FRANK J. WILLIAMS
The Spoken Word and Group Activities
The George L. Painter Looking for Lincoln lectures of the Lincoln Home National Historic Site, on February 12, featured Douglas King (“Springfield, Illinois African American History Foundation”), Wayne C. Temple (“Lincoln and Pittsfield”), Guy C. Fraker (“Bloomington’s Lincoln”), and the staff of The Lincoln Log Cabin State Historic Site discussing “Lincoln and Charleston.”
Philip W. Stichter presented a lecture on the relationship of Columbus, Ohio, and Abraham Lincoln’s publication of the Lincoln-Douglas Debates on March 22 at the State Library of Ohio, Columbus.
David W. Blight, Ken Burns, and Adam Goodheart discussed the start of the war, “Disunion: The Civil War,” as part of TimesTalks on April 4 at the Times Center, New York City.
Diane Collin presented “Mary Todd Lincoln” at the April 7 meeting of the Lincoln Club of Topeka.
Al Gaff discussed the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Fort Sumter at the Allen County Public Library, Fort Wayne, IN, on April 10.
Harold Holzer discussed “President Abraham Lincoln and the Beginning of the Civil War” at the Washington Foreign Press Center on April 11.
War in the Mountains was presented by the Abraham Lincoln Library and Museum of Lincoln Memorial University on April 16, with Brian McKnight presenting “Civil War Borderlands, Guerilla Warfare, and the Culture of Paranoia,” Earl J. Hess with “Lincoln’s Black Loyalists: African-Americans in East Tennessee during the Civil War,” and Thomas C. Mackie presenting “The Dogmas of the Quiet Past: Kentucky as Keystone of the West, 1860-1865.”
Ronald C. White, Jr. presented “Abraham Lincoln 2011: Wisdom for Today” at the Jonathan Club, Los Angeles, on February 22. He also spoke at the Trinity Presbyterian Church, Berwyn, PA, on March 6, the Lincoln Group of Wisconsin on April 16, the Lincoln Group of the District of Columbia on May 14, and the National Cathedral’s Morning Forum in Washington on May 15.
Lincoln interpreter Steve Holgate did a benefit presentation of “A Town Hall With Abraham Lincoln” for the Safe Passage to Motherhood at the Aceh Conference Center, Portland, OR, on April 16.
A sesquicentennial celebration was held by the Association of Lincoln Presenters and the 113th U.S. Army Band in Greenville, TN on April 16. Harold Holzer was guest lecturer.
Arthur T. Downey, Esq. discussed his book, Civil War Lawyers: Constitutional Questions, Courtroom Dramas and the Men Behind Them, at St. Vincent College on April 28.
Anthony S. Pitch spoke about his book, They Have Killed Papa Dead!, at Ford’s Theatre on the eve of the 146th anniversary of Lincoln’s assassination and again on May 11. He was also interviewed by Czech TV in front of Ford’s Theatre on April 14.
On April 28, Don White hosted a discussion on “Lincoln Calls on Grant” for The Civil War Round Table (Chicago).
Harold Holzer presented “Abraham Lincoln: A Lifetime Learner” as the Commencement Address at Culver-Stockton College, Quincy, IL, on May 21.
David S. Reynolds presented the 2011 James Russell Wiggins Lecture at the American Antiquarian Society on May 24 – “Igniting the War: Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Antislavery Politics, and the Rise of Lincoln.”
Robert Dick Douglas III, great-great-grandson of Senator Stephen A. Douglas, presented the keynote address at the annual meeting of the Stephen A. Douglas Association on June 4.
Harold Holzer helps to decode “What Did Abraham Lincoln’s Voice Sound Like?” for the June 9 www.smithsonianmag.com.
The Gettysburg Festival was held June 10-19 and included “The Presidents of Mount Rushmore” with Jim Getty portraying Abraham Lincoln, Jim Foote presenting Theodore Roosevelt, Bill Barker as Thomas Jefferson and Dean Malissa as George Washington.
President Lincoln (George Buss) and Senator Stephen A. Douglas (Tim Connors) revisited the site of their second “Joint Discussion” on June 11 at Freeport’s Debate Square. On July 23, President Lincoln (George Buss) and General George B. McClellan (James E. Finch) explored the stormy relationship between the two at Debate Square.
Nora Titone presented “The Bitter Rivalry Between Edwin and John Wilkes Booth” at the October 14 meeting of the Civil War Round Table (Chicago).
Amanda Foreman, author of the highly-acclaimed book, A World On Fire: Britain’s Crucial Role in the American Civil War, discussed how she was able to plot and treat some 400 far-flung characters who lived in Europe, the Union, North, the Confederate South, and Canada for the July 2 Wall Street Journal. To gain control, she treated each of the characters as a musical instrument within a musical score. She “could then develop the broad themes of the book across the entire ‘orchestra.’” Her book has attracted widespread attention. It was reviewed by Randall M. Miller in the June 1 issue of the Library Journal; by Michael Burlingame in the June 25 issue of the Wall Street Journal; by Geoffrey Wheatcroft as the lead review in the July 3 New York Times Book Review; by Christopher Dickey in the July 4 Newsweek; and by James M. McPherson in the July 14 New York Review of Books.
Abraham Lincoln Abroad — the International Lincoln Association Newsletter – included “Strange Bedfellows: Among Politicians and Artists From Cuba to Chile” by Ronald J. Byrd and Donna S. Byrd, “The Cynical Brit Decodes ‘Honest Abe’” by Helen Clare Taylor, and “Brazil and the United States Confront Colonization: A Different Paradigm” by Frank J. Williams.
Brent E. Kinsler has authored The American Civil War in the Shaping of British Democracy, Ashgate Publishing.
Vermont’s socialist senator, Bernard Sanders, has used his influence to force the Smithsonian to only sell souvenirs that are made in the United States, perhaps forgetting that the institution grew out of a gift from abroad. The story was reported in Ed O’Keefe’s “A Souvenir Shift at the Smithsonian,” Washington Post, on April 17. A photo by Bill O’Leary which accompanied the story showed a vanguard of miniature busts – made in China. Jacqueline Trescott’s “Smithsonian’s US-made Gifts Meet Sanders’s Standard” on June 9 in the Washington Post, reported that the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History now has “the first major museum to have a gift shop with the made in America focus.”
Richard Carwardine, President of Corpus Christi College at the University of Oxford, wrote “The Surprising Global Reach of Lincoln” for the May 7-8 Wall Street Journal. In discussing Abraham Lincoln as the Great Emancipator and his “heroic statesmanship,” Carwardine notes how Lincoln has been invoked by activists and idealists of every stripe on every continent including Karl Marx, Giusseppe Garibaldi, David Lloyd George, Willie Brandt, Sun Yat-sen, and Kwane Nkrumah. The author expects “new chapters” of the “global Lincoln” in the future as long as American presidents like George W. Bush and Barack Obama also use Abraham Lincoln as a symbol.
Ferenc Morton Szasz, Abraham Lincoln and Robert Burns: Connected Lives and Legends, rev. by Frank J. Williams, The Lincoln Herald (Spring 2011).
David McCullough’s “Forged in the Civil War, Bronzed in Paris,” appeared in the May 14 issue of the Wall Street Journal, based on his new book The Greater Journey: American in Paris. The article dealt with Irish-American Augustus Saint-Gauden’s work in Paris for the United States.
A number of new Lincoln stamps from abroad have been released: Dominca, Grenada, Nevis, St. Vincent, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. Papua, New Guinea is the first to issue stamps of Lincoln and the 150th anniversary of the Civil War.
The International Lincoln Center at LSU Shreveport and the Centre for Contemporary Theory in Vadodara, India will hold a conference on the Role of Lawyer-Statesmen and Constitutional Democracy on December 22 in Jaipur, India.
The Center has also announced Frank J. Williams as its 8th Annual Constitution Day lecturer on September 12. A second part of the program will be held on September 20 with the appearance of John Douglas Hall from Virginia portraying James Madison. Professor Ronald J. Byrd will deliver the 17th Annual Frank and Virginia Williams’ Abraham Lincoln Lecture on October 17.
The 1993 documentary Black Easter: The Assassination of Abraham Lincoln has been reissued as a director’s cut DVD and can be purchased through eBay.
The opening shots of the Civil War resumed on April 12 – not with the firing on Fort Sumter, but with the issuance of two new stamps commemorating the first year of the Civil War. The stamps were issued in Charleston, SC, showing the bombardment of Fort Sumter and the first battle of Bull Run.
Robin Progrebin discussed the $65 million renovation of the New-York Historical Society in the April 12 New York Times. Scheduled to open in November, the Society will position life-sized bronze sculptures outside the building with Abraham Lincoln on Central Park West and Frederick Douglass on West 77th Street. There will also be a giant head of Lincoln inside the 77th Street entrance, part of Daniel Chester French’s study for the Lincoln Memorial, and the great hall will feature a permanent exhibition on the effects of 9/11.
Jamie Malanowski discussed the film The Conspirator, directed by Robert Redford, which opened on April 15, the anniversary of President Lincoln’s death, in “Investing in a Conspiracy of a Past Century” for the April 10 New York Times.
Smithsonian Folkways Recordings has produced A Treasury of Civil War Songs sung by Tom Glazer and Civil War Naval Songs Plus: Period Ballads From the Union and Confederate Navies, and the Homefront.
Ford’s Theatre announced a five-year project to mount one play each season around themes of tolerance, equality, and other social issues. The Lincoln Legacy Project is a new initiative beginning with the true story of Leo Frank, a Jewish factory manager, who after being accused of murdering a 13-year-old girl was lynched by a mob. There are several partners for the Legacy Project, including the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Foundation, the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, the Jewish Historical Society of Greater Washington and the D.C. Jewish Community Center.
In 1994, an Abraham Lincoln painting by 19th century artist John Denison Crocker was ripped from the wooden frame in Norwich, CT. The Sachem Fund, created to support arts and economic development, asked local artists to recreate the painting, and will provide an $8,000 prize to the winning portrait. Sixty-two artists provided Lincoln portraits for display in the Norwich Arts Center.
Not surprisingly, Seth Grahame-Smith’s book, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, will be made into a movie for release by 20th Century Fox in June 2012. Lincoln is portrayed as a slayer of the undead – another example of Hollywood creating movies with startling historical revisions, to say the least! Michael Cieply wrote about it in “The Great Emancipator, Vampires on His Mind” for the May 10 New York Times.
The Lincoln Project’s “Lincoln’s Legacy-Volume 2: Lincoln and Emancipation: A President’s Struggle to Save the Union and Free the Slaves,” has been produced on DVD as a cog film.
The Appalachian Regional Commission in Morgantown, WV, has produced a 13-state travel guide to help tourists find 150 lesser-known destinations. The Homefront was published as an insert in the spring issue of American Heritage.
The Washington Post reported on May 15 that the Presidents Park in Williamsburg, VA, closed its gates on September 30, 2010. The owner, Everett H. Newman, III, indicated that the economy had made it difficult to keep up the financing on the 10-acre, $10 million park. The park contained 43 presidential heads, each about 18 feet tall and weighing about 6 tons. Created by David Adickes, a Houston artist, it was inspired after driving past Mt. Rushmore.
James M. Lundberg wrote in The Slate on June 7, “Thanks a Lot, Ken Burns – Because of You, My Civil War Lecture is Always Packed – With Students Raised on Your Sentimental, Romantic, Deeply Misleading Portrait of the Conflict.”
Filming is expected to begin in Fall 2011 in Richmond and Petersburg, VA, for Steven Spielberg’s movie about Abraham Lincoln that is based on the 2005 book Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin. It will star Daniel Day-Lewis as Lincoln and Sally Field as Mary Lincoln. Tony Kushner has written the screen-play, the Associated Press reported on May 9.
Berva Frank has sculpted a 3’ 2” edition of Prairie Lawyer from the 17” wood sculpture by John R. Frank – her father-in-law. The funds for casting and installation of this half-size sculpture are being provided by The People’s Tribute to Lincoln. The sculpture will be presented to The Lincoln Home National Historic Site in Springfield.
Sculptor Ramon “J” Castro is creating the Captain Abraham Lincoln Burial Detail Sculpture depicting Captain Lincoln during the Black Hawk War. The sculpture is to be placed in Kent, IL, known as Kellogg’s Grove during the war.
The 1974-76 miniTV-series, Sandburg’s Lincoln, starring Hal Holbrook, is now available on DVD from Amazon.com.
In March, Russia and the United States opened an exhibit honoring Czar Alexander II and President Abraham Lincoln. James Symington, a former congressman who heads the American-Russian Cultural Cooperation Foundation, which co-sponsored the exhibit, said that, “This is a chance to bring to life a marvelous relationship.” The exhibit was designed to coincide with the 150th anniversary of Alexander II’s emancipation of serfs and features 200 items, including the two leaders’ clothing and writing tools. Additional funding came from the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Foundation.
“Forever Free” – Abraham Lincoln’s Journey to Emancipation was hosted by the State Library of Ohio from March 7 to April 15.
The David Davis Mansion Foundation and the Heritage Association of McLean County (formerly the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission of McLean County) hosted an exhibition featuring Abraham Lincoln’s experience on the Eighth Judicial Circuit, Prologue to Presidency: Abraham Lincoln on the Illinois Eighth Judicial Circuit, which opened on April 29 at the David Davis Mansion Historic Site, Bloomington, IL.
William T. Trego, Victorian and Civil War painter and illustrator, is featured in So Bravely and So Well: The Life and Art of William T. Trego, which opened on June 4 at the James A. Michener Art Museum, Doylestown, PA.
The Library of Congress is hosting The Last Full Measure, Civil War Photographs From the Liljenquist Family Collection from April 12 through August 13. The entire May-June issue of Military Images featured photographs from the Liljenquist Collection. Michael E. Ruane reviewed the exhibit in the April 5 Washington Post.
The Maryland Historical Society has opened the state’s most comprehensive Civil War exhibit, Divided Voices: Maryland in the Civil War. It will run for four years. Located in the society’s museum in Baltimore, the exhibit will occupy more than 5,000 square feet.
Mark Yost reviewed Images of U.S. Grant from the Galena-Joe Daviess County Historical Society and Museum in Galena, IL for the April 27 Wall Street Journal. Marking the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, the first of a four-year running exhibit is subtitled “Soldier,” to be followed by units on “Family,” “Presidency,” and “Death.” Most of the items on display come from the private collection of Bill Margson.
Discovering the Civil War – an exhibition of holdings from the National Archives, is on display at the Henry Ford Museum.
The Smithsonian American Art Museum organized the 2012 exhibition, The Civil War and American Art, as part of the Civil War sesquicentennial commemoration. The exhibit will be on view at the museum’s main building in Washington from November 16, 2012 through April 28, 2013, when it will travel to The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City – the only other venue for the exhibition.
The George Eastman House, Rochester, NY, through June 12, hosted three small Civil War exhibitions. The curators have culled material from this institution’s treasured film and photo archives. The exhibits include Reel Histories: The Civil War In Motion Pictures, Still Here: Contemporary Artists and the Civil War (photographs chosen by Curator Alison Nordstrom) and Between the States, containing items illuminating the gulf in cultures between the 1860s and today.
The Concord Museum in Concord, MA, is sponsoring When Duty Whispers: Concord in the Civil War through September 18.
Civil War Sesquicentennial
The Almanac of the American Antiquarian Society for March featured a sidebar on the story of the Society’s Civil War collection. Its onetime librarian (1838-1881), Samuel Foster Haven, whose son died at Fredericksburg, had the presence of mind to realize the implications of “this extraordinary and fearful revolt” and the need to collect for the Society.
Sovia Smardz wrote “Unforgettable,” about the battle at Ball’s Bluff that brought about the death of Abraham Lincoln’s close friend, Senator Edward Baker, in the April 3 Washington Post Travel.
Alan Johnson of the Columbus Dispatch reported, on April 7, that Doris Kearns Goodwin kicked off Ohio’s commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War on April 6 at the Ohio State House.
Katherine Lackey indicated how the Civil War “Commemoration Goes on Without Federal Funding” for the April 11, USA Today, as there is no national Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission.
Mick Anderson discussed, “To teach about the Civil War, schools employ many tactics” for the April 11 Washington Post.
Timothy W. Martin and Cameron McWhirter wrote “Reliving First Shots of Civil War” for the April 11 Wall Street Journal and discussed the firing on Fort Sumter and the efforts to capture Fort Pickens near Pensacola, Florida.
Harold Holzer’s top five “Civil War Diaries, Blue and Gray” appeared in the April 16-17 Wall Street Journal: Mary Chesnut’s Civil War, edited by C. Vann Woodward; The Diary of George Templeton Strong, 1835-1875, edited by Allan Nevins and Milton Halsey Thomas; Diary of Gideon Welles, edited by Howard K. Beale; A Rebel War Clerk’s Diary at the Confederate States Capital by John B. Jones; and My Diary North and South by William Howard Russell.
Elizabeth Samet wrote “From Shiloh to Kandahar” for the April 22 Wall Street Journal. To her and many, Ulysses S. Grant’s memoirs offer as “clear-eyed, unromantic and unflinching an account of the [Civil] War as there is.” The author often visits his tomb on Riverside Drive in New York. To her, “Grant reminds us what wars do to those lucky enough to survive them: ‘at this rate’ the 25-year-old wrote to his then-fiance Julia Dent after a year and a half in Mexico ‘I will soon be old.’”
USA Today in April 2011 published a special edition, Civil War: 150 Years Later the Conflict Still Reverberates, with articles relating to descendants of Harriet Tubman, “Stonewall” Jackson, Ulysses S. Grant, Frederick Douglass, and Jefferson Davis, as well as observations from Ken Burns, producer of the acclaimed PBS documentary on the Civil War.
The Boston Public Library, from May 12 to December 31, 2011, is hosting Torn in Two: The 150th Anniversary of the Civil War, featuring gems from the library’s outstanding Norman B. Leventhal Map Center. From May 20 to September 30, Photo by Brady: The Civil War through the Lens of Mathew Brady was exhibited. Winslow Homer’s Illustrations was exhibited from May 16 to September 30 and Home Front: Boston and the Civil War was on exhibit June 11 to December 31.
Mary Chesnut’s Diary has been published in a boxed set, including a collection of photographs of those mentioned in the diary, by Pelican Publishing Company.
USA Today listed the most-visited Civil War battlefields in 2010. Led by Kennesaw Mountain, GA with 1,512,191, Gettysburg, PA followed with 1,031,554; Chickamauga and Chattanooga, GA with 991,901, Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania, VA at 899,936 and finally, Manassas, VA with 612,490.
Awards and Prizes
Eric Foner was the winner of this year’s Bancroft Prize, in addition to the Lincoln Prize, for his The Fiery Trial: Abraham Lincoln and American Slavery. He also won a Pulitzer Prize for this book. The Pulitzer Jury cited it for “bringing unforeseeable twists and a fresh sense of improbability to a familiar story.”
Dr. Wayne C. Temple has been elected a Regent Emeritus of the Lincoln Academy of Illinois.
The Civil War Round Table of New York presented its first “James I. Robertson Young Readers’ Award” to Harold Holzer for his Father Abraham: Lincoln and His Sons on May 11.
Currier & Ives’ first baseball-theme print, The National Game, Three “Outs” and One “Run,” featuring Abraham Lincoln and his political opponents during the election of 1860, sold at Swann Auction Galleries on March 31 for $10,800, a record for an uncolored Currier & Ives print.
Swann’s auction of autographs on April 21 featured a signed “A. Lincoln” as President, carte-de-visite portrait by Alexander Gardner. Estimated at between $40,000 and $60,000, it did not sell.
Christie’s auction of Printed Manuscript Americana on May 19 featured Lincoln documents. An autographed letter signed “A. Lincoln” as a member of Congress on April 18, 1847, discussing the “painful and pleasant war news” sold for $15,000.
Rhodes College, Memphis, TN, has purchased the 2,350-volume book collection, personal papers, diaries, handwritten book drafts and maps, along with the memorabilia of Civil War historian Shelby Foote who was a resident of Memphis and who died in 2005.
Robert Kyle wrote “Lincoln Pardon: Family Heirloom or Federal Record?” for the March 7 Antique Week. The Office of Inspector General, a branch of the National Archives asked Mears Auctions to withdraw a lot containing two Lincoln items, including a handwritten note signed by Lincoln granting the pardon of Sergeant Major Adam Laws of the U.S. Colored Troops.
Norm Boas has produced his Seaport Autographs, Catalog 121, with much material relating to Abraham Lincoln and his contemporaries (www.seaportautographs.com).
The March 14 State Journal-Register (Springfield, IL) published the yearly attendance at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum: 311,837 in 2010, down from 410,825 in 2009.
The first 2011 issue of Lincoln Editor reviewed what the project staff members have done this year along with descriptions of five new Lincoln documents. There is also an article about how the director of the U.S. Census under President Lincoln offered to protect the President.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Department of Photographs, recently acquired the photographs of Moira Davey who began collecting pennies she found in the streets of New York in the early 1990s and then photographed Lincoln’s “severely nicked, scarred and oxidized profile creating close-up portraits … which challenged the ideas of history, value and legacy.” Copperheads is an artist’s book which documents the most well known, although possibly least noticed, portrait in the United States – Abraham Lincoln’s visage on the American penny which was introduced by the U.S. Mint in 1909.
The Raab Collection Catalog 67 featured an autographed letter by Abraham Lincoln’s last law partner, William H. Herndon, discussing Lincoln’s religion. It is for sale for the sum of $35,000. This newly resurfaced letter raises once again questions about the 16th president’s relationship with God. Herndon claims that Lincoln was driven not by faith, but by politics.
The Abraham Lincoln Book Shop Catalog 168, Americana, is now available.
The Union League of Philadelphia, after several years of planning and renovation, opened its new Civil War Heritage Center, containing more than 15,000 volumes and thousands of historic documents and artifacts.
The Brown University Library has published Celebrating the John Hay Library at 1910-2010 and a new edition of Special Collections of the Brown University Library: A History and Guide.
Lionel Trains is producing an Abraham Lincoln Funeral Train set as part of its Heritage Series. It features the 4-4-0 “Nashville” locomotive, the “United States” funeral car, as well as an “Officers Car.”
The Caxton Club in Chicago has published Other People’s Books: Association Copies and the Stories They Tell which includes Thomas A. Horrocks’s “The Travels of Abraham Lincoln’s copy of The Poetical Works of Alexander Pope.”
The Papers of Abraham Lincoln has completed its search for documents at the National Archives in College Park, Maryland. Initially expected to take three years to complete, it actually took five years of research to discover more documents than expected.
Books and Pamphlets
Edward L. Ayers’ 49th Annual Fortenbaugh Memorial Lecture delivered at Gettysburg College on November 19, 2010, “Loyalty in America’s Civil War” has been published by the Civil War Institute at Gettysburg College.
Southern Illinois University Press has published Abraham Lincoln and Horace Greeley by Gregory A. Borchard, Lincoln and the Civil War by Michael Burlingame, Lincoln and the Election of 1860 by Michael S. Green, and Abraham and Mary Lincoln by Kenneth J. Winkle – all as part of the press’s Concise Lincoln Library edited by Richard W. Etulain, Sara Vaughn Gabbard, and Sylvia Frank Rodrigue.
Richard Campanella is the author of Lincoln and New Orleans: The 1828-1831 Flatboat Voyages and Their Place in History (University of Louisiana Press, Lafayette, LA).
Jason Emerson is the author of Giant in the Shadows: The Life of Robert T. Lincoln, published by Southern Illinois University Press.
The Union War by Gary W. Gallagher has been published by Harvard University Press.
Michael S. Green’s Politics and America in Crisis: The Coming of the Civil War included a chapter on the Lincoln-Douglas Debates, “Great Debates and Greater Debates.”
The Town Abraham Lincoln Warned: The Living Namesake Heritage of Lincoln, Illinois was authored by D. Leigh Henson (P.O. Box 31277 GSS, Springfield, MO 65808).
The Living Lincoln, edited by Thomas A. Horrocks, Harold Holzer and Frank J. Williams, has been published by Southern Illinois University Press.
Donna D. McCreary has authored a second edition for her Lincoln’s Table: A President’s Culinary Journey from Cabin to Cosmopolitan (Lincoln Presentations, www.marylincoln.com).
The University Press of Mississippi has published Charles R. McKirdy’s Lincoln Apostate: The Matson Slave Case.
Oxford University Press has published Civil War Titles (www.oup.com/us/civilwar).
Martin A. Sweeney is the author of Lincoln’s Gift From Homer, New York: A Painter, An Editor and a Detective (McFarland).
Richard Taylor’s sonnets on the life of Abraham Lincoln have been published as the Rail Splitter (Larkspur Press, Monterey, KY).
The late Hans L. Trefousse’s “First Among Equals”: Abraham Lincoln’s Reputation During His Administration has been republished in paper by Fordham University Press and Grand Central Publishing has produced the paperback edition of Seth Graham-Smith’s Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.
A new model of 1863 downtown Gettysburg is on display at the David Wills House, Gettysburg National Military Park.
Harold Holzer is the author of a new children’s book, Father Abraham: Lincoln and His Sons (Calkins Creek).
Civil War Sesquicentennial and Related Books
William A. Barney’s The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Civil War has been published by the Oxford University Press.
Gerald Dancer has assembled Illinois: A History in Pictures for the University of Illinois Press.
DK Publishing has published The Civil War: A Visual History with photographs from the Smithsonian’s vast collection.
Amanda Foreman’s A World On Fire: Britain’s Crucial Role in the American Civil War has been published by Random House.
John H. Garvey, T. Alexander Aleinkoff and Daniel A. Farber are the editors of Modern Constitutional Theory: A Reader–5th Edition (Thomson/West).
America Aflame: How the Civil War Created a Nation by David Goldfield has been published by Bloomsbury Press.
Adam Goodheart’s 1861: The Civil War Awakening has been published by Knopf.
Harold Holzer has edited selected articles from the classic Battles and Leaders of the Civil War, Hearts Touched by Fire for Random House. Introductions have been provided by Holzer, James M. McPherson, James Robertson, Stephen Sears, Craig Symonds and Joan Waugh. The book is also available in a 42-disc CD audio book.
The Siege of Washington by John Lockwood and Charles Lockwood has been published by the Oxford University Press.
Diann Marsh is the author of Galena, Illinois: A Brief History (www.historypress.net). Ulysses S. Grant worked and lived for a time in Galena, IL.
Da Capo Press has published Genius of Place: The Life of Frederick Law Olmsted by Justin Martin.
Oxford University Press has published The Civil War: A Concise History by Louis P. Masur; John and Charles Lockwood’s The Siege of Washington: The Untold Story of the Twelve Days that Shook the Union; and Randall Fuller’s From Battlefields Rising: How the Civil War Transformed American Literature.
The National Archives has published its Civil War exhibit items in Discovering the Civil War (Giles).
William Seale’s second edition of the two-volume The President’s House: A History has been published by the Johns Hopkins University Press.
A Concise Historical Atlas of the U.S. Civil War by Aaron Sheehan-Dean has been published by the Oxford University Press.
Emery M. Thomas’s The Dogs of War: 1861 has been published by the Oxford University Press.
Joan Waugh and Gary W. Gallagher have edited Wars Within a War: Controversy and Conflict Over the American Civil War (UNC Press), with contributions by William Blair, Stephen Cushman, Drew Gilpin Faust, Gary W. Gallagher, J. Matthew Gallman, Joseph T. Glatthaar, Harold Holzer, James Marten, Stephanie McCurry, James M. McPherson, Carol Reardon, and Joan Waugh.
The 2011 Lincolnator published by the Louisiana Lincoln Group featured “The Evolution of Lincoln’s God” by James Bolin, Jr.
“An Illinois Lincoln Site Rediscovered: The Ezekial Boyden House in Urbana” by Stewart H. Berlocher was included in the Autumn 2010 Journal of Illinois History.
The Winter Lincoln Herald, in addition to the serial “Lincolniana” by Frank J. Williams, and “Publication/Playback Review” by Michael Burkhimer, included James Siberell’s “Thomas Lincoln’s 1805 ‘Commission’ in Hardin County, Kentucky,” and “‘…and thus our excellent system is firmly established…’: Lincoln and the Settlement of the West” by Patricia Ann Owens.
Jamie Malanowski wrote “The First Trick-Lincoln’s Inauguration and President Buchanan” for the New York Times blog – “Disunion” (Opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/03/06) on March 14.
Volume 1, No. 1 (March 2011) of The Journal of the Civil War Era contained editor William Blair’s welcome, “Seeing Emancipation: Scale and Freedom in the American South” by Edward L. Ayers and Scott Nesbit, “Imagining Slavery: Representations of the Peculiar Institution on the Northern Stage, 1776-1860” by Melinda Lawson, and “Forty Shirts and a Wagonload of Wheat: Women, the Domestic Supply Line, and the Civil War on the Western Border” by Leeann Whites. Douglas R. Egerton wrote a review essay, “Rethinking Atlantic Historiography in a Post-Colonial Era: The Civil War in a Global Perspective.”
The second issue of The Journal of the Civil War Era (June 2011) included “‘We Are Men!’: Frederick Douglass and the Fault Lines of Gendered Citizenship” by A. Kristen Foster; “‘No Place for the Sick’: Nature’s War on Civil War Soldier Mental and Physical Health in the 1862 Peninsula and Shenandoah Valley Campaigns” by Kathryn S. Meier; “‘Her Claim for Pension is Lawful and Just’: Representing Black Union Widows in Late-Nineteenth Century North Carolina” by Brandi C. Brimmer; and the Review Essay, “Partisans, New History, and Modernization: The Historiography of the Civil War’s Causes, 1861-2011,” by Frank Towers.
Adam Goodheart has written “Civil War Fair in the Streets” for the Spring American Scholar.
Frank Williams was interviewed in the Spring Lincoln Lore, which also included images of “Abraham Lincoln: Hoosier Youth, 1816-1830” and a timeline of the Civil War in 1861.
The April ABAJOURNAL featured Lincoln, law and the Civil War with “An Inescapable Conflict” by Harold Holzer, “Lincoln and Davis: A Friendship that Made History” by Arthur T. Downey, “Secession: How the South Nearly Won” by Roger D. Billings, Jr., “Lincoln’s War Powers: Part Constitution, Part Trust” by Frank J. Williams, “The Dawn of a Republican Court: Lincoln’s Justices” by R.P. Owen Williams, “The End of War and Slavery Yields a New Racial Order” by Paul Finkelman, and “The Conspirators: Tried by Military Commission” by Fred L. Borch, III.
Fergus M. Bordewich wrote about the firing on Fort Sumter in “Opening Salvo” for the April Smithsonian.
“Refighting the Battle of Gettysburg” by Thomas Donnelly appeared in the April 2-3 Wall Street Journal.
Fritz Hahn wrote “Marching Through Washington” for the April 8 Washington Post.
“On the Firing Line With Yankees and Rebels” was in the April 9-10 Wall Street Journal.
The April 10 Parade discussed the Civil War through the examination of Robert Redford and the impact on his movie The Conspirator and Jon Meecham addressing the real lessons of our bloodiest struggle.
The Travel section of the April 10 Chicago Tribune, “The Civil War(s),” featured Mississippi and the Battle of Vicksburg and the Freedom Riders exhibit at the Mississippi Museum of Art in Jackson.
The April 10-16 American Profile featured “Fort Sumter: Where the Civil War Began.”
The Washington Post, Civil War 150 issued its second insert on April 12, “Onset of War.”
Randal Berry, a student of the Lincoln assassination for over 30 years, wrote “A sordid anniversary” for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette on April 28. As guest writer, he discusses Lincoln’s assassination on April 14, 1865 and the attempted assassination of Secretary of State William H. Seward. “The tragedy is rife with conspiracies, Confederate operatives, and clandestine activities.” To Berry, Booth “was cunning and self-absorbed.” Briefly discussed is the 52-day trial of the eight persons thought to be conspirators in the assassination that resulted in the hanging of half of them including Mary Surratt who, President Andrew Johnson considered, as having “kept the nest that hatched the egg” in her boarding house.
The Journal of Southern History has published “Southern History in Periodicals, 2010: A Selected Bibliography” in its May issue, which also includes Matthew J. Mancini’s “Francis Lieber, Slavery, and the ‘Genesis’ of the Laws of War.”
Ed Bradley in the April-June Lincoln Editor (the quarterly newsletter of The Papers of Abraham Lincoln) wrote “President Lincoln Offers to Hold a Captain’s Horse” where Thomas G. Pitcher refused twice to accept a presidential appointment to the staff of General John A. McClernand.
The May-June Preservation: The Magazine of the National Trust for Historic Preservation included Eric Wills’s “The Forgotten: The Contraband of America and the Road to Freedom.”
The Spring Lincoln Herald included John Wickre’s “Abraham Lincoln and William Shakespeare,” and Brian Steenbergen’s “The Illinois Central Railroad Issues in the 1858 Lincoln-Douglas Senatorial Campaign.” “Lincolniana” by Frank J. Williams and “Publications/Playback Review” by Michael Burkhimer were also in this issue.
The Spring-Summer Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society, “Civil War Sesquicentennial Issue,” included a foreword by historian Edwin C. Bearss; guest editor Robert Girardi’s “Illinois and the Memory of the Civil War,” and articles by Roger E Bohn (“Richard Yates: An Appraisal of His Value as the Civil War Governor of Illinois”); David Graham (“A Fight for Principle: The 24th Illinois Volunteer Infantry Regiment”); David C. Hinze (“Double Honor: The Story of John and William Black and the Medal of Honor”); Bjorn Skaptason (“The Chicago Light Artillery at Shiloh”); Bruce S. Allardice (“‘Illinois is Rotten with Traitors!’: The Republican Defeat in the 1862 State Election”); Ryan P. Semmes (“From Pea Ridge to the Potomac: Lemon G. Hine and the 44th Illinois Regiment, 1861-1862”); and Kurt A. Carlson (“Backing the Boys: Chicago Business”).
Raymond J. McKoski wrote “Reestablishing Actual Impartiality as the Fundamental Value of Judicial Ethics: Lessons from ‘Big Judge Davis’” for the Kentucky Law Journal (Volume 99, No. 2, 2010-2011).
Adam Gopnik discussed Civil War memorials in New York City and how many pass by them without remembering what they memorialize in the May 9 New Yorker.
Cornelius Vanderbilt was the subject of “The Commodore’s Civil War” by T.J. Stiles written for the Spring Vanderbilt Magazine.
“Shaffer, Swett and Lincoln” appeared in the Spring The Stump – publication of the Lincoln-Douglas Society.
Richard Campanella’s “Lincoln and Louisiana” was in the Spring Louisiana Cultural Vistas.
Roger D. Billings, Jr. wrote “Lincoln and the Panics” for the Summer For the People.
Chris Young wrote “What did Lincoln believe?” for the May 21 State Journal-Register (IL).
Drew Gilpin Faust wrote “Telling War Stories: The Civil War and the Meaning of Life” for the June New Republic.
The July Civil War News included “An Insider’s Account of Lincoln’s Address” published in the Battle of Gettysburg by W.C. Storrick (1957), and “‘Dedicatory Address by the President’” that appeared in the November 20, 1863 Boston Daily Evening Transcript. While Edward Everett’s (a Bostonian) speech was on the front page, Lincoln’s was published on the back page.
Carol Berkin, Civil War Wives: The Life and Times of Angelina Grimke Weld, Varina Howell and Julia Dent Grant, rev. by Paula Gidjunis, The Lincoln Herald (Spring 2011).
Roger Billings and Frank J. Williams, editors, Abraham Lincoln, Esq.: The Legal Career of America’s Greatest President, rev. by Ron Keller, Journal of Illinois History (Autumn 2010), rev. by R.B. Bernstein, The Law and Politics Book Review (April 2011).
William A. Blair and Karen Fisher Younger, editors, Lincoln’s Proclamation: Emancipation Reconsidered, rev. by Thomas J. Brown, The Journal of the Civil War Era (March 2011), rev. by Lucas Morel, Civil War History (June 2011).
Steven R. Boyd, Patriotic Envelopes of the Civil War: The Iconography of Union and Confederate Covers, rev. by Michael J. Winey, Civil War News (April 2011).
Alicia Connolly-Lohr, Lawyer Lincoln in Transit to Freedom: An Historical Nonfiction Novel, rev. by Joseph Truglio, Civil War News (April 2011).
Daniel Mark Epstein, Lincoln’s Men, rev. by Michael Wolf, The Dispatch (April 2011).
Richard W. Etulain, editor, Lincoln Looks West: From the Mississippi to the Pacific, rev. by Richard M. McMurry, Civil War News (April 2011).
Eric Foner, editor, Our Lincoln: New Perspectives on Lincoln and His World, rev. by Michael Vorenberg, Civil War History (June 2011).
Amanda Foreman, A World On Fire: Britain’s Crucial Role in the American Civil War, rev. by Geoffrey Wheatcroft, The New York Times Book Review (July 3, 2011); rev. by Christopher Dickey, Newsweek (July 4 and 11, 2011).
Gary W. Gallagher, The Union War, rev. by Eric Foner, New York Times Book Review (May 1, 2011); rev. by Jonathan Yardley, The Washington Post (April 17, 2011).
Ralph Gary, The Presidents Were Here: A State-by-State Historical Guide, rev. by Wayne C. Temple, The Lincoln Herald (Spring 2011).
David Goldfield, America Aflame: How the Civil War Created a Nation, rev. by Andro Del Banco, New York Times Book Review (March 27, 2011).
Adam Goodheart, 1861: The Civil War Awakening, rev. by Debby Applegate, The New York Times Book Review (April 24, 2011), rev. by Ronald C. White, Jr., Los Angeles Times (April 10, 2011), rev. by Stephen Budiansky, The Washington Post (May 29, 2011).
Allen C. Guelzo, Abraham Lincoln as a Man of Ideas, rev. by Thomas F. Schwartz, The Lincoln Herald (Spring 2011).
David Hirsch and Dan Van Haften, Abraham Lincoln and the Structure of Reason, rev. by Allen Guelzo, Civil War News (April 2011).
Harold Holzer, editor, Hearts Touched by Fire: The Best of Battles and Leaders of the Civil War, rev. by Mark Dunkelman, the Providence Sunday Journal (April 10, 2011), rev. by Ronald C. White, Jr., Los Angeles Times (April 10, 2011).
Harold Holzer, editor, Lincoln on War: Our Greatest Commander-in-Chief Speaks to America, rev. by Philip Kopper and Scott Rohrer, American Heritage (Spring 2011), rev. by Edward Bonekemper, Civil War News (July 2011).
Hari Hoogenboom, Gustavus Vasa Fox of the Union Navy: The Biography, rev. by Joseph P. Reidy, The Journal of the Civil War Era (March 2011).
Howard Jones, Blue and Gray Diplomacy: A History of Union and Confederate Foreign Relations, rev. by Duncan Andrew Campbell, The Journal of the Civil War Era (June 2011).
Phillip W. Magness and Sebastian N. Page, Colonization After Emancipation: Lincoln and the Movement for Black Resettlement, rev. by Matthew Barakat, www.herald.review.com (March 4, 2011).
Stephen C. Neff, Justice in Blue and Gray: A Legal History of the Civil War, rev. by Mark Tushnet, The Journal of the Civil War Era (June 2011).
Myra Helmer Pritchard, The Dark Days of Abraham Lincoln’s Widow, as Revealed by Her Own Letters, rev. by Janet Bucklew, Civil War News (2011).
Brooks D. Simpson, Stephen W. Sears and Aaron Sheehan-Dean, editors, The Civil War: The First Year Told By Those Who Lived It, rev. by Ronald C. White, Jr., Los Angeles Times (April 10, 2011).
Richard Mitchell Smoot, Randall Berry, editors, Shall We Gather At the River: The Unwritten History of the Assassination of Abraham Lincoln, rev. by Michael Burkhimer, Lincoln Herald (Spring 2011).
Donald Stoker, The Grand Design: Strategy and the U.S. Civil War, rev. by Earl J. Hess, The Journal of the Civil War Era (June 2011).
James L. Swanson, Bloody Crimes: The Chase for Jefferson Davis and the Death Pageant for Lincoln’s Corpse, rev. by John Foskett, Civil War News (May 2011).
Craig L. Symonds, Lincoln and His Admirals, rev. by Richard Lawrence Miller, The Lincoln Herald (Winter 2010).
John C. Waugh, One Man Great Enough: Abraham Lincoln’s Road to the Civil War, rev. by Hugh Boyle, The Lincoln Herald (Winter 2010).
Wayne Wei-Siang Hsieh, West Pointers and the Civil War: The Old Army in War and Peace, rev. by Michael Burkhimer, The Lincoln Herald (Winter 2010).
Frank J. Williams and William D. Pederson, editors, Lincoln Lessons: Reflections on America’s Greatest Leader, rev. by Wayne C. Temple, The Lincoln Herald (Winter 2010).
David Work, Lincoln’s Political Generals, rev. by Steven J. Ramold, Civil War History (June 2011).
Bob Zeller and John J. Richter, Lincoln in 3-D: Amazing and Rare Stereoscopic Photographs of His Life and Times, rev. by Walt Albro, Civil War News (May 2011).
firstname.lastname@example.org discussed Abraham Lincoln with Harold Holzer on 100interviews.tumblr.com/post.
Sunderine Temple retired on March 31, after forty-one years of volunteer service at the Old State Capitol, Springfield, IL.
Wayne C. Temple was profiled in the Spring 2011 History Illinois.
Civil War historian and author, James I. “Bud” Robertson, Jr., retired from Virginia Tech after 43 years on the faculty. The author or editor of dozens of books about the Civil War including the definitive Stonewall Jackson: The Man, the Soldier, the Legend. President John F. Kennedy named Robertson Executive Director of the Civil War Centennial Commission in 1961.
Thomas Schwartz, who served as Illinois State Historian for the past 18 years, has resigned to become Director of the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum in West Branch, Iowa, replacing Tim Walch who retired in April.
Jean Edward Smith, author of biographies of Ulysses S. Grant, FDR, John Marshall and others, has joined the History Department at Columbia University as a Senior Scholar.
Lincoln in Popular Culture
John Cornelius of Jefferson, TX, wrote “We are less free today because of Lincoln” in the February 19 Shreveport Times. To him, Americans lost their right to choose their own destiny when Abraham Lincoln was elected as he waged war on civilians. “He also dealt a blow to limited, constitutional government from which America has yet to recover.” The author believes that what Lincoln did was expanded by Woodrow Wilson, FDR, LBJ and Obama with Ronald Reagan as the only president in modern day to seek restraint of an expansion of federal government.
Fergus M. Bordewich, in “How America’s Civil War Changed the World” in the April 9-10 Wall Street Journal, asked us to imagine how the last 150 years would have been had Abraham Lincoln not freed the slaves and saved the Union. To Bordewich, the war was, “much more than the clash of soldiers on the green battlefields of yesteryear, and more than the domestic concerns that are still with us. It was not a world war. But the victory of the Union changed the world, for the better.”
Allen C. Guelzo wrote “Should African Americans Care About the Civil War?” for the April 12 the Root (www.theroot.com). With many Confederate re-enactors denying “that their ancestors were fighting to protect slavery,” what is there about the sesquicentennial of the Civil War that African-Americans would celebrate? To Guelzo, those in Confederate uniforms are in error as all should celebrate the 190,000 African-Americans who served in the Union army and navy, adding: “For a brief moment in the cauldron of the Civil War, black and white were forged into the first American rainbow for freedom. It is not a past to be forgotten, much less scorned.”
Guelzo also discussed the firing on Fort Sumter, April 12, 1861, in “Abe’s Ticking Clock” (New York Post, April 12). Lincoln, the newly inaugurated President had to act at once. He could not abandon Fort Sumter and troops there. With Lincoln acting to resupply Fort Sumter and insisting secession was illegal, a four-year war ensued. With the Confederate States of America beaten and slavery abolished, “the integrity of the American Union [was] preserved.” “In the process, Lincoln showed that democracies are not doomed to self-destruction, that ordinary people are capable of governing themselves, and that they can protect their government from inner dissolution without turning into a despotism themselves.” But the price was high – 620,000 dead and the loss of $6 billion in property.
Fred Zilian, a Lincoln interpreter and teacher at Portsmouth Abbey School, Portsmouth, RI, wrote a “Letter from Abe Lincoln to President Obama, April 12, 2011,” for the April 16 Newport (RI) Daily News. Lincoln anticipated the United States becoming the leader of the free world and was surprised at the progress of minorities in the United States, but the 16th president offered the 44th some advice: objection to the size of government, “doubt” about the justice of the increasing number of foreign military conflicts involving the United States, and the lack of frugality as a cause of our current budgetary problems.
James M. McPherson wrote “Why the Civil War Still Matters” for the Spring 2011 American Heritage. To him, we remain fascinated because of the scope of the conflict with battlefields encompassing the entire continental limits of the United States and that the personalities involved like Lincoln, Lee, Grant, Stonewall Jackson, Sherman and Forest, have become mythical. Most important are the momentous issues at stake that cost 620,000 lives.
On April 14, the Pennsylvania Gaming Board voted against a plan that would have added a casino adjacent to an existing hotel and conference center about two miles from the main entrance to the Gettysburg National Military Park. The vote was six to one. Opponents ranged from Ken Burns and James McPherson to the Civil War Trust directed by Jim Lighthizer.
Ross K. Baker’s “Magnificent Imperfection” written for the April 14 USA Today, commemorates Lincoln’s leadership despite his errors and misjudgments. To Baker, Lincoln could have declared war on slavery in his first inaugural address but he did not, he could have been more impatient with General George B. McClellan and fired him earlier than he did, could have prohibited draftees the right to purchase “substitutes” to fight for them and he may have violated the Constitution when he suspended the writ of habeas corpus. Notwithstanding, Lincoln was “…the model of what a president should be: resolute in the defense of his country, a shrewd judge of human nature, and a man who eloquently expressed his country’s noblest ideals.”
When “tax day” conflicts with a Washington holiday, federal law calls for the deadline to be pushed to the next business day. This year, Emancipation Day fell on Saturday, April 16, and was celebrated in the District of Columbia on Friday, April 15, so taxes came due to the Internal Revenue Service on the following Monday, April 18. Emancipation Day was declared a Washington holiday in 2006 and commemorates the date when President Abraham Lincoln signed the District of Columbia Emancipation Act liberating slaves held in the city with compensation to the slave owners.
Clarence Page’s “How we still fight the Civil War” (Chicago Tribune, April 20, 2011) discussed how civil rights leaders and black politicians have called for “commemorations, not celebration” for the sesquicentennial of the Civil War. To him, this makes sense for a war that left 620,000 dead—which is worth remembering, not celebrating. Page also discussed Robert Redford’s movie, The Conspirator. Page states, unconvincingly, that Surratt was denied her constitutional right to a civilian jury trial when she was tried by a military tribunal. That is not true, as the Constitution does permit the President to convene military tribunals during time of war and Washington was still a military city with President Johnson not declaring the end of the war until August 1866—a year after the trial of Mary Surratt and her co-conspirators.
James Breig wrote “Rumors held that Lincoln was at one time a Catholic” for the April 22 Pittsburgh Catholic, despite lack of evidence. A Catholic priest, Reverend St. Cyr alleged that Abraham Lincoln was a Catholic – as were his parents. An 1864 claim, also reported that Lincoln had become a Catholic in 1852, when he was 43. The baptism was performed by a priest named Father Raho. Researchers consider these mere allegations as, “Lincoln’s religion has been so mooted a question that we are prepared to hear eventually that he was a Buddhist.” In fact, Abraham Lincoln joined no church.
Jonathan Gurwitz’s “Abe would have been proud,” published in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette on May 9, projects a certain amount of glee on the Lincoln Memorial face of Lincoln upon recognizing the death of Osama bin Laden. “I walked into where the Great Emancipator sits. Normally his stone visage is pained with the immense sorrow of a nation at war, the sadness of life cut short. On that night, though, when a president of mixed race somberly announced from the White House that a great victory had been won on a distant battlefield, you could almost detect a smile.”
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported on May 23 that Allegheny County is in the process of adopting its own version of the federal “Lincoln Law” to compensate people who report fraud. Formerly known as the False Claims Act, it was passed during the Civil War, and was designed to combat the problem of shoddy or overpriced goods being sold to the Union Army.
In the National Association of Educational Progress released on June 14, most fourth graders were unable to say why Abraham Lincoln was an important figure. The test was given in 2010 to a representative sample of 7,000 fourth graders. Only 9% of fourth graders recognized a photo of Abraham Lincoln with 12% of twelfth graders having any proficiency in American history.
Editorial cartoonist Oman of The Oregonian portrayed “The History of the United States” by Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann. The frame for Abraham Lincoln has him saying “You betcha!” to “When that happened, there was a Civil War between the red states and the blue lamestream media. The Republican President of the red states won!”
James Karcher’s play about the sibling rivalry between John Wilkes Booth and Edwin Booth, The Brothers Booth, was performed at the Westminster Arts Center, Bloomfield, NJ, on March 24.
On April 14, 2011, at the Player’s Club in New York City, the first public reading was given of a movie script entitled The Players, which has been described as “an epic sweep of Edwin Booth’s life, his successes, sorrow, demons, and legacy.” It is expected that the filming will begin in September.
Webster Stone, producer of The Conspirator, has created an exhibit of his movie for the National Museum of Crime and Punishment in Washington. Jacqueline Trescott discussed the exhibit in the March 9 Washington Post (www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/03/09.
Barry Cauchon, Abraham Lincoln assassination researcher, reviewed Robert Redford’s film, The Conspirator, in the Winter 2010 Lincoln Herald.
A.O. Scott reviewed Robert Redford’s The Conspirator in the April 15 New York Times, calling it, “This well meaning, misbegotten movie.” Scott is concerned that the movie “declines to note, even in passing, that her cause [Mary Surratt] was the defense of a way of life built on the labor of human chattel.”
G. William Beardslee discussed another conspiracy theory involving New York in “The Conspirator Who Got Away” for the Spring New York archives.
Christy Lemire reviewed Robert Redford’s The Conspirator for the April 15 Providence Journal. Anthony Pitch’s excoriating review of the movie appeared on April 25 (H-DC@H.net.msu.edu).
Ann Horner Day wrote “Revisionist ‘Conspirator’” for the April 15 Washington Post and the film’s cast were inspired by the events at Ford’s Theatre on the night of April 14, 1865, as discussed by Arienne Thompson in the April 11 USA Today.
Assassination scholar Richard Sloan (email@example.com) wrote a brief review of The Conspirator. After seeing the movie twice, he gives the film 2 ½ stars believing that the movie failed to dramatize President Andrew Johnson’s failure to see the military tribunal’s request for a commutation of Mary Surratt’s sentence from death to imprisonment. Believing the actors “too shallow,” the producer failed to properly reflect the character of Mary Surratt, John Surratt and Louis Weichmann. Add that the movie’s failure to mention slavery in the South and the complicity of these conspirators, including Mary Surratt, was a fatal flaw.
Ross Douthat reviewed Robert Redford’s The Conspirator for the May 16 National Review. To Douthat, “the dialogue is by turns pompous and anarchronistic, and the cinematography is a daguerreotype haze…”
In his review, “The Conspirator: Admirable But Flawed,” Harold Holzer’s “advice is to enjoy the film – with guilty pleasure, if necessary. But take it as historically accurate gospel at your peril.”
Discussing the military commission execution of the four Lincoln conspirators in 1865, Joan L. Chaconas wrote “The Way it Was in 1865” for the June Surratt Courier.
The International Spy Museum in Washington focused on Lincoln assassination conspiracies on July 19 with Michael Kauffman, Frank J. Williams and H. Donald Winkler at Ford’s Theatre.
Lincoln Herald editor Thomas R. Turner wrote that researcher Herb Swingle has come across an intriguing piece of evidence involving the Lincoln assassination – an anonymous letter to Judge Advocate General Joseph Holt which he believes was written by John Surratt. Swingle writes:
John Surratt has always been a historical enigma. We know that he was in Elmira, NY the night of the assassination. He then went to Canandaigua, NY – stayed at the Webster House and went to St. Mary’s Church for Easter Sunday Mass. He then took a train to Montreal, Canada and registered at the St. Lawrence Hotel. Surratt went from Canada to Europe and was captured and brought to trial two years later [hung jury]. I was able to find a letter to Lincoln in The Joseph Holt Collection [judge-prosecutor of the assassination conspiracy] in the Library of Congress. The letter to Lincoln was dated 2-21-1865 – postmarked Dansville, NY sender unknown. The letter warned Lincoln of a possible assassination in March. Why would Holt keep that letter out of hundreds that were sent as threats to Lincoln? Who sent the letter? I felt that I had seen that handwriting before. I then had two handwriting experts from the Rochester, NY area examine the letter. We all reached the conclusion that it matched John Surratt’s handwriting. One expert felt that it was a ‘change of heart letter.’ Did Surratt send the letter out of guilt? Did he want to wash his hands of any murder? Did he really know what Booth was thinking? Was he in Western New York to scout his escape route? My theory is pure speculation with some evidence and raises many questions. This bit of history could possibly shine a new light on the assassination conspiracy!
Works in Progress
The Lincoln Studies Center at Knox College will publish a collection of Wayne C. Temple’s Lincoln articles. Since 1949, Temple has published over 600 articles and book reviews.
The Concise Lincoln Library of Southern Illinois University Press, edited by Richard W. Etulain, Sara Vaughn Gabbard, and Sylvia Frank Rodrigue, will publish the following books in 2012: Lincoln and the Constitution by Brian Dirck, Lincoln’s Greatest Mistakes by Harold Holzer, Lincoln and Race by Richard Striner, and Lincoln as Hero by Frank Williams.
Richard Lawrence Miller, author of a multi-volume biography of Abraham Lincoln, is selling a concept for a film about Abraham Lincoln’s involvement in the dramatic turmoil in Kansas. He believes the six-year conflict in that territory made Lincoln President and involved all of his allies and opponents. To Miller, this was a “case study of ordinary Americans saying ‘NO’ to something and organizing to force the government to do their will. In 1854 a handful of activists organized the Republican Party. Six years later they had the White House. People today need to know how such a thing can be done.”
Charles Bracelen Flood’s latest book, Grant’s Final Victory: Ulysses S. Grant’s Heroic Last Year, will be published by Da Capo in October.
Also scheduled for October release is Lincoln’s Forgotten Ally: Judge Advocate General Joseph Holt of Kentucky by Elizabeth D. Leonard (University of North Carolina Press).
Mark E. Neely, Jr.’s new book, Lincoln and the Triumph of the Nation: Constitutional Conflict in the American Civil War, will be published by the University of North Carolina Press in November.
Dr. Weldon E. Petz, renowned expert on Abraham Lincoln, retired principal from the Farmington, Michigan schools, and trumpet player in many of the big bands, died at age 88 on April 28. Liz Stringer, President of the Abraham Lincoln Civil War Round Table of Michigan, wrote a touching eulogy, “Thank you from us all…,” for the May issue of the Round Table’s newsletter.
Former Illinois First Lady Lura Lynn Ryan died in Kankakee, IL, on June 27. She served on the U.S. Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission. She was seventy-six.
I want to thank Harold Holzer, Richard Sloan, Tom Lapsley, William D. Pederson, Dennis E. Stark, Joseph Fornieri, Wayne C. Temple, Edward Steers, Jr., Gene Griessman, Kieran McAuliffe, Mike Marlow, Norman F. Boas, Pam Carnahan, Mike Gross, Jacqueline L. Stroud, Brooks Davis, James Billings, Larry Morris, Frank Musgrave, David J. Stiller, Jo Dzombak, Guy Fraker, Malcolm Garber, David J. Stiller, David Warren, Philip W. Stichter, Justice William P. Robinson III and Virginia Williams for providing information for this column. I welcome news concerning Abraham Lincoln. Please contact me at 300 Switch Road, Hope Valley, RI 02832; fax (401) 364-3642; e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.