FRANK J. WILLIAMS
The Spoken Word and Group Activities
C-Span 3 American History TV broadcast some of the presentations from the 15th Annual Symposium of The Lincoln Forum with Peter S. Carmichael (“Southern Perceptions of Lincoln”) on January 8, Harold Holzer (“Silent President-Elect”) on January 9, and the panel, moderated by Frank J. Williams, “Could the War Have Been Avoided?,” on January 22.
Diana Carlin presented “Mary Todd Lincoln” at the February 4 meeting of the Lincoln Club of Topeka.
Wayne C. Temple presented a paper on Lincoln’s unused tomb to the Springfield chapter of the Philanthropic Educational Organization on February 9.
James Oakes presented “Measure Him by the Sentiment of His Country: Frederick Douglass, Abraham Lincoln, and the Triumph of Anti-Slavery Politics” at the annual Lincoln dinner of the Lincoln Club of Delaware on February 10.
Judge Richard Mills of the United States District for the Central District of Illinois held a Naturalization Ceremony at the Old State Capitol, Springfield, IL in honor of Abraham Lincoln’s 202nd birthday, on February 11, with remarks from U.S. Senator Richard J. Durbin.
Lincoln at the Crossroads Alliance hosted The Peace Conference at 150: A Call To Compromise on February 11, at the place where the conference was held – the Willard InterContinental Hotel, Washington. Presentations included James I. (“Bud”) Robertson, Jr. (“Washington in 1861”); William C. (“Jack”) Davis (“The Southern Delegation”); Frank J. Williams (“The Northern Delegation”); Edna Greene Medford (“African Americans in D.C. in 1861”); Harold Holzer (“President-Elect Lincoln and the Peace Commissioners”); and concluded with actor Stephen Lang delivering Lincoln’s First Inaugural Address. The event was co-sponsored by The Northern Lincoln Bicentennial Foundation.
The American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars held their 77th Annual National American Legion Pilgrimage at the tomb of Abraham Lincoln, Springfield, IL, on February 12. National Commander Jimmie L. Foster of Alaska was the keynote speaker at the lunch that followed.
The George L. Painter Looking for Lincoln Lectures of the Lincoln Home National Historic Site, Springfield, IL, were held on February 12 at the Lincoln Home Visitors Center with Douglas King (“Springfield Illinois African American History Foundation”); Wayne C. Temple (“Lincoln and Pittsfield”); Guy C. Fraker (“Bloomington’s Lincoln”); and the staff of the Lincoln Log Cabin State Historic Site (“Lincoln and Charleston”).
James Swanson presented the lecture at the 79th Lincoln Dinner on February 12 for The Lincoln Memorial Association, Redlands, CA.
Russell McClintock was the luncheon speaker for the Abraham Lincoln Association on February 12.
Mike Pride discussed Lincoln and his trip to New Hampshire in February 1860 at the February 12 meeting of the Lincoln Group of Boston. David Prentiss spoke about “Abraham Lincoln and the Pursuit of Justice and Preservation of Democracy” at the group’s meeting held at Stonehill College on April 2.
Eric Foner discussed his The Fiery Trial: Abraham Lincoln and American Slavery at the Lincoln Group of New York meeting on February 15. Anthony Pitch talked about his book, “They Have Killed Papa Dead!”: The Road to Ford’s Theatre, Abraham Lincoln’s Murder, and the Rage for Vengeance, at this group on April 5 and at Ford’s Theatre on April 13 and May 11.
On February 15, Richard Sloan presented his multi-media talk, “You Are There at Lincoln’s New York City Funeral” to retired professionals, the REAP Group, in Great Neck, New York, and on February 25 at the East Meadow (L.I.) Public Library.
Frank J. Williams presented “Lincoln on the Cusp of the Civil War Sesquicentennial” on February 16 before the Rhode Island Civil War Round Table.
Craig L. Symonds and Harold Holzer spoke at the Smithsonian’s S. Dillon Ripley Center on their The New York Times Complete Civil War on February 17 at the Annapolis Book Fair on April 8, and at Washington’s Newseum on April 11.
Valerie Gugala presented “Mary Todd Lincoln” at the March 15 meeting of the Civil War Round Table (Chicago).
Mark H. Dunkelman presented “Adventures of a Civil War Historian” at the March 16 meeting of the Rhode Island Civil War Round Table.
Harold Holzer spoke at the Associated Press headquarters, Washington, on March 24, with “Lincoln and the Press,” to coincide with the AP Corporate Archives exhibit Long Remembered: The Associated Press With Lincoln at the First Inaugural and Gettysburg.
On April 23, Craig L. Symonds discussed the U.S. Navy’s role in the Civil War at the Naval Heritage Center, Washington.
A celebration to mark Abraham Lincoln’s first inauguration on March 4, 1861 was held at the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center auditorium with Sam Waterston reading Lincoln’s Inaugural Address. He was introduced by Harold Holzer, Chair of the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Foundation, who set the scene of the inauguration. It was followed by a re-creation of the swearing-in featuring Lincoln impersonator Michael Krebs. A banquet at the Willard-Intercontinental Hotel was held with Ronald C. White, Jr. speaking. Dr. White also presented “Mystic Chords of Memory” about Abraham Lincoln’s First Inaugural Address at the Lincoln Fellowship of Wisconsin on April 16.
The Association of Lincoln Presenters held its annual convention in Greenville, TN, April 14-17. Harold Holzer was the keynote speaker.
Abraham Lincoln Without Borders: Lincoln’s Legacy Outside the United States was edited by Jyoti Tripathy and William D. Pederson and published by Pencraft International. It is also available from the International Lincoln Center for American Studies, Louisiana State University, Bronson Hall, Room 323, One University Place, Shreveport, LA 71115-2301. A collection of new essays by Asian and American scholars examines Lincoln’s legacy in India, China, Korea, Malaysia, Nepal, Pakistan, and the Philippines, as well as Australia and Latin America.
The International Lincoln Center has released volume 20 of Abraham Lincoln Abroad. It contains articles by Chris Kudialis and William Pederson (“Canada’s First Enduring Tribute”); S. Sri Devi (“Lincoln in Gandhi’s Philosophy”); and Himanshu Bourai (“Lincoln and Gandhi on Popular Sovereignty”).
Nigeria’s acclaimed novelist Chinua Achebe, now a professor at Brown University, wrote “Nigeria’s Promise, Africa’s Hope” for the January New York Times, in which he cited President Lincoln.
On January 25, the Malaysia Ministry of Higher Education approved renaming its “Lincoln College” to Lincoln University College. The same institution has launched the Lincoln International School in Bangladesh.
An advertising supplement to the January 25 issue of the Washington Post reported that a poll shows Abraham Lincoln is the second best known American president among the Chinese public behind only Bill Clinton.
A newspaper from Gujurat, India, entitled Sandesh contained a brief article, “The Birth of Abraham Lincoln,” on February 12.
Will Englund wrote “Russia Remembers Lincoln as it Marks the Freeing of the Serfs,” for the Washington Post on February 24, marking an exhibit that opened in Moscow commemorating the sesquicentennial of the liberation of its serfs.
In a letter to the editor of the Washington Post on March 2 entitled “Two Great Emancipators,” Peter I. Hartsock from Laytonsville, VA, notes in response to the Will Englund article that Czar Alexander II sent the Russian Baltic and Pacific naval squadrons to New York and San Francisco to show support for Lincoln and that while in the latter city a fire broke out and a number of Russian sailors died while helping local residents battle the blaze.
The Associated Press’ March 4 article reporting on the new book, Colonization After Emancipation by Philip Magness and Sebastian Page was printed in the Dakha, Bangladesh Daily Prothom Alo on March 7, under the title “Lincoln was Racist Two Researchers Claim.”
Melvin Morris, “Collecting the Presidents: First Lady Mary Todd Lincoln,” appeared in Americana Philatelic News (January/March 2011).
Actor Frank Collison, who played Horace Bing on the TV series “Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman,” has on his webpage a recollection of his portrayal of young Tad Lincoln with his father, John Charles Collison, as Abraham Lincoln in the 1961 centennial reenactment of Lincoln’s first inauguration. The site has a link to You Tube showing a one and a half minute newsreel footage of the event as well. (http://frankcollison.com)
The Freeport (IL) Public Library held a dedication ceremony for sculptor Lily Tolpo and her Lincoln & Son Reading on February 12.
Attorney Eric C. Conn unveiled his $500,000 statue of Abraham Lincoln in Stanville, KY. Commissioned by Conn with construction beginning in October 2009, the statue is an enlarged replica of the Daniel Chester French statue in the Lincoln Memorial, Washington. At close to nineteen feet tall, it weighs over a ton.
The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History has produced its 2011 calendar of the Civil War with outstanding prints for the year 1861.
The U.S. Postal Service will be issuing commemorative stamp panels for each year of the Civil War sesquicentennial along with souvenir cards.
Actor Daniel Day-Lewis visited Springfield, IL on the same day it was announced that he is to portray Abraham Lincoln in the Steven Spielberg movie, Lincoln. Historian Doris Kearns Goodwin accompanied him since the movie is based on her book, Team of Rivals.
Michael Krebs and Debra Ann Miller portrayed Abraham and Mary Lincoln at the annual banquet of the Lincoln Group of the District of Columbia on February 12.
A statuette-in-bronze replicating the planned full-size Captain Abraham Lincoln sculpture to be dedicated at the Black Hawk War battle site in Stephenson County, IL, was unveiled on February 12 in Freeport, IL, by the artist Ramon “Jay” Castro.
Lincoln’s Secret Killer? appeared on the National Geographic Channel on February 21.
David Sutherland, a public school music teacher in South St. Paul, Minnesota, has composed The Gettysburg Rap.
Action Toys LLC has produced its Heroes in Action series of cards with a “Lincolnstein” as “presidential monster.”
Lincoln actor Stephen Holgate performed his one-man play, A. Lincoln, at the Coaster Theatre in Cannon Beach, OR, on March 5.
The film, The Conspirator, opened nationwide on April 15 – the anniversary of Lincoln’s death — in an attempt to interpret the story of Mary Surratt, her trial by military tribunal, and death by hanging. Robert Redford directed and Robin Wright played Mrs. Surratt.
The Lincoln Amphitheatre (P.O. Box 721, Lincoln City, IN 47552) is developing a Lincoln-themed musical for 2012.
Helen Stolias and Javier Pes wrote “The War We Want to Forget: Why American Art Museums are Reluctant to Mark the 150th Anniversary of the Civil War” for the Art Newspaper on February 3. The authors indicate that despite the many exhibits commemorating Abraham Lincoln’s birth in 2009, there is no major art exhibition planned in the United States during 2011. Harold Holzer explains this gap as a result “of the idea of remembering something so unpleasant.” An exception to the lack of exhibits is the Smithsonian American Art Museum which is preparing a major survey for determining the Civil War’s impact on American art, a show that will travel to New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art. The Civil War in American Art will open in November 2012. Eleanor Jones Harvey, Chief Curator at the Smithsonian American Art Museum and Curator of the Civil War and American Art, said the lack of interest is due, in part, to the scarcity of high caliber paintings that directly address the conflict. “For American’s fighting Americans, how do you commemorate something that we haven’t in a sense really gotten over?”
Toughcookienyc.com is making profiles of Abraham Lincoln and George Washington on three-inch iced sugar cookies (www.onetoughcookienyc.com).
Sculptor Mel Zapata has produced a 14 ½-inch reproduction of John Rogers’s 1868 sculpture The Council of War, which depicts Abraham Lincoln, General Grant, and Secretary of War Stanton. The reproduction is made of hydrocal and is limited to and edition of 75. (email@example.com).
The Lincoln Memorial Shrine, Redlands, CA, opened a special exhibit to mark the beginning of the Civil War sesquicentennial on February 6.
The Allen County Public Library, Fort Wayne, held an opening reception for its exhibit, Abraham Lincoln: The Image, on February 12. Charles Shepard, Executive Director of the Fort Wayne Museum of Art, delivered opening remarks.
On March 4, a USCA graphics class hosted an exhibition of artifacts reflecting public perception of Lincoln’s reputation over the generations on the 150th anniversary of his inauguration – EXTRA! President Lincoln and his Controversial Reputation.
Civil War Sesquicentennial
USA Today reported that as of January 5, there have been 1,899 volumes of fiction and 12,586 non-fiction volumes on the Civil War published – clearly an understated amount as they must only relate to those still in print. Over 100,000 Civil War books and pamphlets have been published since 1865.
Patricia Lowry discussed the “bus tour to retrace Lincoln’s 1861 visit to Pittsburgh” on his way to his inaugural in the February 5 Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
The Adams County (PA) Historical Society has organized the Voices of History Campaign to rehabilitate Schmucker Hall, its headquarters and museum, on the grounds of the old Lutheran Seminary in Gettysburg. The cupola was used as an observation post by General John Buford, U.S.A., on the first day of the battle.
The Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Foundation expanded its Board of Directors with Orville Vernon Burton, Thomas Campbell, Charles Scholz, Darrel Bigham, David Lawrence, Jr., Edna Greene Medford, Antonio Mora, Jean Powers Soman and Frank J. Williams. Harold Holzer serves as Chairman of the Foundation. The opening event for the Foundation occurred on February 10 with a reception featuring actor Stephen Lang reading extracts from Lincoln’s speeches. Plans by the Foundation included support of the Lincoln at the Crossroads Alliance National Peace Conference at the Willard Hotel, the “Peace Convention at 150: A Call to Compromise,” support and co-sponsorship of the 150th anniversary of Lincoln’s first inauguration on March 4, scheduled for March 5, with a ceremony and re-enactment at the U.S. Capitol Visitors Center in Washington, and support to maintain the historic Gettysburg Railroad Station where Lincoln arrived on November 18, 1863, to deliver his famous speech.
The National Park Service commemorated Abraham Lincoln’s first inaugural by re-enacting his 12-day inaugural journey to our nation’s capital. Abraham Lincoln was portrayed by Fritz Klein who recited Lincoln’s Farewell Address on February 11 at the Lincoln Depot in Springfield.
The Library of America has published a special edition of Grant and Sherman: Civil War Memoirs with Mary Drake McFeely, William S. McFeely and Charles W. Royster as editors, as well as The Civil War: The First Year Told By Those Who Lived It, edited by Brooks D. Simpson, Stephen W. Sears, and Aaron Sheehan-Dean.
The Library of America has also published Poets of the Civil War, edited by J.D. McClatchy.
Betty Carlson Kay has written The Civil War From A to Z: Two Points of View (AuthorHouse).
Len Barcousky, in the February 13 Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, discussed President-elect Abraham Lincoln’s visit to Pittsburgh on February 14, 1861 on the way to his inauguration (“Mr. Lincoln Pays a Call on the City”). To celebrate this visit, the Allegheny City Society commemorated his visit to Allegheny City in Pittsburgh with a program and tour on February 12.
The Rhode Island General Assembly, on February 16, 2011, joined twenty-five other states by creating a Rhode Island Civil War Sesquicentennial Commemoration Commission.
Campbell Robertson’s “Making a Stand for the Confederacy, 150 Years Later” appeared in the February 21 New York Times. The author reported that re-enactors — before a cheering crowd of several hundred men and women — commemorated Jefferson Davis’s swearing-in as President of the Confederate States of America. Organized by the Sons of Confederate Veterans, it is one of a series of commemorations of the 150th anniversary of the Confederacy which is called by the SUV, the War for Southern Independence. To the Sons of Union Veterans, the Confederacy was a “just exercise in self-determination that had been maligned by ‘the politically correct crowd’ through years of historical distortions.”
Malcolm Jones discussed the Library of America’s The Civil War: The First Year Told By Those Who Lived It in the February 28 Newsweek.
The Civil War Preservation Trust has changed its name to Civil War Trust (Civilwar.org). Kathryn Jorgensen explained why in the February/March Civil War News.
The Washington Post did its first column in a series of articles published to give a “kid’s-eye view” of the Civil War. Carolyn Reeder will write the stories. Her first was “Lincoln Took Over a Nation on Edge” for the March 2 issue.
“Opinionator” – the online commentary from the New York Times — featured “Lincoln Addresses the Nation” on March 3 with “Better Angels” by Ted Widmer, “The Other 13th Amendment” by Daniel W. Crofts, “Lincoln’s Threat to the Supreme Court” by Richard Striner, and “Lincoln’s ‘flat failure’” by Harold Holzer.
The Union League Club of Chicago hosted The Lincoln Inaugural Sesquicentennial, on March 4 in partnership with the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, Chicago History Museum, Chicago Public Library, Civil War Round Table of Chicago, Lincoln Academy of Illinois, Newberry Library, and the Pritzker Military Library. Thomas F. Schwartz presented “Abraham Lincoln: Prelude to the Presidency,” David Zarefsky delivered “Defining the Secession Crisis: Lincoln’s First Inaugural Address,” Michael Burlingame delivered “Lincoln and Secession: The Evolution of a Strategy,” Douglas L. Wilson presented “The Surprising Mr. Lincoln,” and Daniel Weinberg presented “Stories Behind the Artifacts: Lincoln’s Early Life, Presidential Campaign of 1860, and First Inauguration.”
The New-York Historical Society hosted The First Shot: 1861 on April 7 with Craig L. Symonds, Adam Goodheart, Harold Holzer and James M. McPherson. Antietam and the Battles of 1862 was held on May 12 with James M. McPherson, Stephen W. Sears and Harold Holzer; and The Draft Riots: 1863 was held on June 14 with Barnet Schecter, Barry Lewis and Harold Holzer. Schecter led The Civil War Draft Riots Walking Tour on April 2 and 3, and Cal Snyder will lead A Lincoln in New York Walking Tour on May 21.
Awards and Prizes
Eric Foner received the Lincoln Group of New York Award of Achievement for 2010 and the 2011 Lincoln Prize from the Civil War Institute, Gettysburg College, for his The Fiery Trial: Abraham Lincoln and American Slavery.
The 2011 Lincoln Leadership Prize of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation was awarded on February 10, posthumously, to Tim Russert, and accepted by his widow Maureen Orth and son Luke Russert.
Michael E. Ruane reported in the February 20 Washington Post that Lincoln items were found in the bedroom of a small Silver Spring, Maryland, house that had been vacant for ten years. Included was a black-bordered card admitting the bearer to the White House on April 19, 1865, the day of Abraham Lincoln’s funeral service there. There were also two brief notes from Lincoln, pardons of a soldier signed “A. Lincoln.” The documents were to be auctioned until the Office of the Inspector General of the National Archives asked the auction to be deferred pending research to see if the Lincoln notes were federal property.
Chuck Hand (P.O. Box 5, Paris, IL 61944) has published his Lincoln Catalog #22, “A Selection of Lincolniana Listed in Monaghan’s Bibliography.”
The Lincoln Group of the District of Columbia has published its 2010 Membership Directory.
On January 24, 2011, the National Archives alleged that a longtime researcher, Dr. Thomas P. Lowry, had altered a date on a pardon signed by Lincoln. Originally, signed April 14, 1864, the “4” was changed to “5” purportedly to demonstrate Lincoln’s compassion on the night of his murder. Kathryn Jorgensen of Civil War News (February/March) reported Dr. Thomas Lowry admitting to altering the date, but after confessing to altering the document, Dr. Lowry recanted and insisted he was coerced into the admission. To that end, Dr. Lowry hired a polygraph examiner and the test results indicate that he, “was telling the truth when I said I did not change the Lincoln document and my confession was coerced and false.”
Ron J. Keller, Curator of the Lincoln Heritage Museum at Lincoln College, Lincoln, IL, and the Heritage Museum itself were profiled by Tara McAndrew, “The Lincoln Museum at Lincoln: A Small, No-Frills Place to See Quality Artifacts Up Close” for the February 3-9 Illinois Times.
Lincoln collector Alfred Whital Stern, who gifted his extensive collection to the Library of Congress which, in turn, published a catalog raisoné of the Stern Collection, was profiled in the February 18 Jewish Voice & Herald (“Collecting Lincoln Memorabilia” by Edmon J. Rodman).
Joe Rubinfine is offering a letter signed “A. Lincoln” (the letter itself is written by John G. Nicolay to General W. B. Franklin) along with other documents relating to Franklin, for the sum of $50,000.
Books and Pamphlets
The June 2010 Humanitas: The Journal of the George Bell Institute at the University of Chichester, United Kingdom, contained material on the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial, including the preface by Andrew Chandler, “Two Readings for the Lincoln Memorial Commemoration in Parliament Square, London on July 7, 2009,” Richard Carwardine’s “Abraham Lincoln and the Almost Chosen People,” and Eva Brann’s “Lincoln for a Refugee.”
Lincoln’s Marxists by Al Benson, Jr. and Walter Donald Kennedy has been published by Pelican Publishing Company.
LSU Press has published Dennis K. Boman’s Lincoln and Citizens’ Rights in Civil War Missouri: Balancing Freedom and Security.
The Centre for American Studies at the University of Western Ontario has published Harold Holzer’s speech, “Why Lincoln Matters to American Presidents.”
Arthur T. Downey has written Civil War Lawyers: Constitutional Questions, Courtroom Dramas, and the Men Behind Them for the American Bar Association Publishing.
Presidents and War, edited by Anthony J. Eksterowicz and Glenn P. Hastedt for Nova Science Publishers, Inc., includes “Abraham Lincoln: The President Who Changed the Role of Commander-in-Chief” by Frank J. Williams and “Ex Parte Milligan: Lincoln’s Use of Military Commissions” by Joseph R. Thysell, Jr.
Jason Emerson’s “I Have Done My Done My Duty As I Best Know and Providence Must Take Care of the Rest”: Reconsidering Mary Todd Lincoln’s Sanity and Robert Lincoln’s Motivations has been published as Historical Bulletin No. 63 of the 68th Annual Meeting of the Lincoln Fellowship of Wisconsin, April 18, 2009.
Adam Goodheart is the author of 1861: The Civil War Awakening (Knopf). Using several characters like an acrobatic militia colonel, an explorer’s wife, a close-knit band of German immigrants, a regiment of New York City firemen and a young college professor, the author evokes the United States during this tumultuous year.
Harold Holzer in Lincoln on War has provided commentary to excerpts from the Lincoln canon relating to war, the military, and Lincoln’s service as commander-in-chief for Algonquin Books.
The Living Lincoln, edited by Thomas A. Horrocks, Harold Holzer and Frank J. Williams, has been published by Southern Illinois University Press, as has The Dark Days of Abraham Lincoln’s Widow, as Revealed by Her Own Letters by Myra Helmer Pritchard – edited and annotated by Jason Emerson.
Jason R. Jividen has written Claiming Lincoln: Progressivism, Equality, and the Battle for Lincoln’s Legacy in Presidential Rhetoric (Northern Illinois University Press).
Phillip W. Magness and Sebastian N. Page have written Colonization After Emancipation: Lincoln and Movement for Black Resettlement (University of Missouri Press).
J.D. McClatchy is editor of Poets of the Civil War in the Library of America’s American Poets Project.
The National Park Service, in commemoration of his inaugural trip, February 1860, has published Abraham Lincoln’s Journey to Greatness.
St. Martin’s Press has published as an e-book, Eight Weeks in Washington, 1861: Abraham Lincoln and the Hazards of Transition by Richard J. Tofel.
Lincoln’s Enduring Legacy: Perspectives from Great Thinkers, Great Leaders, and the American Experiment has been edited by Robert P. Watson, William D. Pederson and Frank J. Williams (Rowman and Littlefield Publishers). Essays from the conference Lincoln Without Borders held at Louisiana State University in Shreveport, include: “What Would Lincoln Do?” by Robert P. Watson; “Tolstoy’s Lincoln” by Norman W. Provizer; “Mill and Lincoln on Liberty” by David A. Nordquest; “Theodore Roosevelt and the Heirs of Abraham Lincoln” by James MacDonald; “Woodrow Wilson and Lincoln’s Bridge to the World” by Mary Elizabeth Stockwell; “Lincoln’s Impact on Martin Luther King Jr.” by David Maas; “Lincoln and the Idea of a Democratic Peace” by Gordon Henderson; “African American Memory and the Great Emancipator” by John Barr; “Lincoln, the Roosevelts, and Herbert Croly’s America” by Richard Striner; “Lincoln’s Relationship with Gentility in America” by David Demaree; “Lincoln’s Use of Religion and Morality” by Danny Adkison; “Shaping American Foreign Policy: Comparing Lincoln/Seward and Nixon/Kissinger” by Byron W. Daynes and Hyrum Salmond; “Lincoln as Father: Dealing with Tragedy in the White House” by Robert P. Watson and Richard M. Yon; and “Abraham Lincoln’s Enduring Legacy: Bicentennial Reflections” by Frank J. Williams.
Daniel Wolff is the author of How Lincoln Learned to Read: Twelve Great Americans and the Education That Made Them (Bloomsbury).
Sesquicentennial and Related Books
The University of Georgia Press has published On Slavery’s Border: Missouri’s Small Slaveholding Households, 1815-1865 by Diane Mutti Burke.
John E. Seery has edited A Political Companion to Walt Whitman for the University Press of Kentucky.
Union Combined Operations in the Civil War, edited by Craig L. Symonds, has been published by Fordham University Press.
Robert J. Cook is the author of Civil War Senator: William Pitt Fessenden and the Fight to Save the American Republic (LSU Press).
The Nebraska-Kansas Act of 1854 has been edited by John R. Wunder and Joann M. Ross for the University of Nebraska Press.
Connecticut in the American Civil War: Slavery, Sacrifice, & Survival by Matthew Warshauer has been published by Wesleyan University Press.
Harold Holzer has edited Hearts Touched By Fire: The Best of Battles and Leaders of the Civil War, a compendium of articles first published in the late 19th century, with chapter introductions by Craig L. Symonds, Stephen W. Sears, James M. McPherson, Joan Waugh, and James I. Robertson, Jr.
The Journal of Supreme Court History (2010 Vol. 35, No. 3) was a tribute to Abraham Lincoln with articles by Robert K. Faulkner (“Lincoln and the Rebirth of Liberal Democracy”); Lucas E. Morel (“Lincoln and the Constitution: A Unionist for the Sake of Liberty”); James F. Simon (“Lincoln and Chief Justice Taney”); and Paul Finkelman (“Lincoln and Emancipation: Constitutional Theory, Practical Politics, and the Basic Practice of Law”).
George William Van Cleve wrote “The Price of Independence” discussing how the Constitution was “pro-slavery in its politics, in its economics, and in its law” for the September-October University of Chicago Magazine.
Larry E. Burgess, Director of The Lincoln Memorial Shrine, wrote “Here it Comes: The Civil War Sesquicentennial, That is (or isn’t) or, Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off?” for the summer/fall Lincoln Memorial Association Newsletter. Also included in this issue were “‘One War at a Time’: The Trent Affair of 1861,” “Disaster at Ball’s Bluff Takes the Life of Lincoln’s Friend,” and “Teaching Lincoln to the Indians.”
Anthony J. Czarnecki wrote “Mr. Lincoln’s Visit to Peekskill: The Sesquicentennial of an Inaugural Journey” for the winter Westchester Historian.
Michael Aikey wrote about child soldiers during the Civil War in “Father Abraham’s Boys” for the winter New York Archives.
The winter Journal of the Abraham Lincoln Association contained “His Loyal Opposition: Lincoln’s Border States’ Critics” by William C. Harris, “The Fire-eaters and Seward But Seward Struck Out Lincoln” by Eric H. Walther, and “Lincoln’s Critics: The Copperheads” by Jennifer L. Weber.
Steven R. Koppelman wrote and provided photographs for “On the Lincoln Trail in Kentucky” for the February Wide Awake Bulletin of the Lincoln Group of New York.
“Splitting Image” by Owen Edwards discussed Lincoln’s split fence rail as a symbol of his humble origins for the February Smithsonian.
General Frederick J. Kroesen wrote “Abraham Lincoln for Leadership Month” for the February ARMY.
The New York Post’s “Classroom Extra” on February 11 discussed Abraham Lincoln’s birthday by offering “Activities,” asking readers to write a report on Lincoln’s views on slavery, equality and freedom of blacks in his time, read a biography of Abraham Lincoln and re-stage the Lincoln-Douglas debates with your class. To the Post author, Robin Wallace, Lincoln freed the slaves and preserved the Union “but remains something of a mystery.”
On February 22 the State Journal-Register of Springfield, IL, published an insert Abraham Lincoln & The Press.
Michael E. Ruane discussed Abraham Lincoln, portrayed by Fritz Klein, arriving in Washington for his first inauguration in “Lincoln, the 2011 Model” for the February 24 Washington Post.
James Krohe, Jr., discussed Abraham Lincoln’s three farewell addresses to his friends and neighbors in Springfield, IL, in “‘A Neat Inappropriate Address:’ Lincoln’s Farewell to Springfield as a Guiness Gag” for the February 24-March 2 Illinois Times.
John Edmund Stealey III has written “West Virginia’s Constitutional Critique of Virginia: The Revolution of 1861-1863” for the March Civil War History. The same issue contained Christopher Childers’ “Interpreting Popular Sovereignty: A Historiographical Essay.”
Edgar “Jed” C. Morrison, Jr. has written “A Journey to Greatness” for the San Antonio Lawyer – Abraham Lincoln’s final train trip as a private citizen as he was introduced to the nation as the President-elect.
The Louisiana Lincoln Group, The Lincolnator, featured “On the Media: Transformation from Lincoln’s Time to the Present” by Arturo Brahms.
Roger Billings and Frank J. Williams, Abraham Lincoln, Esq.: The Legal Career of America’s Greatest President, rev. by John Foskett, Civil War News (February/March 2011).
Robert Bray, Reading With Lincoln, rev. by Martin P. Johnson, Journal of Illinois History (Summer 2010).
David R. Contosta, Rebel Giants: The Revolutionary Lives of Abraham Lincoln and Charles Darwin, rev. by Michael F. Conlin, Journal of the Abraham Lincoln Association (Winter 2011).
William C. Edwards and Edward Steers, Jr., The Lincoln Assassination: The Evidence, rev. by Stephen L. Hansen, The Journal of Southern History (February 2011).
Eric Foner, The Fiery Trial: Abraham Lincoln and American Slavery, rev. by Henry Cohen, The Federal Lawyer (January 2011); rev. by Gordon Berg, Civil War Times (April 2011); rev. by Steven Hahn, The New Republic (February 3, 2011); rev. by James A. Percoco, Civil War News (February/March 2011); rev. by Catherine Clinton, Civil War History (March 2011).
Adam Gopnik, Angels and Ages: A Short Book About Darwin, Lincoln, and Modern Life, rev. by Michael F. Conlin, Journal of the Abraham Lincoln Association (Winter 2011).
Allen C. Guelzo, Lincoln: A Very Short Introduction, rev. by David Lowenthal, Journal of the Abraham Lincoln Association (Winter 2011).
David Hirsch and Dan Van Haften, Abraham Lincoln and the Structure of Reason, rev. by Henry Cohen, The Federal Lawyer (February 2011); rev. by Jason Emerson, Civil War Book Review (Winter 2011).
Harold Holzer and Craig L. Symonds, editors, The New York Times Complete Civil War, 1861-1865, rev. by Chris Howland, America’s Civil War (March 2011).
James Lander, Lincoln and Darwin—Shared Visions of Race, Science and Religion, rev. by Julie Cellini, Illinois Times (December 16-22, 2010).
Steven Lubet, Fugitive Justice: Runaways, Rescuers, and Slavery on Trial, rev. by Henry Cohen, The Federal Lawyer (January 2011).
Russell McClintock, Lincoln and the Decision for War: The Northern Response to Secession, rev. by Peter P. Knupfer, The Journal of Southern History (February 2011).
James M. McPherson, Abraham Lincoln, rev. by David Lowenthal, Journal of the Abraham Lincoln Association (Winter 2011).
Edward Steers, Jr. and Harold Holzer, editors, The Lincoln Assassination Conspirators: Their Confinement and Execution, As Recorded in the Letterbook of John Frederick Hartranft, rev. by Stephen L. Hansen, The Journal of Southern History (February 2011).
James L. Swanson, Bloody Crimes: The Chase For Jefferson Davis and the Death Pageant for Lincoln’s Corpse, rev. by Harold Holzer, Virginia Magazine (2011); rev. by Jason Emerson, Civil War Book Review (Winter 2011).
Nora Titone, My Thoughts Be Bloody: The Bitter Rivalry Between Edwin and John Wilkes Booth That Led to an American Tragedy, rev. by Edward Colimore, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (February 2, 2011).
David Work, Lincoln’s Political Generals, rev. by S. Chandler Lighty, Journal of the Abraham Lincoln Association (Winter 2011).
Ruth Squillace, the Lincoln Forum’s first teacher-scholar and now a member of its Board of Advisors, was named the 2010 Educator of the Year by the North Shore Sun, Long Island.
Pete Sherman profiled Eileen Mackevich, the new Executive Director of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, Springfield, IL, in the December 8, 2010 State Journal-Register. She is the former Executive Director of the U.S. Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission.
Lincoln interpreter Fritz Klein was profiled in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on February 5.
Lincoln artists Wendy Allen and Elaine Henderson of Gettysburg were profiled in the February 12 Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
Carla Knorowski of Chicago was named the Chief Executive Officer of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation, Springfield, IL.
Lesley J. Gordon has been selected as Editor of Civil War History.
The February 2011 Vanity Fair did a Q&A with actor Ernest Borgnine who indicated that the historical figure he identified with the most was Abraham Lincoln.
Sam Waterston, who has played Abraham Lincoln numerous times and read Lincoln’s first inaugural address at the U.S. Capitol Visitors Center on March 4, was profiled on the same day by Natasha Lennard on www.politico.com.
Lincoln in Popular Culture
The late Max Lerner’s outstanding review of Carl Sandburg’s four-volume Lincoln appeared on the December 20, 2010 web of The New Republic (http://www.tnr.com/article/80144/carl-sandburg-abraham-lincoln-war-leader). Harold Holzer still considers this 70-year-old review as one of the greatest.
George F. Will, in his editorial “Stoking the Spirit of Invention,” discussed how Abraham Lincoln, the only president with a registered patent, understood the power of invention, for the January 3 New York Post and other papers nationwide. US Patent 6469 for raising vessels over shoals belonged to Abraham Lincoln. With such an example, the nation should “nourish initiative, inventiveness and competitiveness,” according to Will.
Dionne Searcey bemoaned digital technology, including emails and texts, and how we have lost the gift of greeting and salutation in “Hey, Folks: Here’s a Digital Requiem For a Dearly Departed Salutation,” for the January 6 Wall Street Journal. The author started her article with Lincoln’s opening to General Ulysses S. Grant in July 1863, “My dear General.” A photo of Abraham Lincoln’s letter to his wife Mary is also illustrated and begins, “Dear wife.” Today, many omit the word “Dear” when beginning their digital messages.
Adam Kirsch, in “The First Drafts of American History” (The New York Times, January 8, 2011), bemoaned the effort to revise literary classics to conform to today’s standards and objections, particularly the NewSouth Books edition of Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn that will replace the “n-” word with “slave.” We need these books in the medium of their day as they “feel essentially humane to us, despite their limitations, even their bigotry.” The same is true with the Constitution as the Framers believed, according to Kirsch, that the document “would be corrected…. It took a devastating civil war, whose sesquicentennial we are now observing, to revise the Constitution in the direction of justice. When the House [of Representatives] readers decided to skip the parts of the Constitution that reveal its original limitations, they were minimizing that history, pretending that our founding document was flawless from the beginning.”
While not mentioning Abraham Lincoln, who admired it and studied it so, Verlyn Klinkenborg, in “The King James Bible at 400” (The New York Times, January 9, 2011), celebrated the quadracentennial of the Bible put together by a team of men from 1604 to its publication in 1611 under royal mandate. The King James Bible sold hundreds of millions of copies. It was the one book found in every rural village, including Little Pigeon Creek in southern Indiana, where Lincoln learned from it – so much so that his later speeches and documents would be sprinkled with literary allusions from the Bible.
David Bromwich’s “Obama on Civility and Lincoln on the Rule of Law” was posted on the January 18 www.huffingtonpost.com. Reviewing President Obama’s memorial speech in Tucson on January 20, Bromwich discusses how we are, as the President believes, “one America.” To Bromwich, Abraham Lincoln’s first great speech, delivered in 1838, was similar in nature to President Obama’s. Lincoln discussed the “mobocratic” spirit that had consumed our republic. While Obama spoke of the value of “civility,” Lincoln stressed following the laws. He made law-abidingness the condition of the survival of democracy — much more than speaking of feelings or civility. Bromwich concludes: “In the ordinary work of abiding by the laws and knowing their meaning, it can seem that we are leaderless. Yet, if self-government implies as much as Lincoln believed, it suggests a constancy and presence of mind in the people themselves. We are living at a time when the people must show themselves better than those we have elected to lead us . . . ‘dare to think’ and abide by the laws that exist. And do not imagine that thinking is either civil or uncivil.”
David Wells wrote “La.’s Secession from the Union in 1861 was Illegal” for The (Shreveport) Times on January 25. As Abraham Lincoln pointed out in his first inaugural, nothing in the U.S. Constitution recognized the right of a state to withdraw from the Union and that a secession was “the essence of anarchy.” Under this logic, any future minority might arbitrarily secede from the Confederate States of America. Lincoln was eventually vindicated when, in 1869, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Texas v. White that secession had been illegal and that all acts of the Confederate States of America were null and void as the union of states was “indissoluble.”
Jan Jacobi discussed “The Education President” for www.STLtoday.com on February 10. Jacobi discussed the books that Lincoln read and how they helped him with his self-education. These included Aesop’s Fables, Pilgrim’s Progress, Robinson Crusoe and Parson Weem’s Life of Washington. Reading was critical for Lincoln as much as “breathing” and Jacobi opines our moral dilemmas today demand that our young people read such books as The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and “not shy away from discussing a racist society and the word that defines it as racist.” We do need to engage children in discussing moral issues, he stresses, as did Abraham Lincoln.
On February 10, Paul Krugman wrote “Abraham Lincoln, Inflationist” for the New York Times, chastising Republicans for “getting right with Lincoln” by arguing that Republicans have seized Mr. Lincoln’s mantel to attack the Federal Reserve – especially Representative Ron Paul who oversees the very institution he wants abolished for a return to the gold standard. Paul called as one of three witnesses at a recent House hearing, libertarian Thomas DiLorenzo, a critic of Abraham Lincoln and the author of Lincoln Unmasked: What You’re Not Supposed to Know About Dishonest Abe. DiLorenzo argues that “healthcare freedom” will not exist until “some states begin seceding from the new American fascialistic state.”
The timeoutnewyork.com for February 10-16 featured “Famous February Birthdays” including those of Henry Rawlins, Abraham Lincoln, Rosa Parks, Charles Darwin, George Washington, and Johnny Cash. Vignettes for each were included in the article.
Richard J. Tofel’s “Lincoln and the Hazards of Transition” appeared in the February 11 Wall Street Journal. Not only did the author comment on Lincoln’s 202nd birthday but also the 150th anniversary of Lincoln’s first inaugural on March 4. To Tofel, Lincoln was a poor administrator and weak leader during the first eight weeks of presidential transition. The Civil War began on April 12 but was nearly lost by the North when Lincoln signed conflicting orders for the deployment of a U.S. warship. He failed to control his senior cabinet members, lost his temper with visitors, and worried about the lack of loyalty of his fellow citizens. He was physically and mentally in duress, but after eight weeks, the city was relieved and Lincoln began “to assert himself as the president we honor today.”
Lewis E. Lehrman’s “The Patriotism of Abraham Lincoln” appeared as an Op-ed in the Stamford (CT) Advocate on February 11. To Lehrman and many of us, Lincoln professed “an optimistic patriotism.” Lincoln’s hope was expressed in his belief in the future and America’s growth.
Jamie Stiehm, in a February 14 op-ed for US News (“Abraham Lincoln’s Farewell Address Revealed His ‘Tragic Optimism’”), discussed Lincoln’s farewell to about a thousand people who had gathered at the Great Western Depot on February 11, one day short of his 52nd birthday. His farewell was not composed in advance and took just three minutes to deliver. It revealed Lincoln’s “tragic optimism” vision. He knew that the coming Civil War would claim him. His closing line, “Let us confidently hope that all will yet be well,” believing that “no promises, people, but let us go forth into this conflict if we must, and if our cause is just, providence will be with us.” As Abraham Lincoln said in the context of other challenges, “The bottom is out of the tub.”
Dale McFeatters in “Another Prez Worth Honoring” (New York Post, February 19) offered James K. Polk as one worth honoring on the ubiquitous President’s Day. Polk is regularly listed among the top ten presidents, and was a “dark horse” to win the 1844 Democratic presidential nomination–pledged to annex Texas. Going to war with Mexico, and despite the controversy over so doing, the win forced the sale by Mexico of California, Nevada, Utah, most of Arizona, much of New Mexico, Colorado and Wyoming. McFeatters praises Polk for settling the Canadian border dispute with Great Britain, opening the U.S. Naval Academy and the Smithsonian, as well as breaking ground for the Washington Monument. The author on this President’s Day gives us “Washington, Lincoln, and Polk, giants among us.”
In discussing Wisconsin Democratic senators skipping out of the legislature to avoid a vote to remove collective bargaining from the state’s statutes in a sidebar for the February 19-20 Wall Street Journal, Thomas M. Burton cited how Abraham Lincoln and Whig colleagues fled through a window to avoid a quorum – a tactic that dates back to the debates on the U.S. Constitution.
Harold Holzer wrote “Five Myths About Abraham Lincoln” for the February 20 Washington Post: myth 1: Lincoln was a simple country lawyer; 2: Lincoln was gay; 3: Lincoln was depressed; 4: Lincoln was too compassionate; and 5: Lincoln was mortally ill.
“Lincoln and Liberty” was the Post Opinion of the New York Post on February 21. Rich Lowry discussed Abraham Lincoln’s vision of social mobility – some call it “the right to rise.” Lincoln’s “uncommon mind” led to his autodidact nature. “Advancement–improvement in condition–is the order of things in a society of equals,” Lincoln insisted.
On President’s Day, February 21, 25-year-old Phillip Howell recited Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address at the same spot that the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his “I have a dream” speech at the Lincoln Memorial. Arrested by a National Park Service police officer, he was informed that he could not give any speech on the steps of the memorial without a permit. Not deterred, Howell descended to the bottom of the steps and delivered the rest of the speech to a cheering crowd. Friends passed a basket and listeners contributed a few dollars. The officer walked down the steps and asked Howell and a friend if they had a license for street vending. Without a license, the officer detained them and wrote Howell and his friend $100 in tickets. Chris Moody described the event in the February 22 Daily Caller. “It does seem a little ironic that the ‘Land of the Free’ cannot be so free at times,” Howell, who paid the fine, told the Daily Caller.
“Stolen History” appeared as an editorial in the February 25 New York Times. While bemoaning the doctored date on a pardon written by Abraham Lincoln on April 14, 1864, to read “1865” at the National Archives, the editorial worried about depriving the public a chance to view the nation’s treasures and hope that the increased security at the archives will continue to permit visitors to see its treasures and not “be sealed off in a mausoleum.”
United Technologies had a half-page ad in the Washington Post on March 2, “Monumental Waste,” with a double portrait of seated Lincoln in his Memorial and the message “An extra engine for the joint strike fighter doesn’t make sense either.”
The White House, on March 4, issued President Barack Obama’s Proclamation commemorating the “150th anniversary of the inauguration of Abraham Lincoln.” “Our revered 16th President taught us that we are more than North and South, black and white – we are one, and we are all Americans.”
Associated Press journalist Matthew Barakat, in his “Research Shows Complexity of Lincoln’s Racial Views,” published in the March 5 Providence Journal, discusses Lincoln’s strong commitment to colonization as presented by Phillip W. Magness and Sebastian N. Page in Colonization After Emancipation. The authors offer evidence that Abraham Lincoln continued to support colonization, after the effective date of the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863, by diplomatic means with Great Britain to establish a colony in British Honduras (Belize). Yet, Lincoln’s Secretary, John Hay, reported that Abraham Lincoln had “sloughed off” colonization by 1864 running contrary to the claim of these authors.
Joan L. Chaconas wrote “Look Out Stanton…They’re After You Again!” for the February Surratt Courier. This issue also included Julia Cowdery’s “Who Was Aunt Rachel?” (she was the Surratt household slave rented to the Surratt family who insisted on the innocence of Mary Surratt). Robert Redford’s film, The Conspirator, about the arrest, trial and execution of Mary Surratt, was reviewed in this issue.
Roger Norton wrote “What if the Lincolns had Attended the Play at Grover’s Theatre?” for the March Surratt Courier.
The National Museum of Health and Medicine, currently located at Walter Reed Medical Center, Washington, closed its exhibits on April 3 for its move to its new home in Silver Spring, Maryland. The NMHM will complete its relocation to the Forest Glen Annex during the summer of 2011 – after which it will re-open.
Works in Progress
Professor Jason H. Silverman from Winthrop University is at work on a book length study of Abraham Lincoln and the immigrant.
Lincolniana originally appears in Lincoln Herald and I acknowledge, with gratitude, the permission of The Abraham Lincoln Library & Museum of Lincoln Memorial to publish this and subsequent Lincolniana articles here. I want to thank Harold Holzer, Richard Sloan, Tom Lapsley, William D. Pederson, Dennis E. Stark, Jason Emerson, Joseph Fornieri, Wayne C. Temple, Edward Steers, Jr., Kieran McAuliffe, Mike Marlow, Norman F. Boas, Pam Carnahan, Mike Gross, Jacqueline L. Stroud, Brooks Davis, James Billings, Larry Morris, Frank Musgrave, David J. Stiller, Jo Dzombak, Guy Fraker, Malcolm Garber, Dale Jirik, David J. Stiller, 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.