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The Spoken Word and Group Activities

Frank J. Williams was the narrator of Aaron Copland’s Lincoln Portrait for the Ocean State Summer Pops concert at the Stadium Theatre in Woonsocket, RI, August 25.

Grant Havers presented a lecture, “Lincoln, the Constitution, and the Civil War,” at William Jessup University, Rocklin, CA, on August 30.

The American Queen hosted, with The Lincoln Forum, The Lincoln Legacy aboard the steamboat from August 31 to September 7 with presentations by George Buss interpreting Abraham Lincoln; John Marszalek (“Why Lincoln Matters” and “Lincoln and Halleck”); and Frank J. Williams (“Lincoln: Commander-in-Chief, Emancipator-in-Chief” and “Lincoln and the Constitution”).  A “Press conference with President Lincoln” (George Buss) was moderated by Frank J. Williams.

Bryon Andreasen delivered “Abraham Lincoln and Wartime Civil Liberties” at the Lincoln Land Community College, Springfield, IL, on September 4.

Kirk Nystrom presented “Lincoln Laughed Out Loud” at the September 4 meeting of the Lincoln Club of Topeka.

Linda Smith Chaffee discussed the granite monuments at Antietam made in Westerly, RI, on September 16 at the Babcock Smith House Museum in Westerly.

The Virginia Sesquicentennial of the American Civil War Commission hosted “A Fireside Chat: Looking at the Emancipation Proclamation” on September 21, with James I. (“Bud”) Robertson, Jr., Frank J. Williams, Harold Holzer, and Edna Greene Medford at the University of Mary Washington, Fredericksburg, VA.  Woody Evans moderated.

Frank J. Williams served as a panelist for the legal education symposium, Lincoln and Professionalism, offered by the Washington State Bar Association, Seattle, on September 27.  On September 28, he presented “Abraham Lincoln and the Emancipation Proclamation” at the Rhode Island College conference, America’s Bloodiest Day: Antietam, Emancipation, and Memorialization.

Thomas D. Mackie presented “Log Walls to Marble Halls: The American Lincoln Museum” at the September 29 meeting of the Lincoln Group of Boston.

Steve Germs discussed “Thaddeus Stevens and Lincoln” at the October 2 meeting of the Lincoln Club of Topeka.

The 2012 Lincoln Legacy Lecture Series of the University of Illinois, Springfield, featured Allen C. Guelzo with “Four Roads to Emancipation” and Ron Soodalter speaking on “A Blight on the Nation: Human Trafficking and Slavery in America Today” on October 11.

The 27th Annual Lincoln Colloquium was held at the Indiana History Center, Indianapolis, on October 13, with Ron Soodalter discussing his book, Captain Gordon: The Life and Trial of an American Slave Trader, and Michael Johnson, curator of education at President Lincoln’s Cottage.

Gerald J. Prokopowicz delivered “Did Lincoln Own Slaves?” at the annual dinner meeting of the Rhode Island Civil War Round Table on November 8.

The Fall-Winter programs of the New-York Historical Society included “War on the Waters: The Civil War Navy” with James M. McPherson and Craig L. Symonds.  Harold Holzer moderated this session, as well as “Three Days at Gettysburg” on October 30 and December 4 with James M. McPherson and John F. Marszalek.  Holzer will also moderate “Lincoln, Douglass and the U.S. Colored Troops in Action” with panelists David W. Blight, Elizabeth D. Leonard and Mia Bay on February 19, 2013.

The Southern Historical Association met in Mobile, November 1-4, with a session, “Foreign Affairs and the American Civil War,” with Howard Jones (“150 Years Later: The Threat to the Republic of Foreign Intervention in the Civil War”) and Richard Huzzey (“The Lyons-Seward Treaty of 1862 and the Slave Trade Factor in British Sympathy for the Confederacy”).  Paul Quigley presided with comments by Hugh Dubrulle and Brian SchoenGeorge Rable presided over “Of Jubilee and Judgment: New Perspectives on Religion and the Civil War” with “Conjuring Emancipation: Slave Religions in Civil War Contraband Camps” by Abigail Cooper, “‘The God who Shielded Me Before, Yet Watches Over All of Us’: Confederate Soldiers, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, and Religion” by Dillon J. Carol, and “The Threat of Peace: Nonviolence and Division and the Disciples of Christ During the Civil War” by Darin Tuck, with comments by Chandra Manning.  “The United States and the Caribbean in the Civil War Era” featured “Caribbeanizing the 1860 U.S. Presidential Campaign: Stephen Douglas, Cuba and Saving the Union” with Robert May, “‘Weal or Woe’: Confederate Expansionist Ambitions in 1863” with Adrian Brettle and “The Monroe Doctrine, The Caribbean, and Reconstruction” with Jay SextonEdward Rugemer and Thomas Schoonover provided comments.

The 17th Annual Lincoln Forum (“1862: Battle Cry of Union/Battle Cry of Freedom”) was held at Gettysburg, November 16-18, with James I. “Bud” Robertson (“Stonewall Jackson in 1862: Lincoln’s Letter of Admiration”); Frank J. Williams (“Suspension of the Great Writ: Habeas Corpus”); Harold Holzer (“Lincoln on War”); Catherine Clinton (“Death in the White Houses: Washington and Richmond”); Craig L. Symonds (“‘Hunting Skunks’: Lincoln, Porter and Farragut”); George Buss (“Lincoln’s Letter to Fanny McCullough”); Amanda Foreman (“Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation: A Propaganda Tool for the Enemy”); John Marszalek (“Ulysses S. Grant and William T. Sherman: Stars Rising in the West”); John C. Waugh (“Lincoln and McClellan”); Jim Getty (“Highlights from Lincoln’s 1862 Annual Message to Congress”); and keynote speaker Eric Foner (“Lincoln and Freedom”).  Session moderators included Edna Greene Medford, Don McCue, and Harold Holzer.  “The Constitution Goes to War: Lincoln and Civil Liberties” included panelists Roger Billings, Andrew Kent, and Burrus Carnahan, and moderator Frank J. WilliamsHarold Holzer moderated “100 Days to Emancipation: The Most Important Months of the War?” with panelists Louis Masur, David Von Drehle, Frank J. Williams, Edna Greene Medford, and Amanda Foreman.

A conference on major aspects of Massachusetts’ role in the Civil War, Massachusetts & the Civil War: the Commonwealth and National Disunion, will be hosted by the Massachusetts Historical Society between April 4 and 6, 2013.

International Legacy

On September 9, the Capitoline Museum in Rome exhibited the Vatican’s treasure troves, including a letter from Abraham Lincoln to Pope Pius IX.

Jyotirmaya Tripathy, Sura Rath and William D. Pederson, editors, Abraham Lincoln Without Borders: Lincoln’s Legacy Outside the United States, rev. by Margit Nagy, The Journal of Southern History (August 2012).

John Fabian Witt, author of Lincoln’s Code: The Laws of War in American History, authored an op-ed for the September 21 New York TimesWitt believes that the code by Professor Francis Lieber of Columbia, and approved by Lincoln himself, regulated the humane rules of warfare.  While the Emancipation Proclamation granted freedom, the code set forth a new strategy in the international conduct of war that, in part, protected those freed by emancipation.  While it inhibits “brutality,” the code, followed to this day, articulates “acceptable” ways to “legitimatize terrible violence.”

A panel session on “Lincoln’s Legacy in the Global South” was held at the annual conference of the Association of Third World Studies held at Berry College in Georgia on October 11-13.  The presentations included William D. Pederson and Samuel D. Goode (“Lincoln in Iran”); Kris Chatara (“Lincoln in the UAE”); Chris Cannatella (“Lincoln in Egypt”); Joseph Eades (“Lincoln in Malawi”); and Eduardo Hernandez (“Lincoln in Zacatecas, Mexico”).

The International Lincoln Center at LSU Shreveport held its ninth triennial presidential conference on October 18-20.  The topic was  The Life, Times and Legacy of Theodore Roosevelt with special emphasis on Lincoln’s impact on him.  It featured 35 scholars from the United States, Asia and Europe on a dozen panels, as well as the premiere of a play by Danny M. Adkison (Oklahoma State University), “Who Killed the Constitution? A TR/Sherlock Holmes Who-Done-It-In-Reverse,” on the 125th anniversary of the first Sherlock Holmes mystery.  The conference was co-sponsored by the Centre for Contemporary Theory (Vadodara, India), the Golda Meir Center for Leadership Studies (Metropolitan College of Denver), the International Lincoln Association, and The Lincoln Forum.  It was co-directed by William D. Pederson and Frank J. Williams.

U.S. Ambassador Gary Locke and his wife Monica were featured in a photograph at the January 19 state dinner for China’s President Hu Jintao in Beijing at the U.S. Embassy.  A very large bust of Lincoln is in the background.  The photo and story appeared in the August 15 issue of the Washington Post.

Approximately 300 Lincoln photos, full-page book and movie newspaper ads, and front covers from a variety of periodicals, now form the newly named “Lincoln Hall” adjacent to the International Lincoln Center at LSU Shreveport.

Antigua has issued a new souvenir stamp sheet showing Lincoln with and without a beard, an 1860 campaign poster, and a closeup photo of his eyes and nose.


William P. Adair wrote “Lincoln Was Framed” for PFM in August.  The author treats and conserves picture frames.  In 1982 he formed Gold Leaf Studios.  This article discusses a recently found Lincoln portrait by William T. Matthews (1821-1905), depicting Lincoln holding the Emancipation Proclamation.  At the time the full-length portrait was made in the late 1800s, the frame was considered more valuable than the painting.  Adair is in the process of replicating the frame for the newly found portrait.

Lincoln and Shakespeare was presented at Theatre in the Park, Lincoln’s New Salem State Historic Site, Petersburg, IL, on August 17-18.

Michelle Ruiz wrote “All About Abe: How Hollywood Became the Land of Lincoln” for The Daily on September 1.

Based on Drew Gilpin Faust’s Republic of Suffering, PBS’s “American Experience” presented Death and the Civil War on September 18.  Ric Burns produced it.

My Life as Abraham Lincoln with Caroline Luft opened on September 28 in Manhattan.  This “dramedy” by Shari Berman is about a protagonist with mystery-writing aspirations, her research for an article about finding a fulfilling relationship, and her persistent childhood memories of being assassinated as Lincoln in a school play.

This fall, Hollywood tackled Abraham Lincoln, Osama bin Laden and the Tea Party, among other more serious ventures.  Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln, about leadership, originally scheduled for release in December, was released on November 16 with Daniel Day-Lewis starring as the president in a drama set during the last four months of his life.  Despite Spielberg’s earlier promise to hold the film until after the election (November 6), it is expected that there will be contemporary comparisons and partisan debate as a result of pre-release publicity for the movie along with trailers just as the voters head to the polls.

Pike County, IL, has created Abe Lincoln’s Talking Houses Tour for Pittsfield, IL (


The First Step to Freedom: Abraham Lincoln’s Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation was hosted at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in New York City from September 21-24.  The exhibit included New York’s copy of the Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation with glued-in sections of the Confiscation Act.  The official Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation, held in trust for the American people at the National Archives, was also on display, along with a manuscript of a speech delivered in New York City by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., on September 22, 1962, the centennial of Lincoln’s order.  The Schomburg run was the initial stop on a statewide tour that included Buffalo, Long Island, and Albany.

Abraham Lincoln artist Wendy Allen had 20 of her paintings on exhibit at the Von Tornow Gallery, Denver, from September 7 to October 21.

In observance of the 150th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s Executive Order on January 1, 1863, the Massachusetts Historical Society will host an exhibition, Forever Free: Lincoln and the Emancipation Proclamation, during January 2013.

Awards and Prizes

Wayne C. Temple received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Illinois State Historical Society on April 27.

Eric Foner received the Richard Nelson Current Award of Achievement at The Lincoln Forum on November 18.


Former Idaho Attorney General and Lieutenant Governor David Leroy and his wife Nancy have donated their Lincoln collection to the Idaho State Historical Society where it will be put on exhibit.

Books and Pamphlets

Georgiann Baldino has written Candidate Lincoln, a novel (Pearl Editions, P.O. Box 4197, Naperville, IL 60567-4197).

Anatomy of a Lean Leader As Illustrated by 10 Modern CEOs and Abraham Lincoln has been prepared by Jerry Bussell and Emily Adams (Underwriters Laboratory, LLC, 333 Pfingston Road, Northbrook, IL 60062).

Jason Emerson has edited Mary Lincoln’s Insanity Case: A Documentary History for University of Illinois Press.

Lincoln’s Hundred Days: The Emancipation Proclamation and the War for the Union by Louis P. Masur has been published by Harvard University Press.

Randall M. Miller has edited Lincoln and Leadership: Military, Political, and Religious Decision-making for Fordham University Press.

Walter Stahr’s Seward: Lincoln’s Indispensable Man has been published by Simon & Schuster.

Lincoln’s Code: The Laws of War in American History by John Fabian Witt has been published by Free Press.

Civil War Sesquicentennial and Collateral Books

H.W. Brands is the author of The Man Who Saved the Union: Ulysses Grant in War and Peace (Doubleday).

Knopf has published We Have the War Upon Us: The Onset of the Civil War, November 1860-April 1861 by William J. Cooper.

The University Press of Kentucky reissued The Blue Grass Cookbook by Minnie C. Fox, originally published in 1904.

The Steven Spielberg film Lincoln has inspired several companion books, including Lincoln, edited by Karl Weber (Free Press), and, for young adults, Harold Holzer’s Lincoln: How Abraham Lincoln Ended Slavery in America (HarperCollins).

Contested Borderland: The Civil War in Appalachian Kentucky and Virginia by Brian D. McKnight has been published by the University Press of Kentucky.

James M. McPherson’s latest book, War on the Waters: The Union & Confederate Navies, 1861-1865, has been published by UNC Press.

Donald Stoker’s The Grand Design: Strategy and the U.S. Civil War has been published in paper by Oxford University Press.

Oxford University Press re-issued Craig L. Symonds’ The Civil War at Sea.

Peter Zavodnyik wrote The Rise of the Federal Colossus: The Growth of Federal Power From Lincoln to F.D.R. for Praeger.


The State Bar News (New York State Bar Association) for July and August included an article by Mark Mahoney discussing the Civil War panels on habeas corpus, originally presented at a conference at Albany Law School held on June 8.

Edwin S. Grosvenor wrote about Dr. Charles Leale’s first medical report on Lincoln’s assassination, “Oh Doctor, Do What You Can!” for his Summer American HeritageStephen W. Sears’s “High Stakes at Antietam” appeared in the same issue.

On August 2, POLITICO published Roger Simon’s “Party Conventions’ Aura of Unity,” covering the 1860 Republican Party gathering in Chicago’s Wigwam and the nomination of Abraham Lincoln.

The Summer Journal of the Abraham Lincoln Association included “‘A Death-shock to Chivalry, and a Mortal Wound to Caste’: The Story of Tad and Abraham Lincoln in Richmond” by Richard Wightman Fox; “‘Mechem’ or ‘Mack’: How a One-Word Correction in the Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln Reveals the Truth about an 1856 Political Event” by Tom M. George; and “Solving a Lincoln Literary Mystery: ‘Little Eddie’” by Samuel P. Wheeler.

“Booth and the Confederate Secret Service” by John C. Fazio appeared in the September Surratt Courier.

“Teacher, Preacher, Soldier, Spy” (How a Methodist Head Master of a Boys’ School Became a Rebel Secret Agent—and Tried to Kidnap Lincoln) by Ernest B. Furgurson appeared in the Autumn 2012 MHQ: The Quarterly Journal of Military History.

“Lincoln and the Founders of the Illinois State Bar Association” by Guy C. Fraker appeared in the Fall Illinois Lawyer Now Quarterly.

Louis P. Masur’s “Liberty is a Slow Fruit: Lincoln the Deliberate Emancipator” was in the Autumn American Scholar.

Jason Kelly wrote “Octopotus?” about the rising fears of a dictatorial Executive Branch for the September-October issue of The University of Chicago Magazine.

The October Lincoln Ledger of the Fellowship of Wisconsin featured Peter Skelly’s “Burnt Village, the Black Hawk War and the Training Ground for the Civil War.”

“Lincoln’s Midterms” by Catherine Whittenburg appeared in the November America’s Civil War, as did Winston Groom’s “Grant’s Obnoxious Order.”

Harold Holzer was interviewed by editor Sara Gabbard on Abraham Lincoln’s Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation for the Fall Lincoln LorePeter C. Myers wrote “Stepfather Abraham: Frederick Douglass’s Contribution to Lincoln Lore” for the same issue.


Joseph Bennett, editor, Ex Parte Merryman: Two Commemorations, rev. by Jay Jorgensen, America’s Civil War (September 2012).

Gregory Borchard, Abraham Lincoln and Horace Greeley, rev. by Reed Smith, Journal of the Abraham Lincoln Association (Summer 2012).

Michael Burlingame, Lincoln and the Civil War, rev. by Ethan S. Rafuse, Journal of the Abraham Lincoln Association (Summer 2012).

Richard Carwardine and Jay Sexton, editors, The Global Lincoln, rev. by Daniel Walker Howe, Journal of the Abraham Lincoln Association (Summer 2012).

Brian R. Dirck, Lincoln and the Constitution, rev. by Henry S. Cohn, The Federal Lawyer (October-November 2012).

Jason Emerson, Giant in the Shadows: The Life of Robert T. Lincoln, rev. by Frank J. Williams, America’s Civil War (September 2012).

Allen C. Guelzo, Fateful Lightning: A New History of the Civil War & Reconstruction, rev. by Jeffrey D. Wert, Civil War News (September 2012).

Harold Holzer, Craig L. Symonds and Frank J. Williams, editors, The Lincoln Assassination: Crime and Punishment, Myth and Memory, rev. by Bryon C. Andreasen, The Journal of Southern History (August 2012).

Kate Clifford Larson, The Assassin’s Accomplice: Mary Surratt and the Plot to Kill Abraham Lincoln, rev. by Ryan A. Ross, Journal of the Abraham Lincoln Association (Summer 2012).

Elizabeth Leonard, Lincoln’s Forgotten Ally, rev. by Tom Ryley, The Dispatch (Civil War Round Table of New York) (August/September 2012).

Charles R. McKirdy, Lincoln Apostate: The Matson Slave Case, rev. by Daniel W. Stowell, Journal of the Abraham Lincoln Association (Summer 2012).

Timothy L. O’Brien, The Lincoln Conspiracy: A Novel, rev. by Jeff Ayers, The Westerly Sun (September 25, 2012).

Frank J. Williams and Michael Burkhimer, editors, The Mary Lincoln Enigma, rev. by Louis P. Masur, the Civil War Monitor blog (

Kenneth J. Winkle, Abraham and Mary Lincoln, rev. by Janet L. Coryell, Journal of the Abraham Lincoln Association (Summer 2012).


Collector Brooks Davis was profiled in the Caxtonian, July 2012.

Former Representative Paul Findley was honored by U.S. Senator Richard Durbin on August 18 for his efforts in creating the Lincoln Home National Historic Site in Springfield, IL.

Lincoln in Popular Culture

In his column for the July 27 New York Times, “The Olympic Contradiction,” David Brooks cites Abraham Lincoln and his biblical cry, “A house divided against itself cannot stand.”  But Brooks indicates that while Lincoln may have been right about slavery, “The maxim doesn’t apply to much else.  In general, the best people are contradictory, and the most enduring institutions are, too.”  Many would disagree even though his example of the Olympics is a “peaceful celebration of our warlike nature.”

An advertisement by Gettysburg College on September 16 in the Sunday New York Times contained an opinion column by Scott Hancock, who teaches at the college, stating that “Lincoln was no friend.  And his Proclamation was no gift to African Americans.”  The best that Professor Hancock could offer is that Lincoln ultimately made African Americans his allies.

Liz Roberts wrote “The emancipation is still incomplete” for the September 21 New York Daily NewsRoberts, Chief Program Director of Safe Horizon, a victim service agency, argues that the sesquicentennial of Abraham Lincoln’s Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation is timely because of the pressing need to eradicate modern-day slavery—human trafficking.  Grant funding to organizations like Safe Horizon enables them to “rescue and rehabilitate thousands of survivors of sex trafficking and forced labor…” now estimated to be 20.9 million people worldwide.

The Wall Street Journal for September 22-23 included Allen C. Guelzo’s “How Lincoln Saved the ‘Central Idea’ of America” in commemoration of the sesquicentennial of the Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation.  According to Guelzo, “What the American Revolution began, the Civil War completed.”  Despite the economic ruin for the South and the loss of $3.5 billion as investment in slaves, the Emancipation Proclamation removed “one retrograde institution and made it clear that equality, law and freedom were not some charade.”


Ed Steers, Jr. has edited and expanded his Escape and Capture of John Wilkes Booth.  It is now a digital eBook and is sold by  His Blood on the Moon is being made into an audio book by Audible’s ACX.

Works in Progress

Martin P. Johnson is at work on Writing the Gettysburg Address: Lincoln’s Journey to the New Birth of Freedom about how Abraham Lincoln wrote the Gettysburg Address.

Ed Steers, Jr.’s History as Hoax will be published by the University Press of Kentucky in 2013.  It includes a chapter on “The Missing Pages From John Wilkes Booth’s Diary.”  A Kindle edition of Steers’ His Name is Still Mudd will be available from Amazon this year.


Robert S. Eckley, the longest-serving president of Illinois Wesleyan University, died on April 15 at the age of 90.  An ardent student of Abraham Lincoln, he served as president of the Abraham Lincoln Association and his forthcoming Lincoln’s Forgotten Friend: Leonard Swett will be published this Fall by Southern Illinois University Press.

Biographer Gene Smith, who wrote about world leaders, died at 83 on July 25.  In addition to his best-selling book, When the Cheering Stopped: The Last Years of Woodrow Wilson, he wrote The Impeachment and Trial of Andrew Johnson (1977) and Lee and Grant: A Dual Biography (1984).

The acerbic essayist, screenwriter, and novelist Gore Vidal died July 31 at the age of 86.  He made his living, and a very good living at that, from challenging power and writing best-selling historical novels like Lincoln.

Pre-eminent military historian Sir John Keegan died after a long illness at his home in Kilmington, England, on August 2.  He was 78.  While never serving in the military, his The Face of Battle is considered a military classic.  He was the author of more than 20 books, including The American Civil War and The Mask of Command.  He wrote at length about Ulysses S. Grant and other American military commanders.  In a 1994 interview with Brian Lamb on C-Span, Sir John, when asked about Vietnam, said, “I will never oppose the Vietnam war.  Americans were right to do it.  I think they fought it in the wrong way.  I don’t think it’s a war like fighting Hitler, but I think it was a right war, a correct war.”  “Was he a pacifist?” Mr. Lamb asked.  “Ninety-five percent.”

Ray Neff died on September 29 at age 87.  Neff will be remembered when, in the early 1960s, he, and Civil War Times, reported his discovery of an old book containing a secret code in visible ink signed by Lafayette Baker–one of those charged with chasing down the Lincoln conspirators–accusing Secretary of War Edwin Stanton and others of conspiracy to assassinate President Lincoln.  This “discovery” led to the movie, The Lincoln Conspiracy.  But then, in 1977, the editor of Civil War Times, William C. “Jack” Davis, refuted Neff’s original claims and acknowledged it was a hoax.  The late Lincoln assassination scholar, James O. Hall, cited numerous errors of fact and even instances of fabrication by Neff and his co-author, Len Guttridge, in his book, Dark Union.

Jerome Kilty, actor and playwright who portrayed Abraham Lincoln, died on September 6.  He was 90.

Author’s Note

I want to thank Kenneth L. Childs, Aaron Crawford, Harold Holzer, Richard Sloan, Tom Lapsley, William D. Pederson, Dennis E. Stark, Joseph Fornieri, Wayne C. Temple, Edward Steers, Jr., David J. Stiller, Jo Dzombak, Guy Fraker, Malcolm Garber, Mike Marlow, William K. Miller, David Warren, Philip W. Stichter, Justice William P. Robinson III, Judges W. Dennis Duggan and Dennis Curran, Frank and Virginia Musgrave, and Virginia Williams for providing information for this column.  I welcome news concerning Abraham Lincoln.  Please contact me at 300 Switch Road, Hope Valley, RI 02832; fax (401) 364-3642; e-mail