FRANK J. WILLIAMS
The Spoken Word and Group Activities
Robert Maher’s 21st annual Civil War Education Association Symposium, January 23-26, featured: John F. Marszalek (“Abraham Lincoln: Master Strategist of the Civil War”); Robert K. Krick (“The Amazing Gracies: The New York General Who Died Leading an Alabama Regiment”); Eric A. Jacobson (“Baptism of Fire: The Role of the Federal Recruits at Franklin”); Charles P. Roland (“The Generalship of Robert E. Lee”); Frank J. Williams (“The Lincoln Assassination in Law and Lore”); Harold Holzer (“Abraham Lincoln: Great Emancipator or Great Pretender?”); Timothy B. Smith (“Champion Hill: Decisive Battle for Vicksburg”); James I. (“Bud”) Robertson, Jr. (“The Confederacy’s Most Revealing Diarist”); Jeffry D. Wert (“The Army of the Potomac: From Chancellorsville to Gettysburg”); Edwin C. Bearss (“J. Johnston Pettigrew: Renaissance Man”); Keith Kehlbeck (“Gone to God: A Civil War Family’s Ultimate Sacrifice”); and Joseph T. Glatthaar (“Robert E. Lee: Revolutionary Soldier”).
HistoryMiami and the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Foundation presented 1863: The Civil War and the Fight for Freedom with Bud Robertson delivering the keynote address, “Concepts of Freedom and War: Abraham Lincoln and ‘Stonewall’ Jackson,” followed by a panel discussion moderated by Harold Holzer with Orville Vernon Burton, Thomas Campbell, Edna Greene Medford, and Frank J. Williams.
On January 24, the National Archives in Washington hosted Freedom National: The Destruction of Slavery in the United States, 1861-1865, with James Oakes, author of the book of the same name, James M. McPherson, Eric Foner, and Edward Ayers. Annette Gordon Reed moderated. On January 30, the Archives discussion was A Declaration of Freedom: Lincoln, the Emancipation Proclamation and its Legacy of Liberty with presentations by John O’Brien, Greg Carr, and Kenvi Phillips.
Frank J. Williams, on January 31, presented the Morris W.H. “Bill” Collins lecture at Mitchell Memorial Library, Mississippi State University: “Two Heroes Then & Now: Abraham Lincoln & Ulysses S. Grant.”
Barry Cauchon spoke at the Kansas Museum of History in Topeka on how he authenticated the piece of the Lincoln gallows displayed at the museum: “Piece of History: the Lincoln Conspirators’ Gallows,” on February 2-3.
Richard Sloan gave his multi-media presentation, “You Are There at Abraham Lincoln’s New York City Funeral” for the Seaford, Long Island, Historical Society on February 7.
Edward Steers, Jr. presented “Abraham Lincoln, an American Icon” on February 9, at Berkeley Springs, West Virginia, for the Cacapon Group.
Kevin Kenny spoke on “Lincoln’s Views on the Irish and Other Immigrants” at the February 9 meeting of the Lincoln Group of Boston.
Stephen L. Carter, scheduled as speaker for the Abraham Lincoln Association banquet on February 12, was unable to appear because of weather. Brooks Simpson presented the address.
Actor Stephen Lang and Harold Holzer presented Lincoln Seen and Heard at The Metropolitan Museum of Art on February 12. The following night, Holzer moderated a musical gala devoted to Lincoln and the Civil War at Cooper Union, featuring Lang, André De Shields, and singers Judy Collins and Dar Williams.
The George L. Painter Looking for Lincoln Lectures on February 12 included Guy Fraker (“Lincoln’s Law Practice and Issues of Race”); Gerrell Dempsey (“Three Quincy Abolitionists Who Went to Prison in Missouri”); and Renee Henry (“Lincoln’s Trial and Tribulations: The Story of the 1847 Matson Slave Trial”).
The Lincoln Group of the District of Columbia held a seminar, The Emancipation Proclamation—Past, Present, and Future Significance, featuring Eric Foner, Edna Greene Medford, and Lucas Morel.
Harold Holzer moderated a panel at the New-York Historical Society: “Lincoln, Douglass, and the U.S. Colored Troops in Action,” on February 19, with David W. Blight, Elizabeth D. Leonard, and Mia Bay.
William D. Pederson discussed the Emancipation Proclamation at the Bossier (LA) Parish Library Historical Center on February 23.
Richard Etulain discussed his Lincoln and Oregon Country Politics in the Civil War Era at the Oregon History Center, Portland, on February 24.
Frank J. Williams presented “Attorney Abraham Lincoln: The Prelude to Attorney-in-Chief” at the February 26 Vicinage Dinner for the lawyers and judges in Somerset, Hunterdon and Warren Counties, New Jersey.
William C. Harris delivered a Lincoln Lyceum Lecture at Gettysburg College on February 28: “Lincoln and the Border States: A Test of Presidential Leadership.”
On March 5, Carol Ayres presented “Slavery: the Economics and Culture” at the Lincoln Club of Topeka.
Frank J. Williams discussed “Abraham Lincoln: Lawyer in the White House and the Emancipation Proclamation as a Legal Document” at Central Connecticut State University on March 13.
Harold Holzer discussed the Emancipation Proclamation at the C.W. Post Campus of Long Island University on March 21, at S.U.N.Y. Stone Ridge on March 21, at the Greenwich Academy in Connecticut on April 14, and the Cleveland Civil War Round Table on May 15.
Chris Dettro of the Illinois State-Journal Register reported on March 17 about the planning for Lincoln’s funeral anniversary by the 2015 Lincoln Funeral Coalition with the leadership of Katie Spindell.
On March 20, Thomas Morrissey discussed “Origins of Photographic Images From the American Civil War” with the Rhode Island Civil War Round Table in Providence.
Gary Pizola, Executive Director of the Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives, discussed the “Revocation of General Grant’s Orders No. 11” at the March 22 meeting of the Cincinnati Civil War Round Table.
On March 24, Guy C. Fraker spoke on “The Judicial and Legal Career of Abraham Lincoln” at the Wellesley (MA) Country Club.
Dale Jirik spoke about “Lincoln’s Chaotic Second Term” at the April 2 meeting of the Lincoln Club of Topeka.
Frank J. Williams delivered his “Judging Lincoln as a Judge” at the Pennsylvania Bar Association Civil Litigation Section’s annual retreat in Gettysburg on April 5.
Thomas Bassett and Frank J. Williams presented “Abraham Lincoln in Film,” with clips, at the Museum of Primitive Art, Peace Dale, RI, on April 11.
Michael W. Kauffman discussed John Wilkes Booth at the April 11 meeting of the Lincoln Group of New York.
Edward Steers, Jr. discussed his new book, Hoax, at a meeting of the Allentown (PA) Lehigh Valley Heritage Museum.
John F. Marszalek presented the keynote at the 2013 annual meeting of the Lincoln Fellowship of Wisconsin, focusing on the relationship between Abraham Lincoln and Army Chief of Staff Henry W. Halleck, on April 14 at the Lincoln-Tallman House in Janesville, WI.
Friends of the Library, Fort Wayne, IN, featured Jane Gastineau delivering “Lincoln’s Home Front” on April 14, as part of the Lincoln at the Library series.
The Pike County Historical Society which houses the blood-stained flag that was used to cushion the President Abraham Lincoln’s head the night of his assassination, hosted a lecture on April 14 on Abraham Lincoln’s Funeral by Richard Sloan.
Orville Vernon Burton explored “Lincoln, Emancipation Proclamation and Education” on April 16 at the Lincoln Group of the District of Columbia.
Dr. Samuel P. Wheeler spoke on his discovery of the author of the poem Little Eddie at the 57th Annual Lincoln Tomb Ceremony at Oak Ridge Cemetery, Springfield, IL, on April 16, which was organized by the Death Day Association commemorating the 148th anniversary of the death of Abraham Lincoln.
On April 25, Frank J. Williams participated in “Cottage Conversations” at President Lincoln’s Cottage, Washington, about his book, edited with Michael Burkhimer, The Mary Lincoln Enigma. He also discussed the Emancipation Proclamation, “Abraham Lincoln—Lawyer as Emancipator” at the Lincoln Group of Boston, Sudbury, MA, meeting on April 27.
On April 28, CSPAN III broadcast The Insanity Re-Trial of Mary Todd Lincoln, originally recorded at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, Springfield.
On April 2, John F. Marszalek and Harold Holzer discussed “Ulysses S. Grant and William T. Sherman,” and on May 8, Harold Holzer, James M. McPherson, and John F. Marszalek discussed Three Days at Gettysburg, Part II at the New-York Historical Society. Harold Holzer, author of The Civil War and 50 Objects, the companion volume to a rotating display at the New-York Historical Society, and Eric Foner, author of the book’s introduction, discussed the project at the New-York Historical Society on May 13.
On May 4, The Lincoln Group of the District of Columbia sponsored a symposium, Lincoln, Lieber, and the Law of War: 1863-9/11, with John Fabian Witt, author of Lincoln’s Code, Gary Solis, author of The Law of Armed Conflict: International Humanitarian Law in War, Lt. Col. Michelle Poore, Chief, Law of War Branch, International Law Division, United States Army, and Burrus Carnahan, author of Act of Justice: Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation and the Law of War.
Linda Caldwell Epps discussed how New Jersey played a significant role in the emancipation to slaves seeking freedom on May 11 at the Plainfield (NJ) Public Library.
On June 1, Guy C. Fraker discussed his book, Lincoln’s Ladder to the Presidency: The Eighth Judicial Circuit, at the annual luncheon of the Stephen A. Douglas Association in Chicago.
Harold Holzer discussed 1863: Lincoln’s Pivotal Year—which he edited with Sara Gabbard—as part of the Ian Rolland Lecture Series on June 26 at the Allen County Public Library, Fort Wayne. Holzer and Barnet Schecter explored the New York City Draft Riots on the occasion of their 150th anniversary on June 24 at the Union League Club of New York.
The symposium Gettysburg and Civil War Memory was held on July 13 at the Cosmos Club, Washington, with Frank Cooling presenting “Gettysburg and the Context of the Summer,” Edna Greene Medford presenting “The Emancipation Proclamation Through the Ages,” Jared Peatman with his “The Gettysburg Address Through the Ages,” and Fergus Bordewich concluding with “Remembering Gettysburg: 1913 and 1938.”
James M. McPherson will present the 2013 R. Gerald McMurtry Lecture at the Allen County Public Library on September 10.
The Twenty-eighth Annual Lincoln Colloquium will convene on September 28 at the Lincoln Studies Center at Knox College. The topic, “Rethinking Herndon: Has His Role in Lincoln Studies Changed?” will be addressed by Michael Burlingame, Richard Carwardine, Douglas Wilson, and Thomas Schwartz.
Harold Holzer wrote “Abraham Lincoln: The Ugly Truth” for the Irish Times on January 26.
Mary Riddell’s “Britain Badly Needs an Abraham Lincoln Who Will Think Big and Act Big” appeared in the January 31 issue of the UK’s Telegraph.
Enrico Dal Lago, “Lincoln, Cavour, and National Unification: American Republicanism and Italian Liberal Nationalism in Comparative Perspective,” appeared in the March issue of the Journal of the Civil War Era.
Kevin Peraino’s Lincoln in the World: The Making of a Statesman and the Dawn of American Power will be published by Crown in October.
African nations have issued several Lincoln stamps and souvenir sheets: Sierra Leone marking the 90th anniversary of the dedication of the Lincoln Memorial; Liberia, Gambia and Ghana marking the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation.
Arts & Entertainment
In 2010, Don Pollack embarked on a 2,000-mile bicycle trip retracing Abraham Lincoln’s 2,000-mile inaugural journey from Springfield, IL, to Washington, DC. On April 19, Pollack’s Lincoln-Bicycle art project, 34 Days to Washington, opened at the Perimeter Gallery in Chicago. It ran through May 31. The exhibit consisted of paintings, maps, writings, Pollack’s gear and bicycle, with themes focusing on the current American landscape, history and experiences on the trek.
Saving Lincoln, an independent film, opened at the Quad Cinemas in New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago on February 13. The movie focuses on Abraham Lincoln’s long-time friendship with Ward Hill Lamon.
Director Rebecca Patterson and the Chicago Bar Association Chorus presented Lincoln and His America: A Musical Celebration on February 16 in the Old State Capitol, Springfield, IL.
On February 17, Tom Hanks narrated the National Geographic Channel special, Killing Lincoln, which is based on the Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard New York Times best seller.
Thomas Doherty wrote “The 10 Best Lincoln Moments in Film History” for the February 19 History News Network (http://hnn,us/article/10-best-lincoln-moments-film-history). These include the assassination of Lincoln from D.W. Griffith’s silent film The Birth of a Nation; Jon Turteltaub’s National Treasure: Book of Secrets; Frank McGlynn, Sr.’s recitation of the Gettysburg Address in Lincoln in the White House (1939); Shirley Temple charming Lincoln in David Butler’s The Littlest Rebel (1935); James Agee’s Mr. Lincoln series on Omnibus (1952-53); the Lincoln-Douglas debate as staged in John Cromwell’s Abe Lincoln in Illinois (1940); James Stewart as Jefferson Smith worshipping at the Lincoln Memorial in Frank Capra’s Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939); Henry Fonda as Abraham Lincoln calming a lynch mob in John Ford’s Young Mr. Lincoln (1939); and Charles Laughton reciting the Gettysburg Address in Leo McCarey’s Ruggles of Red Gap (1935).
Lincoln: The One-Man Show with Gary Saderup is available on DVD from Kultur.
An American Story for Actor and Orchestra opened at the Royal George Theatre, Chicago, on March 7. Based on the text of Dr. Charles Augustus Leale and Abraham Lincoln, it starred Hershey Felder as Dr. Leale.
Frank Porcu’s sculpture of Abraham Lincoln, commissioned by Shawn Thomas, was unveiled by Tony Bennett at the New-York Historical Society on April 3.
Ken Johnson reviewed Photography and the American Civil War in the April 5 New York Times.
Musician and performer Hershey Felder portrayed Dr. Charles Leale, the Union Army surgeon who was the first to arrive in the presidential box at Ford’s Theatre on the night Abraham Lincoln was shot, in An American Story for Actor and Orchestra at the Royal George Theatre, Chicago.
Tamara Johnson will perform her one-woman show, Laura Keene, at the National Portrait Gallery, Washington, on July 1.
Jake Boritt’s The Gettysburg Story is planned for broadcast on PBS stations during July 2013. Narrated by actor Stephen Lang, the film commemorates the 150th anniversary of the battle.
The exhibit Looking at Lincoln in Erie (PA) Art Museum featured a series of paintings and drawings by Richard Wengenroth depicting Lincoln in the various phases of his life.
The New York State Museum, Albany, is hosting An Irrepressible Conflict: The Empire State in the Civil War from September 22, 2012 to September 22, 2013. Alexander Heffner reviewed the exhibit in the Wall Street Journal on March 5.
The Smithsonian American Art Museum and Yale University Press have published a companion volume to the exhibit, The Civil War and American Art.
The Heritage Center of the Union League of Philadelphia, created 150 years ago in 1863, is hosting an exhibit, Philadelphia 1863: Turning the Tide.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, hosted three exhibitions related to the Civil War and Lincoln in the spring and summer: “Photography and the American Civil War” (April 2-September 2); “The Civil War and American Art” (May 27-September 2); and a companion show on Civil War prints.
The Library of Congress displayed one of its two copies of the Gettysburg Address during March and April. The John Hay copy is one of five known manuscript drafts of President Abraham Lincoln’s 1863 address. It was on display in the Thomas Jefferson Building from March 22 to May 4 as part of the Civil War in America exhibition organized by Michelle Knowl.
Sanford Schwartz reviewed The Civil War in American Art, an exhibition at the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington (November 16, 2012-April 28, 2013) and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York (May 21-September 2, 2013), in the New York Review (“The Art of Our Terrible War”).
Lincoln and the Technology of War has been rebuilt into a traveling exhibition by the Abraham Lincoln Library and Museum of Lincoln Memorial University, for installation at the Center for Education at Ford’s Theatre, Washington, in January 2014.
Civil War Sesquicentennial
The Rhode Island Civil War Sesquicentennial Commemoration Commission, with a grant from Adler Pollock & Sheehan, PC, purchased The Civil War—People, Places, and Politics: History in a Box for every high school in Rhode Island. A launching was held at Lincoln (RI) High School on February 7. Chairman of the Commission, Frank J. Williams, delivered the keynote.
Four major universities joined theater companies in Boston, Baltimore, Washington and Atlanta in a project for new plays, music and dance about the Civil War and its legacy. The National Civil War Project was announced on February 28 with Harvard University partnering with the American Repertory Theater in Cambridge, MA; the University of Maryland’s Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center will join Center Stage in Baltimore, MD; George Washington University is working with Arena Stage in Washington; and the Alliance Theatre in Atlanta will join Emory University there. The new piece in Cambridge is entitled The Boston Abolitionists and will be performed in May. The Atlanta Alliance Theatre will develop a theatrical production of Native Guard by Natasha Trethewey who received the Pulitzer Prize for her book of the same name. In September the University of Maryland will host a national conference on civil rights and choreographer Liz Lerman is developing a new dance piece in Washington called Healing Wars.
The Civil War continues in the City of Memphis – at least over the naming or re-naming of Memphis parks. Robbie Brown wrote about it in the March 29 New York Times. The city council voted to rename the city’s downtown parks, including one honoring Nathan Bedford Forrest, the Confederate Lieutenant General and First Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, because it said the names evoked a racist past and were unwelcoming in a city where most of the population is black. Southern historical groups responded that the change dishonored troops who fought in the 1862 Battle of Memphis, a naval conflict in which the Confederates suffered a major defeat. Mayor A.C. Wharton angered Confederate groups when he proposed a statue of Ulysses S. Grant be erected to create a balance to honor the Union troops. “These are the growing pains of a democratic society. This is the South, remember. Traditions don’t die that easy,” Mr. Wharton said.
The Abraham Lincoln Library and Museum of Lincoln Memorial University hosted its Third Civil War Sesquicentennial symposium, War in the Mountains III on April 20, with presentations by Michael Toomey, Wilma Dunaway, and Brian McKnight.
The Gettysburg Foundation, co-sponsored by Gettysburg National Military Park, hosted the 150th Commemoration of the Battle of Gettysburg, Gettysburg: A New Birth of Freedom, on June 30, with Doris Kearns Goodwin presenting the keynote address. Actor Stephen Lang performed his solo piece, The Wheatfield, in which he portrays Medal of Honor recipient James Jackson Purman, relating events that transpired at the Battle of Gettysburg on July 2 and 3, 1863. The performance was followed by a short film also titled The Wheatfield written and acted by Lang. Harold Holzer conducted an interview of Stephen Lang following these presentations.
Awards and Prizes
The Board of the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Foundation, successor to the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission, met on January 27, following a conference the previous day at HistoryMiami, 1863: The Civil War and the Fight for Freedom, with panelists Harold Holzer, Frank J. Williams, Orville Vernon Burton, Thomas Campbell, Edna Greene Medford and Michael Bernath. Recipients of the latest round of ALBF grants are the Hartford County Library, Belcamp, MD ($2,000); the Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance and Abolition, Yale University, in partnership with the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, Cincinnati ($10,200); the Mary Todd Lincoln House, Lexington, KY ($2,500); The University of Hawaii at Hilo ($7,500); and Friends of the Lincoln Collection of Indiana, Fort Wayne ($15,000).
The Abraham Lincoln Association honored Dr. Wayne C. Temple at its banquet on February 12 for his lifetime study of Abraham Lincoln and named him a distinguished director of the Abraham Lincoln Association.
John Fabian Witt’s Lincoln Code: The Laws of War in American History (Free Press) was one of two books awarded the Bancroft Prize. Focusing on the Civil War, it was cited as “a persuasively argued history of the idea that conflict among nations can be regulated by war.” Witt’s book was also a finalist for the 2013 Pulitzer Prize in History.
The Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities named Professor William D. Pederson of Louisiana State University Shreveport the “2013 Humanist of the Year” on April 6 for his contributions to the State of Louisiana by establishing the International Lincoln Center, as author, editor, and co-editor of books on George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and the United States Supreme Court.
James Oakes’s Freedom National: The Destruction of Slavery in the United States, 1861-1865 received the 2013 Lincoln Prize from Gettysburg College and the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History. He previously won the prize in 2008 for The Radical and the Republican: Frederick Douglass, Abraham Lincoln, and the Triumph of Antislavery Politics. The prize, $50,000 and a bronze replica of Augustus Saint-Gaudens’s bust Abraham Lincoln: The Man, was awarded at a ceremony in New York on April 10.
Former President Bill Clinton received the 2013 Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation’s Lincoln Leadership Prize.
The president of Corpus Christi Oxford University, and Lincoln Prize recipient Dr. Richard Carwardine, delivered the commencement address at Lincoln Memorial University on May 3. Dr. Carwardine received LMU’s Lincoln Diploma of Honor.
Hildene—Robert Todd Lincoln’s home in Manchester, VT—hosted a buffet luncheon for its winners of Hildene’s 7th Annual Lincoln Essay Competition on May 19.
“The Universal Lincoln: Establishing an American Brand” by Fred L. Reed, III, appeared in the magazine Numismatist for January. The author describes how talented artists for the U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing defined the quintessential image of Abraham Lincoln.
The restored Gettysburg train station, cut off by Confederate forces a week before the battle and which welcomed President Lincoln the day before he delivered the Gettysburg Address on November 18, 1863, may become part of the Gettysburg National Military Park. The Gettysburg Foundation has been raising funds to purchase the building for the National Park Service.
The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation, with AT&T, launched a free AbeApp on February 12. The new app, available for iPhones using Android-based operating systems, lets people explore Lincoln facts and pictures from the presidential museum.
The February/March Civil War News reported that Grand Valley State University, Allendale, MI, is home of a Lincoln collection donated 20 years ago by businessman Harvey Lemmen. The collection has more than 5,000 volumes plus lithographs, prints, paintings and original pieces from Lincoln’s life, presidency and legacy. For further information, contact Nate Hoekstra at (616) 331-2221.
The Illinois Times, on March 21, featured Louis Rushton’s “Buyer Beware,” in which he reported that the State of Illinois, through then-state historian, Tom Schwartz, was warned by appraiser Seth Kaller about serious questions of provenance regarding three purported Lincoln items about to be purchased for the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield. These included a clock that allegedly came from Lincoln’s law office, a hat once purportedly belonging to Lincoln, and a fan that Mary Todd Lincoln was believed to have carried the night of the assassination at Ford’s Theatre. “How was ownership first attributed to Lincoln, and by whom?” Kaller wrote in describing concerns about the clock valued at $325,000. Kaller also asked why the hat, valued at $6.5 million, was attributed to Lincoln. Though it was given to Lincoln’s contemporary William Waller in Washington, there is no evidence that Waller ever visited Washington while Lincoln was president. As for the fan, Kaller asked the identity of Mrs. M.D. Dean, the alleged source of the fan. Seizing on the lack of provenance, Neil Steinberg wrote “Lincoln Relic or Just an Old Hat?” for the February 26 Chicago Sun-Times and “Truth Isn’t Whatever You Wish it to Be” for the March 1 issue of the paper.
The Lincoln Heritage Museum at Lincoln College will move in September to the new Lincoln Center on the school’s campus, a new two-story space containing 9,000 square feet compared to its current 2,000 square foot location.
Kathryn Ram profiled The Castle, the Illinois State Military Museum in Springfield, IL. The museum has about 12,000 artifacts, including the pine target board used by Abraham Lincoln and Christopher Spencer, developer of the repeating carbine.
The Flag Store in Crystal Lake, IL, created a tradition of the “Lincoln Window” which is filled with reproductions of Lincoln furniture, clocks and furnishings made by Dave Warren, a Lincoln scholar and craftsman. Included are a boot jack, Lincoln rocking chair from the Lincoln Home in Springfield, and clock reproductions.
The Abraham Lincoln Library and Museum of Lincoln Memorial University, Harrogate, TN, will undergo a major gallery renovation as a result of a pledge of $750,000 made in honor of the legacy of Dr. Robert L. Kincaid, President of LMU from 1947 to 1958.
Abraham Lincoln Library and Museum director Thomas Mackie has produced a video entitled Abraham Lincoln and Lincoln Memorial University.
W. Barksdale Maynard profiled the Firestone Library at Princeton University in the March 20 Princeton Alumni Weekly. He discussed the exhibition, “A Republic in the Wilderness: Treasures of American History From Jamestown to Appomattox,” which includes 175 letters by Abraham Lincoln; a broadside reward poster for John Wilkes Booth, John H. Surratt and Daniel [David] C. Harrold [Herold]; and albumin prints taken by Alexander Gardner of the aftermath of Antietam in September 1862 where 26,000 soldiers were killed, wounded or missing. The exhibition displays nearly 100 items and will remain on display through August 4.
Allan Kozinn wrote “Lincoln Scribbled Here: Strokes That Fascinate” for the April 12 New York Times, in which he previews the annual show of the Association of Professional Autograph Dealers on April 14. With Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln a hit, emphasis at the meeting was on Abraham Lincoln. Daniel Weinberg, proprietor of the Abraham Lincoln Book Shop in Chicago, had with him a check that Lincoln wrote to John Armstrong in February 1860, used to compensate Armstrong for work he did on Lincoln’s outhouse. One brief letter endorsing a request by Sister Mary Carroll, a wartime nurse, for an extra Catholic hospital chaplain, is dated September 22, 1862, the day Lincoln signed the preliminary version of the Emancipation Proclamation. The letter is in different inks and the signor itself is unique as Lincoln started to sign Abraham Lincoln and quit after “Ab,” so it is signed “Ab. Lincoln.” The asking price for the letter to Sister Mary is $125,000, but $13,500 for the outhouse check. A drawing by Pierre Morand, a Frenchman who befriended Lincoln, and executed several well-known sketches, including one of Lincoln leaning against a tree and reading a newspaper in 1864, did one of Lincoln’s body lying in state at City Hall in New York City. The asking price for the portrait is $375,000.
Daniel W. Stowell, director and editor of the quarterly newsletter of The Papers of Abraham Lincoln, wrote “Anatomy of a Cipher” for the January-March Lincoln Editor.
Books and Pamphlets
The Association of School Curriculum Development (ASCD) published Learning from Lincoln: Leadership Practices for School Success by Harvey Alvy and Pam Robbins.
Michael R. Ballard and Mark R. Cheathem edited Of Times and Race: Essays Inspired by John F. Marszalek for the University Press of Mississippi as a tribute to Professor Marszalek from those who received their doctoral degrees at Mississippi State University under his mentorship.
Talmage Boston has written Raising the Bar: The Crucial Role of the Lawyer in Society with a chapter “The Timeless Inspiration of Abraham Lincoln and Atticus Fitch,” available from TexasBarBooks.com or on Amazon.
Eva Brann’s Homage to Americans was published by Paul Dry Books.
Chris DeRose has written Congressman Lincoln: The Making of America’s Greatest President (Threshold Editions).
Richard W. Etulain is the author of Lincoln and Oregon Country Politics in the Civil War Era, published by Oregon State University Press.
A. James Fuller has edited The Election of 1860 Reconsidered (Kent State University Press).
Amazon’s Kindle Singles include Lincoln’s Little Girl by Cecelia Holland. Selected by editor David Blum, Amazon Kindle Singles are selected original works of 5,000 to 30,000 words.
Harold Holzer and the New-York Historical Society produced The Civil War and 50 Objects with an introduction by Eric Foner (Viking).
Rowman & Littlefield has published Harry V. Jaffa’s Essays on Leo Strauss and Straussianism, East and West, Crisis of the Strauss Divided.
Donald Motier wrote Mystic Chords of Memory: The Lost Journal of William Wallace Lincoln (AuthorHouse, 1663 Liberty Drive, Bloomington, IN 47403). The author considers this “faction,” a fictional story built around historical events.
Fred Reed has written Abraham Lincoln: Beyond the American Icon for Whitman Publishing, LLC.
Daniel Stashower’s The Hour of Peril: The Secret Plot to Murder Lincoln Before the Civil War has been published by Minotaur Books.
Savas Beattie has published The Battles That Made Abraham Lincoln: How Lincoln Mastered His Enemies to Win the Civil War, Free the Slaves, and Preserve the Union by Larry Tagg.
John Taliaferro is the author of a new biography of John Hay, All the Great Prizes: The Life of John Hay, From Lincoln to Roosevelt (Simon & Schuster).
The Lincoln Fellowship of Wisconsin Bulletin 66, Starving for a Reputation: Black Hawk and How He Almost Brought About the Extermination of the Sauk Nation by Kerry A. Trask, has been published by the Fellowship (P.O. Box 1863, Janesville, WI 53545).
The Library of Congress Illustrated Timeline of the Civil War has been prepared by Margaret E. Wagner with an introduction by Gary W. Gallagher, which Little, Brown & Company published.
1863: Lincoln’s Pivotal Year, edited by Harold Holzer and Sara Vaughn Gabbard, has been published by Southern Illinois University Press, with articles by Edna Greene Medford (“The Day of Jubilee”); Frank J. Williams (“Under Cover of Liberty”); Craig L. Symonds (“Lincoln at Sea”); Barnet Schecter (“Military Drafts, Civilian Riots”); Catherine Clinton (“The Fiery Furnace of Affliction”); John F. Marszalek and Michael B. Ballard (“And the War Goes On”); Bob Zeller (“Picturing the War”); William C. Davis (“The General Tide”); Orville Vernon Burton (“The Gettysburg Address Revisited”); and Harold Holzer (“Seldom Twice Alike: The Changing Faces of History”).
Essays in honor of Mark E. Neely, Jr., by his doctoral students, This Distracted and Anarchical People, New Answers for Old Questions About the Civil War-Era North, was edited by Andrew L. Slap and Michael Thomas Smith and included an elegant afterword, “On Mark Neely: An Appreciation” by Harold Holzer.
Civil War Sesquicentennial and Related Books
Linda Barnickel wrote about Milliken’s Bend: A Civil War Battle in History and Memory for Louisiana State University Press.
Wayne H. Bowen is the author of Spain and the American Civil War (University of Missouri Press).
Freedom by the Sword: The U.S. Colored Troops, 1862-1867 by William A. Dobak, has been published by the U.S. Army Center of Military History.
David Goldfield’s Still Fighting the Civil War: The American South in Southern History has been updated and published by Louisiana State University Press.
LSU Press has published Knights of the Golden Circle: Secret Empire, Southern Secession, Civil War by David C. Keehn.
The Dred Scott Case: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives on Race and Law, edited by David Thomas Konig, Paul Finkelman and Christopher Alan Bracey, has been published by Ohio University Press.
Stephanie McCurry is the author of Confederate Reckoning: Power and Politics in the Civil War South (Harvard University Press).
The 10th volume of acclaimed Portraits of Conflict series from the University of Arkansas Press has been published—Portraits of Conflict: A Photographic History of Alabama in the Civil War.
Andre M. Fleche is the author of The Revolution of 1861: The American Civil War in the Age of Nationalist Conflict (University of North Carolina Press).
Jim Stovall used Abraham Lincoln as point and counterpoint for “Testing Your Team” in the December 27 blog of www.refreshleadership.com.
Brett Zongker wrote “Emancipation Proclamation Hits 150th” for the December 30 Northwest Herald, discussing the exhibits on display at the National Archives and Library of Congress.
The January/February Library of Congress Magazine featured “Presidential Precedents: Moments in Inaugural History” with a profile of Abraham Lincoln’s first inaugural on March 4, 1861.
Dr. Robert K. Collins and John F. Marszalek wrote “Honored and 64 Years Later, a Case Report: U.S. Grant; Eye Pain and Swelling in Mexico 1848” for the January Journal MSMA.
Volume 37, No. 3 (2012), of Supreme Court History, included Jonathan W. White’s “The Lincoln Administration and the Supreme Court During the Civil War: A Letter by Attorney General Edward Bates.”
Christopher Childers wrote “The Revolutionary Principle of Self-Government: Popular Sovereignty, the Crisis Over Slavery, and the Coming of the Civil War” for the February North & South.
Stuart Schneider wrote “Collecting Lincoln Photographs” for the February Wide Awake Bulletin of the Lincoln Group of New York.
Silvio Laccetti wrote about Jacob and John Bunn, originally from New Jersey, who settled in Springfield, IL (“Lincoln, the Bunns, Springfield and New Jersey?”) for the January 31 State Journal-Register. Close friends of Lincoln, Jacob and John Bunn, followed American expansion westward and settled in Springfield. Jacob Bunn, a banker, spent five years trying to save his bank after the financial panic of 1873. He gave up his entire assets to pay off the bank debt and to ensure its customers recovered all of their funds.
Bob Hill wrote “Where Lincoln Walked” for the February 10 Courier-Journal (Louisville), indicating that America was slow to honor sites where Lincoln was born and raised in Kentucky and Indiana.
Richard Lawrence Miller wrote “Lincoln’s Missouri Girlfriend” for the February Missouri Life.
Daniel Stashower is the author of “Lincoln Must Die!” for the February Smithsonian.
The Winter Journal of the Abraham Lincoln Association included “Lincoln’s Rhetoric” by Douglas L. Wilson, “The Shifting Terrain of Attitudes Toward Abraham Lincoln and Emancipation” by Chandra Manning, and Helena Iles Papaioannou and Daniel W. Stowell’s “Dr. Charles A. Leale’s Report on the Assassination of Abraham Lincoln.”
Richard Striner’s “Lincoln’s Tricky Emancipation Tactics” appeared in the Spring Lincoln Lore.
Jared Peatman, author of a new book on the Gettysburg Address, wrote “Profound Silence Followed by Hardy Applause: The Legacy of the Gettysburg Address” for the February-March Lincolnian, a publication of the Lincoln Group of the District of Columbia.
Jeff L. Rosenheim wrote “The Hidden Face of the Civil War: Rare Confederate Photographs” for the March/April Antiques.
Harold Holzer wrote “Lincoln Images Reconsidered” for America’s Civil War Online on March 5.
Randall Miller, editor of Lincoln & Leadership: Military, Political and Religious Decision Making, wrote “The Election(s) of 1860” for the Winter 2013 Civil War Book Review (www.cwbr.com).
Ervin Beck wrote “Abraham Lincoln in Goshen, Indiana’s 1860 Campaign Banner” in the Spring For the People-a Newsletter of the Abraham Lincoln Association. Robert Julius Davis wrote “Reflection on the Emancipation Proclamation Watch Night and Freedom’s First Day Programs” for the same issue.
William F. Howard discussed the death of Abraham Lincoln’s friend Elmer Ellsworth in the Spring New York Archives (“In Defense of the Union”).
The May issue of The Journal of Southern History published its 2012 “Southern History in Periodicals: A Selected Bibliography.” Michael T. Bernath also wrote “The Confederacy as a Moment of Possibility.”
The National Park Service Sentinel published a special edition commemorating the 150th anniversary of the Gettysburg campaign. It included D. Scott Hartwig’s The Meaning of the Gettysburg Address.
Frank Baron, Abraham Lincoln and the German Immigrants: Turners and Forty-Eighters, rev. by Daniel Nagel, Journal of the Abraham Lincoln Association (Winter 2013).
John Burt, Lincoln’s Tragic Pragmatism: Lincoln, Douglas, and Moral Conflict, rev. by Allen Guelzo, Wall Street Journal (February 15, 2013); rev. by Steven B. Smith, New York Times Book Review (February 17, 2013).
Orville Vernon Burton, Jerald Podair and Jennifer L. Weber, editors, The Struggle for Equality: Essays on Sectional Conflict, the Civil War, and the Long Reconstruction, rev. by Wallace Hettle, The Journal of Southern History (May 2013).
Christopher Childers, The Failure of Popular Sovereignty: Slavery, Manifest Destiny, and the Radicalization of Southern Politics, rev. by Harry Watson, Civil War Book Review (Winter 2013).
Brian R. Dirck, Abraham Lincoln and White America, rev. by Kabria Baumgartner, Civil War Book Review (Fall 2012); rev. by Sean P. Cadagin, Journal of the Abraham Lincoln Association (Winter 2013).
Jason Emerson, Mary Lincoln’s Insanity Case: A Documentary History, rev. by Frank J. Williams, Civil War Book Review (Winter 2013).
Andre M. Fleche, The Revolution of 1861: The American Civil War in the Age of Nationalist Conflict, rev. by Frank Towers, Civil War Book Review (Fall 2012); rev. by Matthew J. Clavin, The Journal of Southern History (May 2013).
Amy S. Greenberg, A Wicked War: Polk, Clay, Lincoln, and the 1846 U.S. Invasion of Mexico, rev. by Robert E. May, Civil War Book Review (Winter 2013).
Allen C. Guelzo, Fateful Lightning: A New History of the Civil War and Reconstruction, rev. by Michael S. Benedict, Civil War Book Review (Fall 2012).
William C. Harris, Lincoln and the Border States: Preserving the Union, rev. by Christopher Phillips, The Journal of Southern History (May 2013).
Chester G. Hearn, Lincoln and McClellan at War, rev. by Edward Bonekemper, Civil War News (February/March 2013).
Harold Holzer and Sara Vaughn Gabbard, editors, 1863: Lincoln’s Pivotal Year, rev. by “Chris” (Civil War Voices) www.soldierstudies.org/blog/2013/04/1863-lincolns-pivotalyear/.
Harold Holzer, Emancipating Lincoln: The Proclamation in Text, Context, and Memory, rev. by M. Keith Harris, Journal of the Abraham Lincoln Association (Winter 2013).
Mark A. Lause, A Secret Society History of the Civil War, rev. by Mark R. Cheathem, The Journal of Southern History (May 2013).
Phillip W. Magness and Sebastian N. Page, Colonization After Emancipation: Lincoln and the Movement for Black Resettlement, rev. by Allen C. Guelzo, Journal of the Abraham Lincoln Association (Winter 2013).
William Martin, The Lincoln Letter, rev. by John Elliff, The Lincolnian (February-March 2013).
William Marvel, Tarnished Victory: Finishing Lincoln’s War, rev. by John F. Marszalek, Civil War Book Review (Fall 2012).
Louis P. Masur, Lincoln’s Hundred Days: The Emancipation Proclamation and the War for the Union, rev. by Henry Cohen, Federal Lawyer (March 2013); rev. by Thomas J. Brown, Civil War Book Review (Winter 2013).
James M. McPherson, War on the Waters: The Union and Confederate Navies, 1861-1865, rev. by Robert M. Browning, Jr., Civil War Book Review (Winter 2013).
Mark E. Neely, Jr., Lincoln and the Triumph of a Nation: Constitutional Conflict in the American Civil War, rev. by Michael Vorenberg, Journal of the Abraham Lincoln Association (Winter 2013).
James Oakes, Freedom National: The Destruction of Slavery in the United States, 1861-1865, rev. by Scott Nesbit, Civil War Book Review (Winter 2013); rev. by James Percoco, Civil War News (May 2013).
John Y. Simon and Glenn LaFantasie, editors, The Union Forever: Lincoln, Grant, and the Civil War, rev. by Jean Edward Smith, Civil War Book Review (Winter 2013).
Walter Stahr, William Seward: Lincoln’s Indispensable Man, rev. by Daniel W. Crofts, Civil War Book Review (Fall 2012); rev. by Tom Ryley, The Dispatch (May 2013).
Daniel Stashower, The Hour of Peril: the Secret Plot to Murder Lincoln Before the Civil War, rev. by Greg Tobin, New York Times Book Review (February 17, 2013).
Edward Steers, Jr., editor, The Trial: The Assassination of President Lincoln and the Trial of the Conspirators, a Special Edition of the Trial Transcript as Compiled and Arranged in 1865 by Benn Pitman, rev. by Edward Bonekemper, Civil War News (May 2013).
Richard Striner, Lincoln and Race, rev. by Sean P. Cadagin, Journal of the Abraham Lincoln Association (Winter 2013).
Craig L. Symonds, The Civil War at Sea, rev. by Patrick E. Purcell, Civil War News (February/March 2013).
Jonathan W. White, Abraham Lincoln and Treason in the Civil War: The Trials of John Merryman, rev. by Helen J. Knowles, Civil War Book Review (Winter 2012).
Frank J. Williams and Michael Burkhimer, editors, The Mary Lincoln Enigma: Historians on America’s Most Controversial First Lady, rev. by Sara Gabbard, Lincoln Lore (Spring 2013); rev. by James R. Hall, America’s Civil War (March 2013).
John Fabian Witt, Lincoln’s Code: The Laws of War in American History, rev. by Burris M. Carnahan, Federal Lawyer (March 2013).
Frank J. Williams was interviewed about 1863 and Guy Fraker about his book Lincoln’s Ladder to the Presidency: The Eighth Judicial Circuit by Sara Gabbard in the Spring Lincoln Lore.
Tim Sajet, President and Chief Executive of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, was named the new director of the National Portrait Gallery, Washington, on April 1. He succeeds Martin E. Sullivan who stepped down last June.
James Oakes, author of the winner of the Civil War Prize from Gettysburg College for his Freedom National: The Destruction of Slavery in the United States, 1861-1865, was interviewed by Michael Frawley for the Winter 2013 Civil War Book Review.
Lewis E. Lehrman, Doris Kearns Goodwin, and Wayne C. Temple have been named Distinguished Directors of the Abraham Lincoln Association.
Thomas Mackie, Director of the Abraham Lincoln Library and Museum, has been selected to serve on the interpretation committee with the Yosemite National Park to celebrate the 150th Anniversary of President Lincoln’s signing the original land grant that preserved the Yosemite Valley and Mariposa for a future national park. The museum is working directly with the Yosemite National Park on a series of articles, virtual exhibits and a simulcast event on June 30, 2014.
Lincoln and Political Culture
Charles M. Blow’s “Escaping Slavery,” which appeared on the Op-Ed page of the New York Times on January 5, explored the importance of the commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation. Despite great improvement since the days of slavery, Blow pointed out that there are still some who believe in the words of Arkansas State Representative Jon Hubbard: “The institution of slavery, that the black race has long believed to be an abomination upon its people, may actually have been a blessing in disguise.” Blow argues that this is a misguided theory that asks people to believe that blacks were better off in America than in Africa despite “all the horrors of slavery.”
Jim Downs, author of Sick From Freedom: African-American Illness and Suffering During the Civil War and Reconstruction, believes the number of Civil War casualties was really 750,000—not 620,000—because African-Americans and others died from lingering and residual illness, disease, and wounds subsequent to Appomattox. He wrote “Dying for Freedom” for the January 5 New York Times. Downs complains that once freed by the Emancipation Proclamation or by becoming fugitives and contrabands during the Civil War, “There were no protections, no refugee programs or public health services, in place to help freed slaves ward off the disease that plagued the Confederate South.” Many historians have adopted the new tally.
Douglas L. Wilson wrote “The Power of the Negative” for the January 17 Wall Street Journal. Lincoln’s rhetorical use of the negative permeates most of Lincoln’s memorable passages, he points out. According to Wilson, Lincoln used this device because of the “dogged opposition” he encountered with “Jacksonian political rule, the hedgemony of the Democratic Party, the Mexican War, the repeal of the Missouri Compromise, the Kansas-Nebraska Act, the Dred Scott Decision, the expansion of slavery, and the dissolution of the Union.” An example of Lincoln’s use of the negative is “With public sentiment, nothing can fail; without it nothing can succeed,” which he used in his 1858 debates with Stephen A. Douglas.
The business section of the January 26 New York Times featured Nancy F. Koehn’s “Lincoln’s School of Management” in which she discusses the Abraham Lincoln cult of leadership. “The lessons of Lincoln seem as fresh as ever. They demonstrate the importance of resilience, forbearance, emotional intelligence, thoughtful listening and the consideration of all sides of an argument. They also show the value of staying true to a larger mission.” Abraham Lincoln was able to change direction during difficult times—from reunion to reunion and freedom. As such, “Lincoln was able to learn and grow amid great calamity. His story, like no other, demonstrates that leaders do not just make the moment; they meet it and, in the process, are changed by it.”
Pagan Kennedy in her “Who Made That?” about the invention of the military dog tag, which she wrote for the January 27 New York Times Magazine, indicated that during the Civil War, more than a quarter of dead soldiers, some 620,000, remain unidentified. When dog tags were first utilized in WWI, 2% remain unidentified, 2.5% in WWII, 1.7% in the Korean War, no unidentified in both the Vietnam and Iraq wars.
Kevin Brady and Lewis E. Lehrman wrote “A Lincolnian Economic Primer For Obama” for the February 13 Wall Street Journal, pointing out that Abraham Lincoln followed two fundamental principles—that every person was entitled to the fruits of his or her labors and secondly, that every person, regardless of birth, should be able to climb the economic ladder as far as his talents can take him—“the right to rise,” as the phrase coined by Gabor Boritt in 1978. The authors hope that President Obama uses the remainder of his second and last term, “to get his policy right by Lincoln rather than misconstrue history in an effort to align the 16th president’s policies with his own.” President Obama, if he were to emulate Lincoln, would find members on both sides of the aisle “willing to work with him.”
Steven B. Smith wrote “What Sort of Leader Was Lincoln?” for the New York Times “Opinionator” website on February 13. The author’s answer is to go beyond the normal “character traits” of any successful man or woman, in any point in history. To Smith, one must understand constitutional government to weigh in on Lincoln’s leadership skills. When Lincoln exercised constitutional restraint in 1863 by excluding slave Union states from the Emancipation Proclamation, it was because many still believed that the purpose of the war was to defend the Union and not to emancipate slaves. There were also those who believed from the outset that the Emancipation Proclamation did not go far enough as it applied to only those areas still in rebellion without touching slavery in the border states. Lincoln understood the limits of his power under the Constitution. Another example cited by Smith is Lincoln’s restraint regarding the principle of election. The president understood that if a minority could secede from the Union whenever it disapproved of what the majority had elected or selected, the nation would devolve into anarchy. Notwithstanding, Lincoln expected to lose in the summer of 1864, even if it might be the end of constitutional government. “Constitutional leadership is necessarily limited or bounded leadership” and is the “hope of our republic.”
Charles M. Blow wrote “Escaping Slavery” as an op-ed in the January 5 New York Times. Blow argues that slavery is very much on our minds these days. While he enjoyed the film Lincoln, “which I found enlightening and enjoyable,” he is disturbed that a CNN poll in April 2011 “found that nearly 4 in 10 white Southerners sympathize more with the Confederacy than with the Union.” In addition, author Michelle Alexander indicated to Blow on January 4, “Today there are more African American adults under correctional control—in prison or jail, on probation or parole—than were enslaved in 1850 [four million], a decade before the Civil War began.” Blow ends his article, “Definitely not progress.”
And on January 11 in the Post, Smith’s cartoon has President Obama reading about Abraham Lincoln’s nomination for best actor thinking, “I’ve been snubbed.” Bramhall’s World for the New York Daily News shows a patron leaving the theater after seeing Spielberg’s Lincoln saying, “I still say four score and seven Oscar nominations are too many” on January 13. Another Lincoln cartoonist, Emily Smith, in the January 13 New York Times depicts Abraham Lincoln and Mary Lincoln walking on the carpet to the Oscars, with Lincoln saying, “Surprised liberal Hollywood would nominate a Republican for anything.”
Lincoln actor Steve Holgate presented “A Town Hall With Abraham Lincoln” at the Trinity Cathedral, Portland, OR, on January 13, and Elliott Trommald spoke on “Abraham Lincoln, Spielberg and a Search for Meaning in the Civil War” on January 16.
The Daily Mail of London, on January 14, wrote “Was Lincoln Racist?” Tom Leonard captures how Steven Spielberg lionizes Abraham Lincoln for the 13th Amendment but points out how some historians are hard on Lincoln, pointing out his opposition to interracial marriage and other citizenship rights, including service as jurors. Other historians, of course, say that Lincoln was a man of his times.
The Rev. Patrick J. Howell wrote “‘Lincoln,’ the Film, Scrimps on Lincoln, the Man of Faith” for the January 26 Seattle Times. Father Howell complained that even though there was some indication of Abraham Lincoln’s faith in the film, they were incidental as “Spielberg never focuses on how Lincoln’s moral convictions arose out of his religious sensibilities.” Even though Spielberg replicates Abraham Lincoln’s second inaugural address with actor Daniel Day-Lewis, the movie “cannot capture the fullness of Lincoln’s character because it cannot comprehend his spiritual depth.”
Melena Ryzik gives the back story to the filming of Lincoln in “It Took a Village to Film ‘Lincoln’” for the February 7 New York Times.
Doris Kearns Goodwin’s Team of Rivals reached number seven on the New York Times best-seller list for combined print and e-book best sales with the re-issue of her book with a new dust jacket photo of Daniel Day-Lewis.
James Krohe, Jr., on February 14, wrote “History by the Book: Spielberg Almost Gets Lincoln Right” for the Illinois Times. He believes Spielberg and scriptwriter Tony Kushner were wrong in how they depicted Lincoln freed the slaves, as the slaves’ self-emancipation hardly make it into the film at all. In addition, Spielberg and Kushner should have relied more on Michael Vorenberg’s book about the 13th Amendment (Final Freedom) than on Doris Kearns Goodwin’s Team of Rivals, he suggests.
Nelson George wrote “Still Too Good, Too Bad Or Invisible” for the February 15 New York Times, discussing black-white race relations as depicted in four films by directors—all white. The author criticizes the lack of portrayals of abolitionists like Frederick Douglass “whose absence from Lincoln looms large in the minds of many black viewers.” He bemoans the “political wrangling,” but fails to realize that Lincoln indeed wrangled as he pushed for passage of a constitutional amendment to end slavery forever in the United States. Blacks are not “helpless observers” as opined by George, but the direct beneficiaries of presidential and congressional action.
Abraham Lincoln won the movie trifecta on February 17 with Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln still being shown in theaters. On this same day, National Geographic presented Killing Lincoln—a docudrama, and Salvadore Litvak’s Saving Lincoln was first screened on this day. The Lincoln industry continued with another trifecta—the availability of the Spielberg movie in DVD, the CD of John Williams’s haunting score for the movie, as well as Tony Kushner’s film script for Lincoln, now available in cloth and paperback. Neil Genzlinger wrote about it in “Lincoln, the Play and Everything After” for the February 16 New York Times.
On February 17, New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd discussed the “Kerfuffle over Lincoln” which showed two fictitiously named Connecticut members of the House of Representatives voting against the 13th Amendment resolution for the abolition of slavery, when in fact none actually did. Current Democratic Congressman from Connecticut, Joe Courtney, pointed this out and, unsuccessfully pressed for a correction in the DVD version of the film. Screenwriter Tony Kushner conceded that one of his historical advisors pointed out that the House did not vote by state, but Steven Spielberg opted for tension and drama, not a tedious alphabetical roll call. Harold Holzer added that one of the pro-Amendment Connecticut Congressmen received a political bribe for his vote.
David Rubel, who wrote the book Lincoln: A Cinematic and Historical Companion to accompany Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln, spoke at the Chatham (NY) Public Library on February 23.
Harold Holzer wrote “Reel vs.: How Faithfully Does Spielberg’s Lincoln Portray Thadeus Stevens?” for the April Civil War Times.
After viewing Lincoln, Dr. Ranjan Batra, a recent immigrant from India, researched whether or not Mississippi had ratified the Thirteenth Amendment—the last state to do so. He discovered that in 1995 Mississippi did so ratify but, because of a clerical error, failed to send the results to the United States Archivist. Mississippi finally sent the paperwork to complete its belated ratification banning slavery. (yahoo.com/thanks-lincoln-mississippi-finally-definitely-ratified-13th-amendment, February 18, 2013)
Manohla Dargis and A.O. Scott wrote “Confronting the Fact of Fiction and the Fiction of Fact” for the February 23 New York Times. Considering high-profile movies such as Lincoln, Argo, Zero Dark Thirty and Django Unchained, including the accusation that Connecticut Congressmen did not vote against the Thirteenth Amendment in 1865 as shown in Spielberg’s Lincoln, the authors asked if all of the “facts” represented in these movies must be true? Another criticism of Lincoln has been the emphasis on “elite politics rather than popular action, thus denying the agency of African-Americans in their own emancipation.” This is part of a larger debate about who owns history. For its part, Lincoln isn’t just about how President Lincoln navigated the passage of the Thirteenth Amendment; it is also about President Obama, whose presidency could not be imagined without that amendment. The movie can also be seen as a critique of Mr. Obama’s inability to force the opposition to work with him. The authors point out that Lincoln has been pressed yet again into “metaphoric service.” During the Great Depression, the Lincoln biographer Carl Sandburg wrote about parallels between Lincoln and Franklin Delano Roosevelt and films like Young Mr. Lincoln demonstrated continuities between two fraught eras. Then, too, movie truth was a hot topic when Raymond Massey was cast in the title role of the 1940 film, Abe Lincoln in Illinois. A Daily News editorial asked, “A Canadian playing Abraham Lincoln?” But no one protested that Daniel Day-Lewis is Anglo-Irish. As Steven Spielberg said, directors bring art to history. “It is unfair to blame filmmakers if we sometimes confuse the real world with its representations.” “It’s journalists and politicians who owe us the truth.”
Daniel Day-Lewis won his third Best Actor Oscar for portraying Abraham Lincoln in the Spielberg movie following Best Actor awards from the Screen Actors Guild and Golden Globes.
On February 26, the Abraham Lincoln Library and Museum at Lincoln Memorial University hosted a presentation examining Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln. Michael Toomey, Charles Hubbard, Earl Hess, and Steven Wilson commented on the motion picture and historical fact.
There was much hand-wringing following the Academy Awards on February 24 when Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln garnered only two Oscars. Melena Ryzik wrote, in “Oscar-winning Lessons in History and Hard Sell” for the February 28 New York Times, that Spielberg “looked stricken when he lost the best director award to Ang Lee.” Many are speculating on why Lincoln lost with “a venerated director; a celebrated, erudite scriptwriter in the Pulitzer Prize-winning Tony Kushner; the landmark role for Mr. Day-Lewis; good reviews and even better box office; and, not least, millions to spend on campaigning.” Reasons given: executives at DreamWorks and Disney over-campaigned; voters were being given “a forced-fed” history lesson; dimly lit movie; too much “speechifying”; did not play well on DVD screens; Spielberg was “primed for a takedown—envy being as motivating a force as greed in this industry”; and voters were taken with Mr. Affleck’s (Argo) comeback story. Despite huge ticket sales, the hurt for Spielberg was palpable as “all politics is local” and there was plenty of it during this Oscar season.
Brown University screened Lincoln, followed by a Q&A with Michael Vorenberg, whose book Final Freedom was consulted by Tony Kushner, the film’s screenwriter, on March 1.
Disney Editions has produced Lincoln: A Cinematic Historical Companion to the Steven Spielberg Film as a book with many photographs from the film and the Civil War era.
William D. Pederson served as the guest columnist for the March 6 Times of Shreveport. He pointed out that the Spielberg movie made it clear that Lincoln was always against slavery and that the Emancipation Proclamation was only a step towards ending it.
The Trial: The Assassination of President Lincoln and the Trial of the Conspirators, edited by Edward Steers, Jr., has been published in paper by the University Press of Kentucky.
David O. Stewart, whose novel The John Wilkes Booth Conspiracy, The Lincoln Deception will be published in September 2013, wrote “The Strange Saga of Lincoln Assassination Co-conspirator John Surratt” for the March 5 History News Network blog.
Works in Progress
Walter Stahr, author of the well-received Seward: Lincoln’s Indispensable Man, is at work on a biography of Lincoln’s Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton.
Thomas Mackie, Director of the Abraham Lincoln Library and Museum and a Ph.D. student at Western Michigan, is in the process of writing his dissertation titled “A Shrine for President Lincoln: An Analysis of 100 years of Lincoln Interpretation in Public History, 1909-2009.” A portion of his work has been used in a presentation titled “Log Walls to Marble Halls” on the creation of Lincoln-based historic preservation projects and museums.
Joan Waugh, author of U.S. Grant: American Hero, American Myth, is at work on a book about the surrender of Robert E. Lee’s army.
Richard Wightman Fox is writing about Lincoln’s Body.
Harvard University Press will publish Gregory Downs’s book about Reconstruction as Occupation and the End of Wars.
Adam Goodheart, whose 1861 was so well received, is writing a book about 1865.
Elizabeth Varon is doing a book about Appomattox.
Michael Vorenberg will be on sabbatical 2013-14 to finish his book Appomattox Myth: The Struggle to Find an End of War.
Roger Brogie, Jr., a Walt Disney audio-animatronics pioneer, who helped create Great Moments With Mr. Lincoln, died on December 11, 2012 at age 73.
My thanks to Thom Bassett, Roger Billings, 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, Ralph S. McCrea, William K. Miller, Tracey Minkin, 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 email@example.com.
The Lincoln Herald of The Abraham Lincoln Library and Museum at Lincoln Memorial University has given permission for publication of Lincolniana on the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Foundation web site. I am most appreciative.