FRANK J. WILLIAMS
The Spoken Word and Group Activities
On October 15, 2015, Jason H. Silverman participated in a Lincoln’s Cottage Conversation, “Lincoln and the Immigrant” at President Lincoln’s Cottage, Soldiers Home National Historic Monument. On February 12, he presented “Thieves, Greasers, and Mongrels: The Great Emancipator Encounters the Immigrant” at the Abraham Lincoln Association Symposium in Springfield. Silverman presented the same paper to the International Bank of Commerce, Texas A & M International University, Laredo, on March 16. He also discussed his book, Abraham Lincoln and the Immigrant, at the Lincoln Group of the District of Columbia on May 17.
In January, Thomas Trimborn gave several presentations in Kirksville, MO entitled “Music Lincoln Loved” at Truman State University, the Kirksville (MO) Arts Association, and the Ann Haynes Chapter of the D.A.R., using period Civil War artifacts – musical instruments, sheet music, programs, photographs, artwork, and video and audio recordings. He also created and recently released several art prints of John McClarey’s sculpture, “A Greater Task,” which stands outside the front entrance to the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum. Prints are available at Old Capitol Goods in Springfield, IL, #2 S. Old State Capitol Plaza, Springfield, IL 62701, phone: (217) 525-1825.
On February 12, Bonnie E. Paull and Richard E. Hart discussed “Lincoln’s Springfield Neighborhood” as part of the George L. Painter Looking for Lincoln Lectures at the Lincoln Home National Historic Site, Springfield. Other events included Antonio Neal’s video, “Things will Get Better,” Kevin Ford’s “The Illinois Freedom Project” about the interconnected story of slavery to freedom in Illinois, and Bryon Andreasen’s discussion of “Looking for Lincoln in Illinois: Lincoln and Mormon Country.”
On February 12, the Abraham Lincoln Association hosted the Benjamin Thomas Symposium with Louise Stevenson and Jason Silverman discussing Lincoln, Immigrants and the Atlantic World.
Clay Stuckey delivered “The Trials and Tribulations of the Corpse of Abraham Lincoln” at the Allen County Public Library, Fort Wayne, on April 10.
Dale Jirik presented “Abraham Lincoln’s Supreme Court” on May 3 to members of the Lincoln Club of Topeka.
Chief Justice (ret.) Randall Shepard of Indiana presented the Fifth Annual Ian Rolland Lecture, “What Indiana Civic Life Likely Taught Young Mr. Lincoln,” on May 18 for the Friends of the Lincoln Collection of Indiana, Allen County Library, Fort Wayne.
Hillsdale College’s Hillsdale Hostel hosted Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War, July 17-20. Mickey Craig and David Raney, both professors at Hillsdale College, were the instructors.
On July 29, Jack Curtis discussed “The Civil War Monuments of Augustus Saint-Gaudens” at the Massachusetts Historical Society. On July 30 the Historical Society held a Civil War Seminar.
Daniel Farber will present the R. Gerald McMurtry Lecture at the Duncan School of Law of Lincoln Memorial University, (Knoxville, TN) on October 28.
“The Transatlantic Roots of Irish American Anti-Abolitionism, 1843-1859” by Ian Delahanty appeared in the June 2016 Journal of the Civil War Era.
“Liberty and Byron, Lovers of Liberty” by David J. Harkness appeared in the Lincoln Herald (Fall 2015).
“Kennedy Blossoms in Japan” by Joan Newcomb, appeared in American Philatelic News (April/June 2016). Although Abraham Lincoln’s image has never appeared on a Japanese postage stamp, the United States Postal Service and Japan Post issued a pane of 12 Forever stamps and two stamps on a Japan Post sheet with similar designs showing the Lincoln Memorial. The issue commemorates the centennial of the William Howard Taft administration’s gift of 60 saplings to Japan in reciprocation for the cherry blossom trees on the Tidal Basin.
“Lincoln and Philanthropy” by Mitesh Shah, appeared in the February 20 issue of the Gujarat Samachar (India) newspaper. Dhanraj Pandit’s “Lincoln’s Birthday,” appeared in the same paper on March 1, and Sadhu Prem Vatsal Desai Kumkum’s “Lincoln on Success,” on April 9, perhaps in anticipation of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the White House and the Capitol. The February 20 story is accompanied by a large illustration of Lincoln sitting on a park bench and the other two articles featured photos of Lincoln’s face.
William D. Pederson’s (International Lincoln Center) “Mary Todd Lincoln,” was included in Katherine A. Sibley’s, ed., A Companion to First Ladies (Wiley Blackwell). The article places Mary Todd’s legacy in an international context.
The Abraham Lincoln Society of Bangladesh sponsored a program on April 15 in Dhaka observing the 151st assassination and legacy of the Great Emancipator, emphasizing his reforms and humanitarian contributions. The program was organized in cooperation with the U.S. Bangladesh and Friends of America.
The LSU Shreveport International Lincoln Center conducted its 33rd annual May 9-26 Washington, D.C. “mini-semester.” Highlights of the trip included hearing Ronald C. White, Jr. and Ken Kebow discussing “Lincoln’s Greatest Speech: The Second Inaugural Address” at the National Archives on May 9. Jason H. Silverman delivered the annual May lecture to the Lincoln Group of Washington, D.C. on “Lincoln and Immigration” at the Sarah Barton Museum on May 17; Sidney Blumenthal discussed the first of his four-volume biography of Lincoln, A Self-Made Man (Simon & Schuster) at the Soldier’s Home on May 19; and, John Eiliff discussed Lincoln’s assassination on May 22 on the stage at Ford’s Theatre.
Tom Chaffin, Giant’s Causeway: Frederick Douglass’s Irish Odyssey and the Making of an American Visionary, rev. by Simon Lewis, Journal of Southern History (May 2016); rev. by Patricia J. Ferreira, Journal of the Civil War Era (June 2016).
Enrico Dal Lago, The Age of Lincoln and Cavour: Comparative Perspectives on Nineteenth-Century American and Italian Nation-Building, rev. by Antonio Denno, Journal of American History (March 2016).
Don H. Doyle, The Cause of All Nations: An International History of the American Civil War, rev. by Michael Vorenberg, The Journal of Southern History (May 2016); rev. by Hugh Dubrulle, Journal of the Civil War Era (March 2016).
David T. Geeson and Simon Lewis, eds., The Civil War as Global Conflict: Transnational Meanings of the American Civil War, rev. by Marc-William Palen, Journal of the Civil War Era (March 2016).
Richard M. Reid, African Canadians in Union Blue: Volunteering for the Cause of Civil War, rev. by Roger D. Cunningham, Army History (Spring 2016).
Louise L. Stevenson, Lincoln in the Atlantic World, rev. by Allen C. Guelzo, Civil War News (April 2016).
Todd W. Wahlstrom, The Southern Exodus to Mexico: Migration Across the Borderlands After the American Civil War, rev. by John Mason Hart, Journal of American History (March 2016); rev. by William C. Davis, Journal of the Civil War Era (June 2016).
Arts & Entertainment
“A Man of his Time” is among four short plays performed May 19-21 at the Actors Studio, New York City. The one-act play by Kate Taney Billingsley, a great-great-grandniece of Chief Justice Roger B. Taney, author of the infamous Dred Scott decision, brings together Lynne M. Jackson, a great-great-granddaughter of Scott, and Charles Taney, a great-great-grandnephew of Taney in a meeting on stage to discuss the decision and its relevance today.
University Press of Kentucky has published Lincoln Before Lincoln: Early Cinematic Adaptations of the Life of America’s Greatest President by Brian J. Snee.
Harold Holzer wrote the opinion column for the May 26 Concord (NH) Monitor, “My Turn: In words and art, Lincoln finds immortality in New Hampshire” about the recasting of Standing Lincoln created by sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens in 1885. It will be unveiled in Cornish on June 26.
“Picturing the Past” which appeared in the November 14, 2015 State Journal-Register featured a photograph of the dedication of sculptor Abbott Pattison’s eight-foot tall, black brass and bronze statue of the 16th president dedicated outside of Springfield’s new library in November 1976. The sculptor said, “I’m not going to suggest that everyone is going to be ‘wowed’ about my sculpture.” It is intended to be “…sympathetic to the lines and shapes of the building.”
Pam Brown, as Mary Todd Lincoln, played the title character in Theatre in the Park’s production of Mrs. Lincoln Fights Back on April 15-17, 2016 at Lincoln’s New Salem State Historic Site. It is the story of Mrs. Lincoln’s insanity trial.
The University of Illinois – Springfield unveiled its first Lincoln statue on May 10. Sculptor George Luneen created the life-size statue – a six-foot, four-inch, polished bronze entitled The Young Lawyer.
A new exhibit opened April 15 at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, “Unfinished Work.” The exhibit, which ran to May 15, featured documents and artifacts from the Barry and Louise Taper Collection acquired by the Museum in 2007 for $25 million. The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation has raised almost $14 million in its Permanent Home Campaign to pay off the debt from the purchase, with about $11 million remaining to be raised. The exhibit includes about 70 “select, particularly special items” from the 1,500-item Taper Collection. These include an 1833 promissory note in which Lincoln vowed to pay $379.82 – Lincoln’s “national debt” – his patent for a new method for a buoying riverboats stuck in low water, the “X” signature of his step-mother, Sarah Bush Lincoln, a bill for legal fees Lincoln sent to a widow with several charges crossed out, ink bottles from his law office, an ornate copy of the Emancipation Proclamation, and a ticket to Lincoln’s funeral at the White House on April 19, 1865.
The Lincoln Heritage Museum on the Lincoln College, Lincoln, IL, campus explored Lincoln’s pathway to becoming president. “Nation’s Choice,” will run through December 1, 2016. The exhibit explores Lincoln’s pathway to becoming president including the brilliant choice to hold the Republican National Convention in Chicago, the emergence of the railsplitter campaign, and the support of the para-military group, the “Wide Awakes.”
Awards and Prizes
The Lincoln Group of New York presented its annual Award of Achievement on April 12 to Ford’s Theatre for Ford’s 150: Remembering the Lincoln Assassination.
Catherine Clinton, author of Mrs. Lincoln, has been named a Guggenheim Fellow.
The Honorable Ray LaHood, former Illinois Congressman and U.S. Secretary of Transportation as well as a co-chair of the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission was presented with the Order of Lincoln by the Lincoln Academy of Illinois on May 7.
Thomas Kernan won the 2015 Hay-Nicolay Prize for his dissertation, “Sounding ‘The Mystic Cords of Memory’: Musical Memorials for Abraham Lincoln.”
Bernice King received The Spirit of Lincoln Award of the Abraham Lincoln Association on February 12.
Robert Lenz, former President of the Abraham Lincoln Association, received the Logan Hay Medal from the Association on February 12.
James M. McPherson was presented with the 60th Annual Fletcher Pratt Literary Award for best non-fiction Civil War book by the Civil War Round Table of New York on May 11.
Music history professor Thomas Kernan of Roosevelt University, Chicago, was honored with an award for his work cataloging all of the music ever written about Abraham Lincoln. He is hoping to create a searchable online database of his work by April 2017. He has logged more than 1,000 pieces of music. Kernan was quoted in the February 21 State Journal-Register (Springfield, IL) on the meaning of Lincoln today: “We get the sense that in 21st-Century America, we’re are less inclined to really engage each other to work out our feared view of Lincoln. We all want to take part in those pieces…. Perhaps decades from now, we’ll see more of a narrative, but I feel the way we have discussions today is a lot about asserting our own views.”
Presidential historian Doris Kearns Goodwin received the Lincoln Leadership Prize from the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation in Chicago on May 13. The prize is an annual award that recognizes outstanding individuals for a lifetime of service in the spirit of Lincoln – people who “manifest great strength of character, individual conscience and unwavering commitment to the defining principles of democracy.” Past honorees include director Steven Spielberg, former President Bill Clinton, journalist Tim Russert, astronaut James Lovell, Jr., Archbishop Desmond TuTu and Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor.
Alexandra Owens asked five questions of historian Harold Holzer for Sotheby’s at Large on May 9. These queries about whether Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln depicted reality and Lincoln’s true views on civil liberties accompanied items about to be auctioned including a rare manuscript copy of the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution signed and endorsed by Abraham Lincoln with an estimate between $2,000,000 and $3,000,000 as well as the “authorized edition” of the Emancipation Proclamation signed by President Abraham Lincoln with an estimate of $1,500,000-2,000,000.
A long-lost Lincoln law book has come back to Springfield, IL, from Montana. The Lincoln-Herndon Law Office in Springfield held more than 120 law and statute books during the 17-year partnership of Abraham Lincoln and William H. Herndon. Included was a three-volume set of Simon Greenleaf’s A Treatise on the Law of Evidence (Little, Brown, 1846). Volume 1 is still in the possession of the State of Illinois. But Volume 2 was only just returned to the State of Illinois by the Montana Historical Society. The book, like all others in the law library of the firm, is signed, Lincoln & Herndon. The whereabouts of Volume 3 are unknown.
President Lincoln’s Cottage, which opened in 2008 under the auspices of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, has a new form of governance. Beginning January 1, 2016, the Cottage has a “co-stewardship” operation as President Lincoln’s Cottage at the Soldiers’ Home in Washington. The Cottage sits on the grounds of the Armed Forces Retirement Home, where Lincoln spent more than a quarter of his presidency. It is believed he drafted the preliminary Emancipation Proclamation during his first summer in residence at the Cottage.
The United States Senate has passed a resolution officially designating the Ulysses S. Grant Association and Presidential Library at Mississippi State University, Starkville, as the lead organization for the celebration of the bicentennial of Grant’s birth.
Amy Rogers Nazarov wrote about the Mary Surratt family tavern and hotel, now celebrating the 40th anniversary of the opening of Surratt House as a historic house museum, in the April 21 Washington Post. The museum, located in Clinton, MD – formerly Surrattsville – changed its name after Surratt was charged, convicted, and hanged for participating in the conspiracy to assassinate Abraham Lincoln.
“Collecting Civil War Postal Stamps” by Jeff Hayward appeared in the June Civil War News. John C. Maloney, Jr., wrote “Abraham Lincoln, Emancipation and the Corwin Amendment” for the same issue.
A new DVD documentary about the history of Abraham Lincoln’s tomb at Oak Ridge Cemetery, “Now He Belongs to the Ages:” The Lincoln Tomb is the first high-definition look at Lincoln’s final resting place. At $25, proceeds will support the Lincoln Monument Association. To order, go to Lincoln-Tomb.org/store.
An itemized list of expenses thought to be from the 1882 funeral of Mary Todd Lincoln in Springfield has resurfaced following the merger of two of the city’s oldest funeral homes. The list of funeral home expenses came to $278.85.
Books and Pamphlets
Thomas L. Carson is the author of Lincoln’s Ethics (Cambridge University Press).
Lyons Press has published Father Lincoln: The Untold Story of Abraham Lincoln and his Boys – Robert, Eddy, Willie, and Tad by Alan Manning.
Edward Steers, Jr., with design by Kieran McAuliffe, have authored Lincoln Slept Here: Lincoln Family Sites in America – The Early Ancestors 1637-1808 (Amazon), which is the first of seven parts.
Historical Bulletin No. 69, Fire, Fraud, and Reporters: And Other Ways Lincoln Manuscripts have been Lost, by James M. Cornelius, has been published by The Lincoln Fellowship of Wisconsin (P.O. Box 1863, Janesville, WI 53540).
Edwards Steers, Jr. includes 13 articles relating to the Civil War, Lincoln’s assassination, and all other aspects of his life in Essays in History (no publication, but available from Amazon).
David Bromwich’s Moral Imagination: Essays contains three essays relating to Abraham Lincoln.
Ken Gormley edited The Presidents and the Constitution: A Living History (New York University Press) including entries for Abraham Lincoln by William D. Pederson; Ulysses S. Grant by John F. Marszalek; Andrew Johnson by Michael Les Benedict; James Buchanan by Thomas A. Horrocks; Franklin Pierce by Paul Finkelman; and, James K. Polk by Frank J. Williams.
Frank J. Williams and Michael Burkhimer edited The Lincoln Assassination Riddle: Revisiting the Crime of the 19th Century (Kent State University Press) with entries by: Michael J. Kline (“The Baltimore Plot: Was John Wilkes Booth Involved in the First Conspiracy to Assassinate Lincoln?”); Edward Steers, Jr. (“John Wilkes Booth’s Confederate Connection”); Michael W. Kauffman (“Guilty by Insinuation: Law and Elusion in the Lincoln Conspiracy”); Blaine V. Houmes (“The Wound of Mr. Lincoln”); Steven G. Miller (“The Men who Caught Lincoln’s Assassin: How Twenty-Nine Men Succeeded Where 10,000 Searches Failed”); Laurie Verge (“The Mystery of Mrs. Surratt: Did She or Didn’t She?”); Joan L. Chaconas (“John Harrison Surratt, Jr.”); Betty J. Ownsbey (“Lewis Powell: Alias Paine – Confederate Guerilla, Freedom Fighter or Terrorist?”); Steven J. Wright (“The Weichman Enigma”); Richard W. Etulain (“Mary Lincoln and the Lincoln Assassination: Grief Unbounded”); Michael S. Green (“Robert Todd Lincoln: The Grieving Prince of Rails”); Hugh Boyle (“Shattered and Altered Lives of the Lincoln Assassination”); Michael Burkhimer (“Abraham Lincoln: Voting Rights Martyr?”), Burrus M. Carnahan (“The Law of War, General Orders No. 100, and the Military Trial of the Conspirators”); and, Thomas R. Turner (“What Goes Around Comes Around: Americans Interpret the Lincoln Assassination”).
Sidney Blumenthal is the author of The Political Life of Abraham Lincoln: A Self-Made Man 1809-1849 (Simon & Schuster), the first of a four-volume biography of Lincoln. The subsequent volumes will come out annually over the next three years.
Herndon’s Lincoln: William H. Herndon and Jesse W. Weik, edited by Douglas L. Wilson and Rodney O. Davis, has been published in paperback by the University of Illinois Press.
The celebrated centennial, the National Park Service published a brochure, What is History?, with quotations from those the NPS honors, including Abraham Lincoln who, “looked to a larger purpose and goal when he gave his famous speech in 1863 on the battlefield in Gettysburg.”
Ira Berlin is the author of The Long Emancipation: The Demise of Slavery in the United States (Harvard).
Battle Lines: A Graphic History of the Civil War by Jonathan Fetter-Vorm and Ari Kelman has been published by Hill and Wang.
Picturing Frederick Douglass: An Illustrated Biography of the Nineteenth Century’s Most Photographed American by John Stauffer, Zoe Trodd, and Celeste-Marie Bernier, with an Epilogue by Henry Louis Gates, Jr., and an Afterword by Kenneth B. Morris, Jr., has been published by Liveright.
Stephen Towne is the author of Surveillance and Spies in the Civil War: Exposing Confederate Conspiracies in American’s Heartland (Ohio University Press).
Charles H. Traub is the author if No Perfect Heroes: Photographing Grant (Interlocutor Press).
Edwina S. Campbell is the author of Citizen of a Wider Commonwealth: Ulysses S. Grant’s Presidential Diplomacy, part of the series, The World of Ulysses S. Grant, published by Southern Illinois University Press.
Gregory P. Downs is the author of After Appomattox: Military Occupation and the Ends of War (Harvard University Press).
A Legal History of the Civil War and Reconstruction: A Nation of Rights by Laura F. Edwards has been published by Cambridge University Press.
Paul Kahan is the author of Amiable Scoundrel: Simon Cameron, Lincoln’s Scandalous Secretary of War (Potomac Books).
“‘Thieves, Greasers, and Mongrels’: The Great Emancipator Encounters the Immigrant,” by Jason H. Silverman, appeared in the October 2016 Civil War Times.
Sara Gabbard, editor of Lincoln Lore, the bulletin of The Allen County Public Library and The Friends of the Lincoln Collection of Indiana, interviewed William Bartelt (author of There I Grew Up: Remembering Abraham Lincoln’s Indiana Youth), Harold Holzer (about his book A Just and Generous Nation: Abraham Lincoln and the Fight for American Opportunity), and Frank J. Williams (“On the Sesquicentennial of the Year 1866”) for the Spring issue. Edna Greene Medford wrote “When Freedom Came: Emancipation and the Question of Timing” and Arlisha Norwood wrote “‘A Father in My Affliction:’ African American Women and Their Wartime Letters to President Lincoln” for the same issue.
“The Confederacy’s Commander-in-Chief,” with previously unpublished portraits from the John O’Brien Collection, which picture Jefferson and Varina Howell Davis with commentary by William C. “Jack” Davis and Joan E. Cashin, appeared in the Spring (MI) Military Images.
The Fall 2015 Lincoln Herald included “Major Jonathan Ladd, Paymaster: Story in Time” by Paul Mellen and “Lincoln and Byron Lovers of Liberty” by David J. Harkness. Michael Lynch and Natalie Sweet are now doing “Publication/Playback Review,” replacing Michael Burkhimer. The issue included: Michael W. Panborst’s The Memorial Art and Architecture of Vicksburg National Military Park, rev. by Martha E. Wiley, National Park Service; James B. Conroy’s Our One Common Country: Abraham Lincoln and the Hampton Roads Peace Conference of 1865, rev. by Thomas Mackie, Abraham Lincoln Library and Museum; and, E. Lawrence Abel’s A Finger in Lincoln’s Brain: What Modern Science Reveals about Lincoln, His Assassination, and Its Aftermath, rev. by Blaine V. Houmes.
Jason H. Silverman wrote “Abraham Lincoln’s ‘Forgotten’ Act to Encourage Immigration” for the Spring For the People: A Newsletter of the Abraham Lincoln Association.
The May Journal of Southern History included its annual “Southern History in Periodicals, 2015: A Selected Bibliography.”
“Abraham Lincoln: Marvel of Faith” by C. Walker Gollar appeared in the May St. Anthony Messenger.
Gary W. Gallagher’s “Revisiting the Gettysburg Address: Abraham Lincoln’s ‘Half Dozen Lines of Consecration’ got little attention in 1863” appeared in the August Civil War Times, as did Jason H. Silverman’s “A Different World: Abe Lincoln’s Hardscrabble Upbringing taught him to Value Immigration.”
The May/June Evansville Living included Kristen K. Tucker’s “The Lincoln Mallet” which Spencer County, IN, artifact is now in the Indiana State Museum, Indianapolis.
Frederick Hatch’s Volume 30 (2016) of the Journal of the Lincoln Assassination is now available (Autograph Press, P.O. Box 2616, Waldorf, MD 20604). This issue includes the publisher/author’s “Attempted Assassination of Edwin Booth, The Sharpe Report” about Americans abroad who may have been involved in Lincoln’s assassination and “The Later History of Ford’s Theatre.”
Terry Alford, Fortune’s Fool – The Life of John Wilkes Booth, rev. by Frederick Hatch, Journal of the Lincoln Assassination (Vol. XXX, 2016).
Sidney Blumenthal, A Self-Made Man: The Political Life of Abraham Lincoln, 1809-1849, rev. by Steven Hahn, New York Times Book Review (May 15, 2016); rev. by Lily Rothman, Time Magazine (May 2016); rev. by Louis P. Masur, Civil War Times (August 2016); rev. by Jamie Stiehm, The National Memo (May 10, 2016), rev. by Allen Guelzo, Washington Monthly (June/July/August 2016).
James B. Conroy, Our One Common Country: Abraham Lincoln and the Hampton Roads Peace Conference of 1865, rev. by Thomas Mackie, The Lincoln Herald (Fall 2015).
William C. Davis, Crucible of Command: Ulysses S. Grant and Robert E. Lee – The War They Fought, The Peace They Forged, rev. by Patrick S. Brady, Civil War History (June 2016).
Gregory P. Downs, After Appomattox: Military Occupation and the Ends of War, rev. by Elizabeth R. Baron, Journal of Southern History (May 2016).
Laura F. Edwards, A Legal History of the Civil War and Reconstruction: A Nation of Rights, rev. by Julie Novkov, The Journal of Southern History (May 2016).
Stephen Engle, editor, The War Worth Fighting: Abraham Lincoln’s Presidency in Civil War America, rev. by Stephen Maizlish, The Journal of Southern History (May 2016).
John C. Fazio, Decapitating the Union, rev. by Frederick Hatch, Journal of the Lincoln Assassination (Vol. XXX, 2016).
Allen G. Guelzo, Redeeming the Great Emancipator, rev. by Frank J. Williams, Civil War News (April 2016).
Martha Hodes, Mourning Lincoln, rev. by Elizabeth D. Leonard, The Journal of the Civil War Era, (March 2016); rev. by Antoinette van Zelm, The Journal of Southern History (May 2016).
Harold Holzer, Emancipating Lincoln: The Proclamation in Text, Context, and Memory, rev. by James M. McPherson, The New York Review of Books (November 22, 2012).
Harold Holzer and Thomas A. Horrocks, editors, The Annotated Lincoln, rev. by Sean A. Scott, Civil War News (June 2016).
Charles M. Hubbard, editor, Lincoln, The Law, And Presidential Leadership, rev. by Jay Jorgensen, Civil War News (June 2016).
Thomas C. Mackey, editor, A Documentary History of the American Civil War Era: Judicial Decisions, 1857-1866, rev. by Linda Przybyszewski, The Journal of Southern History (May 2016).
William Marvel, Lincoln’s Autocrat: The Life of Edwin Stanton, rev. by Jonathan W. White, The Journal of Civil War Era (June 2016).
Louis P. Masur, Lincoln’s Hundred Days: The Emancipation Proclamation and the War for the Union, rev. by James M. McPherson, The New York Review of Books (November 22, 2012).
Michael W. Panhorst, The Memorial Art and Architecture of Vicksburg National Military Park, rev. by Martha W. Wiley, The Lincoln Herald (Fall 2015).
Richard Slotkin, The Long Road to Antietam: How the Civil War Became a Revolution, rev. by James M. McPherson, The New York Review of Books (November 22, 2012).
David Von Drehle, Rise to Greatness: Abraham Lincoln and America’s Most Perilous Year, rev. by James M. McPherson, The New York Review of Books (November 22, 2012).
Dr. Wayne C. Temple, one of the leading Lincoln historians, retired from the Illinois State Archives after 51 years of service on February 1, 2016. He has worked at the Archives since 1965 and was its longtime Chief Deputy Director.
Lincoln and Political Culture
Harold Holzer presented “‘Honest Abe’ wasn’t above raucous debates, savvy politics” for CNN’s “Race for the White House” on March 10. Holzer pointed out that the 1858 Lincoln-Douglas debates were short on substance but long on “sound bites.” Abraham Lincoln ran an aggressive, though unseen, presidential campaign, too, secretly purchasing a newspaper to help his bid. In the end, he and political rival Stephen A. Douglas made peace for the sake of the country. Despite their rivalry, sometimes bitter,
“When Lincoln stood outside the U.S. Capitol on March 4, 1861, to deliver his Inaugural Address, he removed his already famous stovepipe hat and looked helplessly for a place to set it down while he spoke.
From behind him came a hand and an offer. Sen. Stephen A. Douglas, whom Lincoln had defeated for the presidency, volunteered to hold his lifelong rival’s topper while the new President took the oath of office.”
It was a gesture that helped unite the North to face the crisis yet to come.
Will someone hold the new president’s hat on January 20, 2017 – symbolically, of course? Time will tell.”
Philip Gourevitch wrote “Abraham Lincoln warned us about Donald Trump” for the March 15 New Yorker. Taking Lincoln’s Lyceum address, delivered in Springfield, IL, in 1836, as a reference point, Gourevitch discusses how Donald Trump is the threat that Lincoln warned us about in his speech – one “…whose singular ambition and genius for power so ‘thirsts and burns for distinction’ that he will pursue it at any cost. It should be foolish, he warned, not to expect such a person to arise. And when that happens,” Lincoln said there is only one solution, “it will require the people to be united with each other, attached to the government and laws, and generally intelligent, to successfully frustrate his designs.”
Donald J. Trump was the object of Peter Wehner’s New York Times op-ed on March 19, citing Abraham Lincoln – then a 28-year-old state legislator in 1838 – warning in a speech that a “mobocratic spirit” and “wild and furious passions” posed a threat to republican institutions. He also alerted people to the danger of individuals such as “an Alexander, a Caesar or a Napoleon?” who, in their search for glory and power, posed a threat to American self-government. It is Donald Trump that this author had in mind. The antidote to this threat, according to Lincoln, was to cultivate a “political religion” that emphasized “reverence for the laws.” Passion was the enemy, he warned, and it had to be contained, “reason – cold, calculating, unimpassioned reason – must furnish all the materials for our future support and defense.”
Cartoonist Schorr’s cartoon “Great Moments in Republican Oratory” appeared in the March 15 Westerly Sun. Pictured are: President Lincoln orating, “With Malice Toward None, With Charity Toward All!”; Theodore Roosevelt, “Speak Softly and Carry a Big Stick”; and presidential candidate Donald Trump with an incomprehensible “@*#F***!!3@#!!!”
Hyung-Jin Kim of the Associated Press wrote in April about how North Korea’s Kim Jong Un used Abraham Lincoln to issue his latest threats of nuclear attack and racist diatribes about President. North Korea’s state media constructed an imaginary letter from Lincoln that attacks Obama’s “deception” over Pyongyang’s pursuit of nuclear weapons. “Advice from Lincoln to Obama” criticizes Obama, who won the Nobel Peace Prize by questioning why the United States has not taken the initiative to scale back its nuclear arsenal first, even though it asks countries such as North Korea to scrap their atomic programs. While criticizing Obama, North Korea does not portray Abraham Lincoln as a good leader, “The tactic by past American presidents, including me, who deceived the people… is outdated. That doesn’t work now. The world doesn’t trust an America that doesn’t take responsibility for what it says.”
Kathryn Harris has assumed the presidency of the Abraham Lincoln Association.
With the approaching election in November, Harold Holzer, author of the highly regarded Lincoln at Cooper Union (2004), writes about “The Republicans in N.Y. in 1860: Remembering Abraham Lincoln at Cooper Union” for the April 18 New York Daily News. Holzer cites Abraham Lincoln’s uplifting words, “right makes might” – his peroration for the Cooper Union Address in February 1860 as the antithesis of current political jargon “We will build a wall” or “I hate New York values.” Lincoln, not yet the Republican Party’s nominee, was a moderate from the West. Gangly and dressed in a new, but rumpled, suit, wowed the anti New York Senator William H. Seward crowd. Seward was the leading party contender. As Holzer points out in this piece and in his book, Lincoln presented in an hour and a half a deeply thoughtful speech based on his belief, with the evidence at hand, that the Founding Fathers believed that the government, not those in the territories – as Democrats insisted – should decide on the issue of slavery. The final closing statement, “Neither let us be slandered from our duty by false accusations against us, nor frightened from it by menaces of destruction to the Government nor of dungeons to ourselves. Let us have faith that right makes might, and in that faith, let us, to the end, dare to do our duty as we understand it.” At the Chicago Convention in May, Lincoln won the nomination on the third ballot.
David Brooks’s April 5 New York Times column, “How Covenants Make Us” discusses our lack of community because of global migration, economic globalization, and the internet. While liberating the individual, Brooks argues that they have been “…bad for national cohesion and the social fabric.” Such weakening has led to alienation of young men who are joining terrorist groups such as ISIS. Again, David Brooks refers to Abraham Lincoln, who in another era of “national fragmentation” rejuvenated the country. “He played upon the mystic chords of memory and used the Declaration of Independence as a unifying scripture and guide.”
The U.S. Treasury announced on April 20 that seven women and one man would be added to American currency. These include Harriet Tubman, Marian Anderson, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Lincoln’s portrait will remain on the front of the $5 bill, and the Lincoln Memorial will remain on the back. The backdrop, commemorating Anderson’s historic 1939 performance at the Memorial, will share space with Eleanor Roosevelt, who arranged the African-American classical singer’s Lincoln Memorial performance. Dr. Martin King delivered his “I have a dream” speech from the Memorial’s steps in 1963. The final designs will be unveiled in 2020, the centennial of the 19th Amendment establishing women’s suffrage.
Peter Wehner, a veteran of three Republican administrations, does not support Donald Trump for president. But in “Friendship in the Age of Trump” which he wrote for the New York Times on April 23, he discusses understanding and tolerance with friends who do support Mr. Trump’s candidacy. “I need to try doubly hard to resist the temptation to assume the worst of his supporters even as my worries about him mount. Absent compelling evidence to the contrary, I need to grant to them the same good faith I hope others would grant to me.” Wehner closes with Abraham Lincoln’s First Inaugural Address when the President-elect told his fellow citizens that “We are not enemies but friends, though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection.” Wehner also cites “To ‘bind up the nation’s wounds’” as “an almost superhuman ideal, but it needed to be stated.” The author justly believes that he carried Lincoln’s “grace and largeness of spirit” today.
Talmage Boston wrote “Ten Commandments for America’s Next Commander-in-Chief” for the May 13 Dallas Morning News. His Tenth Commandment, “Thou shalt stay abreast of public sentiment and find ways to shape it,” is attributed to Abraham Lincoln who said, “Public sentiment is everything.” Boston attributes this emphasis to Lincoln’s relationship with newspapermen. “Wherever he traveled, he met with publishers and learned the talk of their town. Once he knew what people were thinking, he acted to shape their thoughts in new directions by writing editorials; giving speeches; strategically leaking information to newspapers; and sending letters to editors that he circulated throughout the country. Using these devices, he nudged public sentiment toward his own position.”
On April 14, Stacy Conradt wrote “The Couple Who Sat with Lincoln on the Night of His Assassination” [Clara Harris and Major Henry Rathbone] for Mental Floss.
Anthony Pitch, author of “They Have Killed Papa Dead!,” spoke at Ford’s Theatre on April 14.
Works in Progress
Oxford University Press will publish a second volume of selected essays from Disunion, the periodic articles that appeared in The New York Times during the Civil War Sesquicentennial. Clay Rise will be one of the editors.
Noah Andre Trudeau’s forthcoming Lincoln’s Greatest Journey: Sixteen Days that Changed the Presidency, March 24-April 8, 1965 will be published by Savas Beatie.
Ronald C. White, Jr.’s long awaited American Ulysses: A Life of Ulysses S. Grant will be published in October by Random House.
James Conroy’s Lincoln’s White House will be published in November by Rowman & Littlefield.
James Giblin, a children’s book author, who wrote about John Wilkes Booth and his brother Edwin Booth in Good Brother: Bad Brother – The Story of Edwin Booth and John Wilkes Booth (2005) died on April 10.
Earl W. “Wally” Henderson, Jr., architect, preservationist and community activist from Springfield, IL, died on April 18. He, along with business partner Donald Ferry, was responsible for preserving the Old State Capitol in Springfield, where Lincoln served as a member of the House of Representatives, appeared before the Supreme Court, and used its law library. The plan was to remove the Old State Capitol, which had morphed into a circuit court and related offices by taking the building apart piece by piece with a rep-assembly to follow. Henderson served on the Board of Directors of the Abraham Lincoln Association and worked behind the scenes to persuade the U.S. Mint to change plans for the design of the 2009 commemorative penny so it would include depiction of the Old State Capitol in back of a gesturing Abraham Lincoln.
Daniel Aaron, who wrote The Unwritten War: American Writers and the Civil War, published in 1973 and a finalist of the National Book Award, died on April 30 at the age of 103. In his book, he faulted 19th and 20th-century authors for failing to produce a fictional epic commensurate with the enormity of the war, and for refusing to acknowledge “the centrality of racial fear (not slavery itself, but black slavery) as the root of the conflict.” He was also a co-founder of the nonprofit Library of America which has published 9.5 million copies of 279 lower priced novels, memoirs, narrative histories, forgotten masterpiece and other classics.
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