abraham Lincoln Museum at Lincoln Memorial University, describes the pressed-glass pattern in "The Lincoln Drape," and Robert Holloway writes on "Elijah Hanks." The winter issue contains "What's in a Name?" by Waldo W. Braden, "Abraham Jonas, Lincoln's Valued Friend" by Ira L. Harris, "The Folkmyth Lincoln" by Thomas R. Turner, and Gary Planck's always informative "Lincoln News Digest." The spring issue contains "The Lincoln Collection of Berea College" by Gerald F. Roberts, commencing a new series about Lincoln collections, "The Iowa Wesleyan College Harlan-Lincoln Relationship" by Karen Chabal, "Lincoln, Moore and Green: A New Document" by Wayne C. Temple, "Trial of Mrs. Surratt: John P. Brophy's Rare Pamphlet" by Joseph George, Jr., and Steven N. Wilson's discussion of the watch Lincoln purchased in 1840 that is now in the Lincoln Memorial University collection. Although it was intended for Mary Todd, Lincoln gave the watch to Mary N. Curtis, who opened it to find the engraved message, "To Mary Todd from A. L., 1841."
The Lincoln Legacy, the quarterly publication of the Lincoln Group of Illinois, has published a Chinese edition of its summer 1990 issue Page [End Page 77] reporting the International Conference on Abraham Lincoln held November 1989, in Taipei.
The October 1989 issue of Lincoln Lore continues Sarah McNair Vosmeier's "Photographing Lincoln." The November 1989 issue features "Lincoln's World: Spain." The January issue contains a review of Philip Shaw Paludan's A People's Contest by Matthew Noah Vosemeier. Mark E. Neely, Jr., wrote "Lincoln's World: Italy" for the February issue, describing the genuine outpouring of grief by Italians upon learning of President Lincoln's death. In May, Sarah McNair Vosemeier discusses a new letter found and contained in the second supplement to The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln. In the letter Lincoln asked John M. Palmer, a Democratic state senator, to vote with the Whigs in their opposition to the party's Kansas-Nebraska Act. It was painful to break with one's party. Palmer, who was against popular sovereignty, would not desert the Democrats and vote for Lincoln, who wished to be elected U.S. senator when the legislature met in January 1855. Unable to obtain a majority, Lincoln directed his votes to Lyman Trumbull, who was elected. The letter was written to Jesse Olds Norton just over a week after Lincoln's defeat. One can detect Lincoln's hurt. The June and July issues contain "Lincoln and Legal Education in Antebellum America" by Matthew Noah Vosemeier.
"The Mini Page" syndicated in the Fort Wayne News-Sentinel for February featured "A Mini Biography: The Life of Lincoln" in photographs, all of which came from the Lincoln Museum.
The spring issue of The Lincoln Newsletter of the Lincoln College Museum was edited by Barbara Hughett, who wrote the cover story "Mary Lincoln Relics in the Robert Todd Beckwith Collection at the Lincoln College Museum." I discussed "The Abraham Lincoln Association, Its Five-Year Plan: A Vision for the Future"; Thomas F. Schwartz contributed "A Lincoln Oxymoron: Long Abe in Miniature"; and George L. Painter discussed " 'Abraham Lincoln: A Biography in Words and Music' at the Lincoln Home National Historic Site and the Fifth Annual Lincoln Essay Competition." The summer edition contains an obituary of Raymond Nelson Dooley by Ralph Geoffrey Newman, George L. Painter's "The Historic Significance of the Lincoln Home," and John Y. Simon's "Lincoln and Charles L. Frost."
The December 1990 issue of The Little Giant, newsletter of the Stephen A. Douglas Association, contains Barbara Hughett's "The Page [End Page 78] Tomb of Stephen A. Douglas." The May issue contains a sketch of Leonard Wells Volk, sculptor of Lincoln and Douglas.
The winter issue of Manuscripts contains "Unpublished Manuscripts: Recollections of Mary Todd Lincoln by Her Sister Emilie Todd Helm; an Invitation to a Lincoln Party" by Norman Boas.
The December 1990 issue of The Maryland Line contains Jean H. Baker's "The Lincolns' Marriage."
Allan Gurganus is the author of "The Civil War in Us," which appeared in the October 8, 1990 issue of the New York Times. Gurganus, author of The Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All, believes that "Lincoln's face predicted the 20th century ... [his] face is so beaten to the surface, a private pocket worn inside out. Its humanity and shrewd wasted wisdom almost shame and terrify us now. We long for a leader who can tell us stories that are not subcontracted, personal content not ceded to young Ivy League speech-writers."
Joseph George, Jr., is the author of "The World Will Little Note? The Philadlphia Press and the Gettysburg Address," which appeared in the July 1990 issue of The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography. "'Black Flag Warfare': Lincoln and the Raids Against Richmond and Jefferson Davis," also by George, was part of the July issue, "The American Civil War: A Pennsylvania Perspective."
Shirley J. Burton, assistant director of the National Archives-Great Lakes Region, Chicago, wrote "Lincoln at the Bar: New Documentation of Abraham Lincoln's Law Career" for the summer 1990 issue of Prologue while doing research for the microfilm publication Lincoln at the Bar.
The May issue of reason contains Steven Hayward's "The Children of Abraham" in which he believes that the advocates of "equality" distort the meaning of Lincoln's message.
John Paul Heffernan is the authyor of "Mr. Lincoln's Mystery Cake" that appeared in the March issue of The Saturday Evening Post.
Springfield Magazine for February was full of Lincoln articles, from notice of the Abraham Lincoln symposium and Abraham Lincoln Association banquet to "A Real Valentine's Story about Mary and Abraham" and "After the Wedding—the Lincoln Family."
The summer issue of Traces contained Don Davenport's "Pretty Pinching Times: Lincoln's Hoosier Home, 1816–1830" and a reprint, in part, of Louis A. Warren's "Lincoln's Youth, 1818, Age 9." Page [End Page 79]
The autumn 1990 issue of The Wilson Quarterly contained Dorothy Wickenden's "Lincoln and Douglass."
Richard Nelson Current called Mark E. Neely, Jr.'s The Fate of Liberty: Abraham and Civil Liberties (Oxford) "the most original book about Lincoln in many a year, [and] gives for the first time a true and adequate account of his policies in regard to civil liberties. It does not blink at his inconsistencies and excesses, yet clears him completely of the persisting charge of dictatorship." A History Book Club selection in March, the reviewer, Sanford Levinson, points out how Neely clearly shows that Lincoln's justification for the operation and existence of military commissions was "disingenuous."
Abraham Lincoln and the Second American Revolution by James M. McPherson (Oxford) was also a History Book Club selection for March. McPherson takes issue with the propositions recently expounded that the Civil War achieved nothing much and that Lincoln did not know what he was about.
George L. Painter, site historian at the Lincoln Home National Historic Site in Springfield, is responsible for publishing the Papers from the Fourth Annual Lincoln Colloquium delivered on October 14, 1989. Included are "Gradations in Our Knowledge of the Words of Lincoln" by Don E. Fehrenbacher, "Lincoln the Lawyer" by Cullom Davis, "Lincoln's Concern for Science and Technology" by Robert V. Bruce, and "'Living Monuments': The Image of the Lincoln Family" by Harold Holzer.
A rather simplistic view of Abraham Lincoln is portrayed in Funk and Wagnall's "Special Edition" of The Presidents, which went on sale in 1990 at supermarkets everywhere as part of a new edition of the Funk and Wagnall's Encyclopedia.
Mark E. Neely, Jr., and Harold Holzer are the authors of The Lincoln Family Album: Photographs from the Personal Collection of a Historic American Family (Doubleday). Unknown to most historians were the photographic album and contemporary photographs that the Lincoln family possessed. This book contains 120 photographs from this part of the private Lincoln family. The authors discuss this photographic treasure-trove in the November–December 1990 issue of American History Illustrated. Page [End Page 80]
Southern Illinois University Press has released a new and useful work, Lincoln as a Lawyer: An Annotated Bibliography compiled by Elizabeth Matthews, with a Foreword by Cullom Davis.
Jean H. Baker's paper, "Parallel Lives: Abraham and Mary Lincoln," delivered at the fifty-eighth annual Lincoln dinner of the Lincoln Memorial Shrine at Redlands, California, on February 12, 1990, has been published by the shrine.
The twenty-ninth annual Fortenbaugh Lecture delivered by Carl N. Degler at Gettysburg College on November 19, 1990, "One Among Many: The American Civil War in Comparative Perspective," is available from the college.
C. J. Carrier Co. (P. O. Box 1114, Harrisonburg, VA 22801) has reprinted The Lincoln's in Virginia by John W. Wayland.
Alice Provensen is the author and illustrator of The Buck Stops Here: The Presidents of the United States (Harper, Collins). One of the many "pithy" comments in this wonderfully illustrated volume for children is the description of Abraham Lincoln as "a strange, friendless, uneducated boy."
The Library of America has published in a subscriber's boxed edition its two-volume Speeches and Writings of Abraham Lincoln edited by Don E. Fehrenbacher. Viking-Penquin has published an abridgement of the two-volume set in paperback with selections by Fehrenbacher.
John Y. Simon provided the contribution on Mary Todd Lincoln to the Research Guide to volume 4 of the American Historical Biography (Beacham Publishing) along with an evaluation of biographical sources.
The Collected Writings of James T. Hickey from Publications of the Illinois State Historical Society, 1953–1984 was published by the society.
Waldo W. Braden served as editor of Abraham Lincoln, Public Speaker (Louisiana State University Press) and selected several masterful speeches delivered about Abraham Lincoln. Among them are some by Adlai Stevenson and one by Mario M. Cuomo.
David Zarefsky is the author of Lincoln, Douglas and Slavery in the Crucible of Public Debate (University of Chicago Press). Zarefsky proves the point Lincoln made during his first debate with Senator Douglas: "Public sentiment is everything. With public sentiment, nothing can fail; without it, nothing can succeed. Consequently, he who molds public sentiment goes deeper than he who enacts statutes or pronounces decisions." Skirting the central conflict of slavery in the territories, Lincoln and Douglas traded charges instead. Page [End Page 81]
Carolyn Pishny Miller's Ph.D. dissertation, "Biographies about Abraham Lincoln for Children (1865–1969): Portrayals of His Parents," (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1990) examines portions of seventeen of the more significant books about Lincoln written for children. Miller discusses literary and historical prospectives and biographical information about the authors along with portrayals of Lincoln's parents.
Don Davenport is the author of In Lincoln's Footsteps (Prairie Oak Press, 2577 University Ave., Madison, WI 53705), which deals with approximately twenty major Lincoln sites in the Midwest.
Louis A. Warren's Lincoln's Youth, Indiana Years, Seven to Twenty-One, 1860–1830 has been reprinted in cloth and paper by Indiana University Press.
Americana House of the Abraham Lincoln Book Shop in Chicago has reprinted John Frank's Lincoln as a Lawyer.
Stephen B. Oates's With Malice Toward None has been reproduced by Recorded Books in unabridged cassette form with Nelson Runger as the reader.
After many decades of Lincoln lectures, Basil Moore has published them (Mayheaven Publishing, P.O. Box 509, Mahomet, IL 61853), with illustrations by Lloyd Ostendorf.
The University of Illinois Press has reissued Lincoln the President: Last Full Measure by J. G. Randall and Richard N. Current with a new Introduction by Current. A second edition of Victor Hicken's Illinois in the Civil War and Albert Furtwangler's Assassin on Stage: Brutus, Hamlet, and the Death of Lincoln have also been published.
Robert W. Johannsen is the author of Lincoln, the South and Slavery: The Political Dimension (Louisiana State University Press). Johannsen shows how Lincoln's argument against slavery and his method for dealing with it moved from moderate to radical. As an ambitious politician, Lincoln delivered statements during his campaigns to satisfy political goals, even on the race issue, more than has previously been acknowledged.
Bonnie Stahlman Speer is the author of The Great Abraham Lincoln Hijack about the 1876 attempt to steal the body of President Lincoln (Reliance).
Donald T. Phillips has taken the cue from In Search of Excellence: Lessons from America's Best-Run Companies by Thomas J. Peters and Robert H. Waterman, Jr., and applied them to a study of Abraham Lincoln in Lincoln on Leadership: Executive Strategies for Tough Times (Warner). Page [End Page 82]
Higginson Books of Salem, Massachusetts, has reprinted The Ancestry of Abraham Lincoln by J. Henry Lea.
The sixth annual Lloyd Ostendorf Lecture delivered at the Abraham Lincoln Museum of Lincoln Memorial University by Gary R. Planck and titled "Abraham Lincoln, America's Tragic Hero" has been published by LMU.
Gary W. Gallagher's review of the Library of America's Personal Memoirs of U. S. Grant, Selected Letters 1839–1865 and the Memoirs of General W. T. Sherman appeared in the October 21, 1990 New York Times Book Review section. The biographical chronology of the Grant book along with the selected letters are choice and taken from the good work of the Ulysses S. Grant Association and the Grant papers edited by John Y. Simon.
Charles P. Roland is the author of An American Iliad: The Story of the Civil War (University Press of Kentucky).
Michael Perman is the editor of Major Problems in the Civil War and Reconstruction (Heath).
Robert Leckle is the author of An Expiration of the Civil War in his The Saga of the American Civil War: None Died in Vain (Harper).
The letters of the Union counterpart to Mary Chesnut have been published by the University of Illinois Press as Wartime Washington: The Civil War Letters of Elizabeth Blair Lee, edited by Virginia Jeans Laas.
Sheldon M. Novick is the author of Honorable Justice: The Life of Oliver Wendell Holmes (Little, Brown), in paper from Laurel/Dell. It was Justice Holmes, a young officer during the Civil War, who admonished Lincoln at Fort Stevens to "Get down, you damn fool" while under enemy fire.
Paul C. Nagel is the author of The Lees of Virginia: Seven Generations of an American Family (Oxford).
Kenneth M. Stampp is the author of America in 1857: A Nation on the Brink (Oxford), a History Book Club selection. Stampp argues that the handling of whether or not Kansas should be admitted to the Union with a pro-slavery constitution, and President Buchanan's urging that it be so, represented "the fatal step" that led to the disruption of union. Page [End Page 83]
Lloyd E. Ambrosius is the editor of A Crisis in Republicanism: American Politics During the Civil War and Lewis O. Saum is the author of The Popular Mood of America, 1860–1890 (University of Nebraska Press). Also from the University of Nebraska Press is a reprint of Allan Pinkerton's The Spy of the Rebellion, with a new Introduction.
Presidential guru Richard E. Neustadt gave us the fourth edition of his Presidential Power and the Modern Presidents (Free Press). Although Lincoln does not figure prominently in it, the book would have been a good primer for him. As it is, Lincoln is used as a counterpoint. For example, in discussing the transition of administrations with Congress in adjournment, Neustadt indicates that the long span of time from Election Day to Inauguration Day the following March helped Lincoln, as opposed to "Congress thrust upon him" if in session. They may have wound up running the Civil War and "bungled [it] still more badly than by him." In discussing the commitments that Ronald Reagan took into office in 1981, Neustadt alleges that such a practice was not Lincoln's, who had no such agenda as, for example, emancipation. Perhaps Neustadt has forgotten Lincoln's standing commitment against the extension of slavery, part of the Republican platform that he followed aggressively between election and inauguration.
David Buisseret presented a stunning visual record in Historic Illinois from the Air (University of Chicago Press).
William S. McFeely is the author Frederick Douglass (Norton), a February Book-of-the-Month Club and History Book Club selection. In a review for the History Book Club, Eric Foner points out that in an age of the self-made man, few Americans rose so far from such humble beginnings as did Frederick Douglass, Lincoln notwithstanding. Lincoln reached the White House from very modest beginnings, but Douglass, "a man of remarkable intelligence and great oratorical powers who became one of the coutnry's most celebrated reformers, was born a slave."
Donald W. Treadgold is the author of A History of Freedom (New York University Press).
Edgar Lee Masters's Spoon River Anthology has been published by the University of Illinois Press in an annotated edition and edited by John E. Hallwas.
Andrew Rolle is the author of John Charles Frémont: Character as Destiny (University of Oklahoma Press). Page [End Page 84]
The Manuscript Society has published its indispensable tool for the collector and librarian: The Autograph Collector's Checklist (David R. Smith, 350 N. Niagara St., Dept. SA, Burbank, CA 91505).
Tom Broadfoot has published Civil War Books: A Price Checklist with advice in a new 1990 edition.
Mark E. Neely, Jr., reviewed Come Retribution: The Confederate Secret Service and the Assassination of Lincoln by William Tidwell, James O. Hall, and David Winfred Gaddy in the June 1990 issue of American Historical Review.
Gary W. Gallagher's "The Notable Civil War Titles of 1990" appeared in the January–February issue of Civil War: The Magazine of the Civil War Society.
The companion volume to the eleven-hour documentary shown by the Public Broadcasting System in September 1990, The Civil War: An Illustrated History and written by Geoffrey C. Ward with Ric Burns and Ken Burns, was reviewed by Harold Holzer in the September 2, 1990 issue of the Chicago Tribune and David Howard Bain in the September 9, 1990 issue of the New York Times Book Review section.
Harold Holzer reviewed Kenneth M. Stampp's America in 1857: A Nation on the Brink and Mary E. Neely, Jr.'s The Fate of Liberty: Abraham Lincoln and Civil Liberties for the February 3 issue of Books in the Chicago Tribune. In his review of the latter, Holzer points out that Lincoln had good cause to worry about internal disruption and treason in order to justify the arbitrary arrests that ensued. Holzer writes that Neely shows that many of the arrests would have been made whether Lincoln suspended the writ or not and that very few northerners protested the arrests. Holzer also reviewed James M. McPherson's Abraham Lincoln and the Second American Revolution in this issue as well as in his essay for the July–August issue of The Civil War Times Illustrated.
Gabor S. Boritt's review of The Fate of Liberty, "Lincoln and the Law," appeared in the March 19 issue of The Christian Science Monitor. Boritt points out how Neely examined the records of those arrested "arbitrarily"—"not Lincoln's home-grown political oppo- Page [End Page 85] nents shackled by a lawless government" but rather Confederates, blockade runners, and foreigners who were of little or no concern to the people living in the North. Likewise, arbitrary arrests were used by Secretary of War Edwin Stanton in 1862 to enforce conscription. This, according to Boritt, does not make Lincoln a dictator.
The December 1990 issue of Civil War History contains Donald G. Nieman's review of Constitutions and Consitutionalism in the Slaveholding South by Don E. Fehrenbacher, Brooks D. Simpson's review of Frederick Douglass' Civil War: Keeping Faith in Jubilee by David W. Blight, and James R. Richardson's review of The New York City Draft Riots: Their Significance for American Society and Politics in the Age of the Civil War by Iver Bernstein.
The winter issue of Illinois Historical Journal contains Joseph George, Jr's. review of the Library of America two-volume edition Abraham Lincoln, Speeches and Writings, Christopher Breiseth's review of Lincoln and the Civil War and the Diaries and Letters of John Hay edited by Tyler Dennett with a new foreword by Henry Steele Commager, Edward Noyes's review of Spector of America by Edward Dicey and edited by Herbert Mitgang, Patricia Ann Owens's review of Washington, D.C. in Lincoln's Time by Noah Brooks and edited by Herbert Mitgang, Thomas Keiser's review of Abraham Lincoln: A Press Portrait edited by Herbert Mitgang, Robert H. Jones's review of Lincoln and the Tools of War by Robert V. Bruce, Richard N. Current's review of Images of America: A Panorama of History in Photographs, John Y. Simon's review of the new edition of Lincoln's Herndon: A Biography with a new introduction by its author David Herbert Donald, and Joseph Logsdon's review of Andrew Johnson: A Biography by Hans L. Trefousse. The summer issue contains David Herbert Donald's review of A House Divided: America in the Age of Lincoln by Eric Foner and Olivia Mahoney, David L. Lightner's review of Lincoln's Assassins: A Complete Account of Their Capture, Trial and Punishment by Roy Z. Chamlee, Jr., and Harold Holzer's review of the reprint of The Lincoln Reader edited by Paul M. Angle.
Bill Furry reviewed Bonnie Speer's The Great Abraham Lincoln Hijack in the "Times Out" section of the Illinois Times' Weekly on August 16. Ed Russo reviewed The Collected Writings of James T. Hickey from Publications of the Illinois State Historical Society, 1953–1984 in the December 13, 1990 issue.
Mark E. Neely, Jr.'s review of Inside War: The Guerilla Conflict in Missouri During the American Civil War by Michael Fellman appeared in the September 1990 issue of Indiana Magazine of History.
In the November 1990 issue of The Journal of Southern History, Page [End Page 86] William Brock reviewed Robert W. Johannsen's essays The Frontier, The Union, and Stephen A. Douglas, William T. Auman reviewed Inside War: The Guerilla Conflict in Missouri During the American Civil War by Michael Fellman, Richard Bardolph reviewed Civil War Justice: Union Army Executions under Lincoln by Robert I. Alotta, and Michael Les Benedict reviewed volumes 13, 14, and 15 of The Papers of Ulysses S. Grant edited by John Y. Simon, David L. Wilson, and Sue E. Dotson. In the February issue, Dan T. Carter reviewed Andrew Johnson: A Biography by Hans L. Trefousse, Glenn M. Linden reviewed The Congressman's Civil War by Allan G. Bogue, Catherine L. Dvorak reviewed Frederick Douglass' Civil War: Keeping Faith in Jubilee by David W. Blight, and Don E. Fehrenbacher reviewed A People's Contest: The Union and Civil War, 1861–1865 by Philip Shaw Paludan.
In the summer 1990 issue of Lincoln Herald, Thomas D. Matijasic reviewed Civil War Justice: Union Army Executions under Lincoln by Robert I. Alotta, James Marten reviewed the reprint of Abraham Lincoln: A Press Portrait edited by Herbert Mitgang, Waldo W. Braden and Helen Braden Atkinson reviewed Meet Abraham Lincoln by Barbara Cary, Gary R. Planck reviewed Abe Lincoln in Song and Story by Aileen Goodman, Patricia Ann Owens reviewed Lincoln, the Constitution and Presidential Leadership by Richard N. Current, William J. Miller reviewed Lincoln by Andrew Lee, and Thomas D. Matijasic reviewed True Stories About Abraham Lincoln by Ruth Belovgross. The fall 1990 issue contained Waldo W. Braden's review of Andrew Johnson: A Biography by Hans L. Trefousse and McMurtry on Lincoln edited by Scott D. Miller, and Joseph E. Suppiger and Thomas R. Turner reviewed A People's Contest: The Union and the Civil War, 1861–1865 by Philip Shaw Paludan. Steven K. Rogstad reviewed How Big Was Lincoln's Toe? or Finding a Footnote by Gabor S. Boritt and "Not Much of Me": Abraham Lincoln as a Typical American by Jean Baker. Gary R. Planck reviewed John Wilkes Booth, Actor edited by Arthur Kincaid, The Twenty-fifth Anniversary Commemorative Booklet, 1964–1989 compiled by Joan L. Chaconas, Thomas S. Gwinn, Jr., and Laurie Verge (about the Surratt House in Clingon, Maryland), Barrett v. Alton and Sangamon Railroad Company by William Beard, What Was It Like: Abraham Lincoln by Lawrence Weinberg, and That Reminds Me of a Story ... The Wit and Humor of Abraham Lincoln on audio cassette tape. Robert A. McCown reviewed Abraham Lincoln: Sixteenth President of the United States by Jim Hargrove and Lincoln's Herndon, a Biography by David Herbert Donald. William F. Hanna reviewed Papers from the Second AnnualPage [End Page 87]Lincoln Colloquium edited by George L. Painter. Earl J. Hess reviewed The Petersburg Campaign: Abraham Lincoln at City Point, March 20–April 9, 1865 by Donald C. Pfanz. In the winter issue, Gary R. Planck reviewed A Lincoln Triology by Caylor Bowen, Lincoln Connections: Present at the Creation by Wallace H. Best, Abraham Lincoln by Scott Eldsworth, A New Salem Primer by Jo Anne Eades, and Abraham Lincoln: The Freedom President by Susan Sloate. Frank J. Williams reviewed Constitutions and Constitutionalism in the Slaveholding South by Don E. Fehhrenbacher. Steven K. Rogstad reviewed A Picture Book of Abraham Lincoln by David A. Adler, Robert A. McCown reviewed Abraham Lincoln, President of a Divided Country by Carol Greene, Thomas D. Matijasic reviewed Witness to the Young Republic: A Yankee's Journal, 1828–1870 by Benjamin Brown French and edited by Donald B. Cole and John J. McDonough, Waldo W. Braden reviewed Abraham Lincoln: Sixteenth President of the United States by Rebecca Steffof, James Marten reviewed The Coming of the Civil War, 1837–1861 by John Niven, and Terry Alfort reviewed the reprint of The Great American Myth by George S. Bryan.
The spring issue of The Lincoln Legacy was a book review issue, with Philip Bean discussing Robert V. Bruce's Lincoln and the Tools of War, George L. Painter reviewing David Herbert Donald's Lincoln's Hernndon: A Biography, Barbara Hughett writing about The Collected Writings of James T. Hickey, Bert A. Thompson's review of The Lincoln Family Album by Mark E. Neely, Jr., and Harold Holzer, Sylvia Leeseberg's discussion of the reprinting of Paul Simon's Lincoln's Preparation for Greatness: The Illinois Legislative Years, and Gabor S. Boritt's commentary on Mark E. Neely, Jr.'s The Fate of Liberty: Lincoln's Record on Civil Liberties Examined.
Matthew Noah Vosmeier reviewed Lincoln on Democracy in the September 1990 issue of Lincoln Lore and in the April issue, "Images of War: Ken Burns' Film The Civil War."
S. L. Carson reviewed the ABC television production of The Perfect Tribute in the May–June issue of The Lincolnian, and Brad Hufford reviewed Stephen B. Oates's With Malice Toward None: The Life of Abraham Lincoln.
Herbert Mitgang reviewed Lincoln on Democracy for the New York Times on October 31, 1990. Commenting on the publicly acclaimed PBS series, The Civil War, Mitgang asserted that the emphasis on an "even-handed" presentation of North and South prevented a real view of the overwhelming role Lincoln played as constitutional commander-in-chief. This book helps correct that omission, as Mitgang believes that "Lincoln's words are, indeed, the war's most Page [End Page 88] enduring heritage." Mitgang also reviewed The Fate of Liberty: Abraham Lincoln and Civil Liberties by Mark E. Neely, Jr., and James M. McPherson's Abraham Lincoln and the Second American Revolution on February 9. Mitgang points out McPherson's disagreement with authors who believe that Lincoln was created by events and had no philosophy of his own, citing Lincoln's support of a higher tariff, homestead act, land grant college act, transcontinental railroad, national banking act, and a progressive income tax. Mitgang notes McPherson's fascination with Lincoln's use of images of nature for parables. In his section on The Fate of Liberty he points out that McPherson went to original records to determine the ten thousand arrests made during the Civil War as a result of martial law and suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus. Lincoln's reputation survived in part because no one cared for most of those detained and "most military arrests of civilians did not involve torture or prejudice against any ethnic group." Mitgang also reviewed The Personal Memoirs of U. S. Grant and the Memoirs of William Tecumseh Sherman in the December 22, 1990 issue, citing the Lincoln connection by quoting Grant's letter to the president supporting the enlistment of black troops for the North and Grant stating "Mr. Lincoln gained influence over men by making them feel that it was a pleasure to serve him. He preferred yielding his own wish to gratify others, rather than to insist upon having his own way. It distressed him to disappoint others. In matters of public duty, however, he had what he wished, but in the least offensive way." Frederick Allen reviewed James M. McPherson's book of essays, Abraham Lincoln and the Second American Revolution, in the January 20 edition of the New York Times Book Review. "The Roots of Lincoln's Prose," an excerpt from McPherson's book, appeared in the February 10 issue: "Lincoln grew up close to the rhythms of nature, of wild beast and farm animals ... and of people who got their meager living from the land. These things, more than books, furnished his earliest education. They infused his speech with the rhythms of nature."
David Levering Lewis reviewed Frederick Douglass by William S. McFeely for the February 17 issue of the New York Times Book Review section.
William E. Gienapp reviewed McPherson's Abraham Lincoln and the Second American Revolution for the February 3 issue of Book World of the Washington Post. Gienapp notes that McPherson makes a good case for the revolutionary nature of the war and Lincoln's role in this, with McPherson labeling Lincoln a "pragmatic radical." Page [End Page 89]
People and Things
To honor the memory of Roy P. Basler, the Lincoln Group of Florida has created the annual Basler Memorial Lincoln Symposium to be held each year preceding the group's dinner meeting.
My letter to the New York Times correcting an article by that newspaper which lent truth to a suspicious story that Congress had accused Mary Todd Lincoln of being a spy appeared on September 15, 1990. Mark E. Neely, Jr., demonstrated in a 1975 issue of Lincoln Lore that there was no evidence that the perpetrator of such a story had personal knowledge of any such facts.
The 1988 report of Library of Congress Acquisitions to its Manuscript Division, published in 1990, describes the letters of G. A. P. Healy, the nineteenth-century portrait painter known for his portrait of Abraham Lincoln. Also reported is the reproduction through microfilm of the papers of Gideon Wells and the diaries, newspaper clippings, and other papers of Edward Bates, attorney general under Lincoln, and correspondence, drafts, and other papers of New York Herald publisher and Lincoln basher James Gordon Bennett.
The Tolman House, where Lincoln stayed as the guest of William Tolman in 1959, is about to undergo a $640,000 renovation. The house, located in Janesville, Wisconsin, is operated by the Rock County Historical Society.
On February 12 for fourteen consecutive years attorney Phillip C. Stone of Harrisonburg, Virginia, has led a group to the Lincoln homesite in Rockingham County, Virginia. Here, Lincoln's father, Thomas, was born and his great-grandmother, Virginia John Lincoln, is buried. This year's pilgrimage was reported in the Harrisonburg Daily News Record on February 13 and the Richmond News Leader on February 11.
Donald Ackerman wrote about "Biographical Aspects of Lincolniana" in the Political Collector for October 1990.
The Library of Congress Information Bulletin on November 19, 1990, contained Jean E. Tucker's "How Lincoln Proclaimed Thanksgiving a Holiday" (through the efforts of Sarah Josepha Hale, editor of Godey's Lady's Book).
Steven K. Rogstad conducted a ten-week session on Mary Lincoln and a four-session course on the Lincolns in Wisconsin at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside.
Barbara Hughett is the author of the fiftieth-anniversary history of the original Civil War Round Table in Chicago. She is also the Page [End Page 90] editor of The Lincoln Newsletter published by Lincoln College and The Little Giant, newsletter of the Stephen A. Douglas Association.
Matthew Noah Vosemeir has joined the staff of the Lincoln Museum, Ft. Wayne, Indiana.
Deborah Storti of Westerly, Rhode Island, uncovered a copy of Lincoln's telegram dated July 3, 1862 and addressed to Rhode Island Civil War Governor William Sprague, imploring him for troops. Located in unexamined Civil War documents at the state archives, the telegram is in the hand of the telegrapher who received the "private and confidential" message from the president. Further research reveals that the president sent the same telegram on the same day to all the northern governors. The original, in Lincoln's hand, was sent to Governor Morgan of New York. Ironically, the original is in the McLellan Lincoln Collection at the John Hay Library, Brown University, also in Providence.
With the deadline presented to Saddam Hussein to quit Kuwait by January 15 or face expulsion by force, New York Times reporter R. W. Apple, Jr., wrote on December 22, 1990, that "setting deadlines is risky, particularly those you can't meet." Apple reported how present military commanders reflected the same caution of others in history who have wanted to make doubly sure that they had enough strength before attacking. "Lincoln was plagued by Generals who counseled such delay, notably Gen. George B. McClellan."
An interview with Mario Cuomo by William E. Leuchtenburg, "Most American's Don't Know What Lincoln Really Represents," appeared in the December 1990 issue of American Heritage. The governor stated, "I think Lincoln's appeal is much simpler. Lincoln is the ultimate success story.... He should be every young, black person's hero in my neighborhood of South Jamaica, not because he freed the slaves but because he made it. I think that's what Americans see in him."
A effort is underway to establish an endowed curatorship for the Lincoln materials at Illinois Benedictine College in honor of the late Tom Dyba whose dream this was. A new wing on the library of the college is being designed to contain a room for the collection. Donations can be sent to Dolores Dyba Garstka, Illinois Benedictine College, 5700 College Road, Lisle, IL 60532–0900.
On October 28, 1990, Hildene received its fifty-thousandth visitor. Robert Todd Lincoln's home has been opened to the public since 1978, thanks primarily to the efforts of Oscar Johnson.
Lincoln artist and collector Lloyd Ostendorf announced at a press conference in Springfield, Illinois, on February 12 his purchase of Page [End Page 91] what is purportedly part of a sixth, heretofore unknown, handwritten copy of the Gettysburg Address in Lincoln's hand. The one-page document was found tucked among the pages of an antique book in northern Ohio in 1990. Only five known copies of the Address exists. This may be the missing Wills copy. Lincoln stayed with Judge David Wills the night before delivering his declaration, and Wills did ask Lincoln for the original copy of the address. Reaction of historians and collectors was cautious as reported in the February 13 edition of the Springfield State Journal-Register, with all waiting for further tests to be performed and an examination into the document's provenance.
The "Accent" section of the Topeka Capital-Journal of February 17 featured a profile of the Lincoln Club of Topeka and the Lincoln collection Bernard Hall donated that is located at St. Mary College.
A profile of Judge Harlington Wood, Jr., sometime portrayer of Lincoln and past president of the Abraham Lincoln Association, appeared in Springfield Magazine in February.
Not everyone was happy that the $50,000 Lincoln prize went to the producer of The Civil War. An editorial in the March–April issue of The Lincolnian wonders whether the prize was for scholarship or an Emmy award. This takes nothing away, says the writer, from the "carefully crafted work of art" by Ken Burns, but does it qualify for a "Lincoln prize for scholarly work ... for Lincoln and Civil War study?"
The advice that appeared in Ann Landers's column of February 15 in the Waco Tribune-Herald should be taken to heart by all who think that historical property is there for the taking. Landers responds to a letter from a woman whose husband, while visiting Springfield many years before, took a pair of scissors from a display of items belonging to Abraham Lincoln. The question was, Should they be retained or returned? Ralph Newman is cited as indicating that the scissors should be returned to the Illinois State Historical Library. As Ann Landers says, "Memento, my eye. Those scissors are stolen property." Sadly, the fifty-year disappearance eliminates the possibility of authenticating the scissors says curator Thomas F. Schwartz in a follow-up article by the State Journal-Register.
The February issue of the Journal of the American Historical Association contains a letter from Gore Vidal complaining about the treatment of his work by Don E. Fehrenbacher in The Historian's Lincoln. Fehrenbacher, in a point-by-point response, shows how Vidal misrepresented or misquoted his own novel and disingenuously attributes mistakes or errors to the characters that Vidal Page [End Page 92] created and through whom he speaks. The real issue, articulated by Fehrenbacher and Richard N. Current before him, is whether a good novel can also be a good history.
Joseph M. Santi, in a letter in the New York Times on March 28, discusses the irony of the attempt of the Byrnes High School principal in Duncan, South Carolina, to ban the song "Dixie," noting that when Abraham Lincoln returned from his tour of captured Richmond he called upon the Union Army band to strike up the song: "the tune is now Federal property, and its good to show the rebels that with us in power, they will be free to hear it again. It has always been a favorite of mine, and since we've captured it, we have a perfect right to enjoy it."
A profile of Lincoln student and collector Jack Smith appeared in the April 27 edition of the South Bend Tribune as "The Lincoln Link" by Becky Emmons.
Lincoln author Charles Strozier was profiled in the February 14 edition of the State Journal-Register in an article by Hilary Saperstein ("Strozier: Abe Wouldn't Fight This War"). Strozier saw a clear distinction in our fighting in the Persian Gulf and Lincoln's attempt to preserve the Union. Lincoln clearly articulated the goals of the war, unlike the conflict in the Middle East, where they remained murky.
The Gallery of History at the Beverly Center, Los Angeles, has for sale Lincoln's letter to eleven-year-old Grace Bedell in response to her suggestion that he grow a beard. The price is $1 million.
The city of DeValls Bluff, Arkansas, has announced that the state of Arkansas will provide funding for a $1.5 million project to be known as the Fort Lincoln Center, the first southern state to establish such a project in honor of President Lincoln, the Union, and the black troops that fought in the Civil War.
Susan Mogerman has become director of the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency, and Illinois State Historian E. Duane Elbert has replaced Michael J. Devine, who left to assume new duties as director of the American Heritage Center at the University of Wyoming.
Indefatigable Richard D. Mudd has convinced the United States Army Board for Correction of Military Records to reconsider the conviction against his grandfather, Dr. Samuel Mudd.
Robert G. Alexander presented "Lincoln and Grant: Their Similarities and Differences, or a New Look at Ulysses Grant" at the Governmental Center, Traverse City, Michigan, on February 21 for the Grand Traverse Pioneer and Historical Society. Page [End Page 93]
Lincoln impersonator Daniel Bassuk has created a new Lincoln group, the Association of Lincoln Presenters, who have as their motto, "Now He Belongs to the Stages." In his announcement of the creation of this group on April 15, Bassuk lists forty-one contemporary Lincoln presenters, five who portray Mary Todd Lincoln, and nine major actors and actresses who have portrayed the Lincolns.
Lincoln in Popular Culture
Abraham Lincoln beat out Kermit the Frog in an "election" at Disneyland. Park officials had planned to close "Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln" and replace him with Kermit, but tourists and park employees were irked and the officials relented. As the Associated Press reported on August 5, 1990, one twelve-year-old said, "Lincoln was president. Kermit is a frog."
Michael Marriott reported in the September 12, 1990 issue of the New York Times that educational videodisks—twelve-inch platters—are now being explored as educational devices in colleges and universities. At George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, a videodisk system incorporating words and images used in the production of PBS's The Civil War was made using a single computer hooked to a videodisk player, allowing students to study all the text, sound, and video materials gathered for the series by viewing a map of the Gettysburg battlefield and hearing an actor's rendition of the Gettysburg Address.
In a feature article on Senator Patrick Moynihan in the New York Times Magazine for September 16, 1990 by James Traub, the senator mentions that he wants to hold Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearings on how the American government should be reconstituted after the cold war. In support, he cites as his own footnote, "As the world is new, you must think anew—so said Abraham Lincoln.
"The cover feature of the September 20, 1990 edition of Illinois Times points out that "In Springfield, Lincoln Means Business." The author, Bill Furry, with photographs by Mars Cassidy, shows how an anonymous Springfield burgher in 1865 was right when he said, "Now he belongs to the merchants." The Lincoln theme is used for mercantile and tourist purposes, not for historical or thought-provoking purposes.
Julius Erving, retired star of the Philadelphia 76ers, narrated Aaron Copland's A Lincoln Portrait with Riccardo Muti and the Page [End Page 94] Philadelphia Orchestra on the eve of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birthday.
Warren E. Leary reported in his story to the New York Times that "Scientists Seek Lincoln DNA to Clone for a Medical Study." The National Museum of Health and Medicine announced on February 9 the creation of an advisory group to examine the ethical, political, and scientific questions relating to whether or not pieces of Lincoln's hair and skull fragments should be destroyed to recover his DNA, which can then be used to see if Lincoln, for example, suffered from the Marfan syndrome and a psychosis that would account for his periods of depression. One of the first editorials against doing this appeared in The Sun (Westerly, Rhode Isalnd) on February 11, wherein the editorial writer found the idea "boring." Even if it could be determined that Lincoln suffered from the Marfan syndrome, that discovery would not add to scientific knowledge of the disability. "Let the remains of Mr. Lincoln—what is underground and what is above—rest in peace." Other editorials were equally against the proposal. The New York Post, on May 7, called it "a ghoulish enterprise." In his column for the Dallas-Morning News on February 13 Steve Blow considers Lincoln the "model of the American ideal" and expresses his chargrin that Lincoln cannot be cloned, the effort to determine his DNA notwithstanding.
The committee was made up, but for one, of physicians heavily in favor of using the evidence. On May 2, as expected, when the panel met they gave a "qualified green light" to the proposal to study Lincoln's tissue, deciding that there was "no compelling legal argument to deny access to the samples" because Lincoln no longer has any direct descendants. Ethical guidelines on DNA testing continue to be developed and must be considered before a final decision is reached. Earl Lane described the findings of the panel for New York Newsday on May 3 in his "Panel: Clone Lincoln's DNA."
The New York Times reported on June 15 on the removal of the body of Lincoln's fellow Whig Zachary Taylor to determine whether he had died from arsenic poisoning, thus making him the first president to be assassinated. The reported diagnosis was cholera moribus (gastroenteritus). The "murder mystery" was solved when the analysis showed no poison. Clara Rising, a novelist who spearheaded this effort, stated that it was worth the fuss, as "We found the truth." Her theory that Taylor had been assassinated by a fellow Southerner who laced his last meal with arsenic for fear that his Page [End Page 95] moderating influence could conceivably have steered the country away from Civil War was found to be groundless.
Russell Baker, tongue-in-cheek, discusses the Zachary Taylor fiasco and the effort to clone Abraham Lincoln in his Op-Ed piece for the New York Times on June 22, "Grave Confounded." "It's tempting to justify this by telling the scientists, 'Find out what disease Lincoln had and send some to all our Presidents.'... Is nobody safe from a prying science driven by righteous curiosity?"
Matthew L. Wald of the New York Times News Service in his syndicated column "The Lighter Sides of Washington, D.C.," which appeared in the Providence Sunday Journal on April 14, had no kind things to say about the Lincoln Memorial, which makes the president look like "a stone-cold 19-foot alien," whereas Mt. Vernon makes President Washington seem more real. Perhaps Wald would not feel Lincoln so alien were he to visit Lincoln's home in Springfield, a more modest enterprise than Mt. Vernon.
In discussing the growth of the bar code used primarily in pricing and known as the "universal product code" or "UPC," Barnaby J. Feder, in "For Bar Codes, an Added Dimension" for the New York Times on April 24, shows in graphic form how the Gettysburg Address would be expressed as a two-dimensional bar code taking up one and a half inches of space.
A contemplative Lincoln sitting at a desk in front of a computer adorned the cover of the March issue of the ABA Journal with the quote "A Lawyer's Time and Advice Are His Stock and Trade."
Martin D. Tullai's " 'The Railsplitter': Greatest Publicity Stunt Staged Occurred in Illinois More than 130 Years Ago" appeared in the Peoria Journal Star on May 19 and described how the railsplitter image was born when, at the 1860 conference in Decatur on May 9 and 10, Illinois Republicans formally pledged their delegation to Lincoln for the Republican nomination for president. At the conference, Lincoln's cousin John Hanks and his friend Isaac Jennings paraded down the aisle with two fence rails purportedly hewn by Lincoln some thirty years before.
Actor Al Pacino as "Big Boy" in Warren Beatty's Dick Tracy is fond of quoting or misquoting famous people. While seated at a table counting money with a confederate, Big Boy espouses, "You must be for the people, or you can't buy the people. Lincoln." Page [End Page 96]
The Civil War
This highly touted and greatly praised twelve-hour documentary shown on public television September 23–27, 1990 deserves a section of its own. It was produced by Ken Burns and written primarily by Roosevelt biographer Geoffrey Ward. Lincoln's voice was actor Sam Waterson, who had played Lincoln in the TV adaptation of Gore Vidal's Lincoln. The book of the same name appeared on the New York Times best-seller list for twenty-eight weeks.
The series was profusely reviewed before and after its showing. Walter Goodman wrote in the New York Sunday Times on September 23: "There is Abraham Lincoln, of course, the hero among heroes, whose direct, inspiring prose, makes one ashamed of what passes as public discourse in our own time." Richard Zoglin in "The Terrible Remedy" for Time on September 24 noted: "Abraham Lincoln was inspiring even in his black moods ('if there is a worse place than hell, I am in it') and his caustic ones 'If General McClellan does not want to use the Army,' he complained of his dithering Military Chief, 'I would like to borrow it for a time.'"
Tim Clark's "The Man Who Had to Kill Abraham Lincoln" in the October issue of Yankee described Ken Burns, already respected for his documentaries on Huey Long, the Brooklyn Bridge, Thomas Hart Benton, the Statue of Liberty, the Congress, and the Shakers, and how this series took five and a half years to produce. Burns acted against the advice of friends, including Geoffrey Ward, who told him, "Do not do it. You're nuts; it will swallow you alive." Burns describes the harrowing experience of recreating the shooting of Lincoln, "We were watching the screen as the camera pans over to the Presidential Box, all listening and involved," he said. "We knew what was coming up, what was about to happen. The actor said the lines, the laughs started, and the editor and my assistant and I simultaneously said, 'Stop!' We actually yelled it—'No!'" in an attempt to stop what happened.
Yet the documentary had its detractors. Some thought it was too slow, too long, and too boring, with too many shots of dead bodies (the only criticism of a major player in the series, Southern journalist and storyteller Shelby Foote). Some lamented the close-ups of the three thousand photo stills used and the ranging of the camera around them. Some Southerners thought that the presentation had a Northern bias (the Sun, Westerly, Rhode Island, September 23, 1990). Many Southerners have difficulty in acknowledging that they lost the war and that what came from the debacle was, as Lincoln Page [End Page 97] described at Gettysburg, a new nation. James M. McPherson describes "The War that Never Ended" in the September 1990 magazine published by most PBS stations and articulates how enduring the interest in the Civil War has become.
Newsweek featured "The Civil War Remembered" as its cover story on October 8, 1990. Were the many who watched public television viewers who would have seen it anyway, or did the program reach out to a vaster, newer audience? While historian Ludwell H. Johnson, III, called this another "manifestation" of the "Lincoln cult," Shelby Foote appraised Lincoln as "a great leader who was always calculating."
Fritz Eichenberg, wood engraver and illustrator, including portraits of Abraham Lincoln, died at age eighty-nine on November 30, 1990.
Aaron Copland, composer of A Lincoln Portrait, died at age ninety on December 2, 1990.
Hermand Williams, caretaker for the Stephen A. Douglas Tomb State Historic Site, died in Los Angeles, California on December 23, 1990, aged seventy-seven.
Raymond W. Dooley, Lincoln scholar and college president, died on February 13; he was president of Lincoln College from 1948 to 1971.
Waldo W. Braden, Lincoln author, died on April 19.
Mort Lewis, a radio, television, and film writer who was a noted authority on Lincoln's humor, died on May 21.
Call for Papers
The tenth annual multidisciplinary American Studies Forum will hold an international conference on all aspects of the Lincoln Legacy on September 17–18, 1992. Half-page proposals with a half-page biographical sketch on the same sheet are due January 15, 1992, with the selected papers to be published. The conference director is William D. Pederson, Louisiana State University, One University Place, Shreveport, LA 71115–2399. Page [End Page 98]
Stephen B. Oates and Robert Bray
With little or no notice to Stephen Oates, Robert Bray attempted to show that Oates was guilty of plagiarism in his biography of Lincoln, With Malice Toward None, at the eleventh annual Illinois History symposium held on November 30, 1990. Bray examined the first 161 pages of the Oates's book and found approximately five similarities to Benajmin Thomas's Lincoln biography published in 1952. Commentator Cullom Davis sent Bray's paper to the American Historical Association for review. Neither Oates nor Bray are members of the AHA. Oates's biography was published in 1977. A member of the press was present at the conference, and Bill Furry made his report, "Lincoln Biographer Charged with Plagiarism" in the December 6, 1990 issue of Illinois Times.
Several Lincoln scholars, among them Don E. Fehrenbacher, Richard N. Current, Mark E. Neely, Jr., Gabor S. Boritt, and John Y. Simon read Bray's paper, the American Historical Association guidelines as to plagiarism, and the Thomas and Oates biographies and concluded that Bray's charges did not rise to the level of theft of words or ideas. All agreee, as currently stated, that although there are some similarities between the Oates biography and Thomas's, "these similarities have to do with matters of common knowledge about Lincoln's early life, not with matters of unique and original thought on Thomas's part." The consensus is that Oates's portrayal of Lincoln is quite different from Thomas's, with both standing on their own.
Twenty-two of the country's foremost Civil War and Lincoln scholars signed a statement on April 29, concluding that the charges against Oates were "totally unfounded." Signatories included C. Van Woodward, James M. McPherson, David Donald, Robert W. Johannsen, William S. McFeely, and Kenneth M. Stampp. Mark Muro described the defense of Oates in his article for the Boston Globe on May 2, and the New York Times published "Historians Rebut Plagiarism Charge" on May 1.
Works in Progress
Richard N. Current's Lincoln's Loyalists in the South will be published this year by Northeastern University Press.
Merrill Peterson is at work on The Lincoln Image in the American Mind for publication by Oxford. Page [End Page 99]
James Stevenson is at work on a forthcoming book entitled Abraham Lincoln's Poetry and Prose.
Primarily through the efforts of Louise Taper, Lincoln collector, and Thomas F. Schwartz, curator of the Horner Lincoln Collection in Springfield, the Henry Huntington Library in California will present what is billed the best and largest Lincoln exhibition ever, which is scheduled to open in the fall of 1993.
Norman Boas, a retired physician, author, and manuscript collector and dealer, is at work on a biographical dictionary of the friends and associates of Lincoln in Indiana and Illinois. He uses manuscripts of these people as the basis of the book.
Douglas Wilson and Rodney O. Davis of the Department of History, Knox College, Galesburg, Illinois, are scheduled to produce for the University of Illinois Press a two-volume annotated edition of the material that William H. Herndon collected from his Lincoln informants.
Harold Holzer is under contract with Harper Collins to produce an edition of the "real" Lincoln-Douglas debates based on what the partisan press represented as the opponent's address. Entitled The Lincoln-Douglas Debates, What They Really Said: The First Unexpurgated Edition, it may come closer to the truth of what was actually said, because Lincoln and Douglas both edited their own speeches for supporting newspapers. The question remains whether or not the partisan presses unfairly misrepresented opponent's presentations.
Sylvia Neely has translated into English, Olivier Fraysse's Abraham Lincoln, la terre et le travail to be published by the University of Illinois Press.
ABC has announced a two-part, four-hour Abraham Lincoln documentary to be produced by Peter Kunhardt and written by his father, Philip Kunhardt. A companion book will also be published. Following the format of Ken Burns's Civil War, the documentary will be told through photos and drawings, with actors speaking Lincoln's and other characters' words.
Orion Books will publish a book by Harold Holzer and Mark E. Neely, Jr., about Civil War art, Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory, in the fall of 1993.
Many thanks to all who provided information and copies for mention in this article. Special thanks to Arnold Gates, Harold Page [End Page 100] Holzer, Mark E. Neely, Jr., Tom Lapsley, Wayne C. Temple, and Steven Rogstad. I welcome any news concerning Abraham Lincoln to be considered for publication in the next issue of the Journal of the Abraham Lincoln Association; contact me at 300 Switch Road, Hope Valley, RI 02832. Page [End Page 101]