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The Spoken Word and Group Activities

Lincoln, The Civil War, and Freedom of the Press: New York Divided was hosted by The New York City Bar on November 30, 2011, as The Stephen R. Kaye Memorial ProgramHarold Holzer presented “Lincoln, The Civil War, and Freedom of the Press,” followed by a roundtable discussion moderated by former Chief Judge Judith S. Kaye and U.S. Court of Appeals Judge John M. Walker.  2nd Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Richard C. Wesley discussed the “Writ of Habeas Corpus.”

Dale Jirik presented “The Magic of Cooper’s Union” at the April 3 meeting of the Lincoln Club of Topeka.

Anthony S. Pitch discussed the multiple errors in Bill O’Reilly’s mega-seller, Killing Lincoln, in a speech to the Lincoln Group of Boston on April 17.  He also was the guest speaker at Ford’s Theatre commemorating the 147th anniversary of Lincoln’s assassination.

Frank J. Williams presented “Abraham Lincoln and Rhode Island in the Civil War” at the Cranston (RI) Historical Society annual meeting on May 4.  He also delivered “Was Abraham Lincoln a Christian?” at the St. Joseph Church Rosary Altar Society, Hope Valley, RI, on May 7.

James H. Madison presented “Three Reasons Why Lincoln is My Hero” as the 2012 Inaugural Ian Rolland Lecture for the Friends of the Lincoln Collection of Indiana on May 16 at the Allen County Public Library, Fort Wayne.

Frank J. Williams presented “Judging Lincoln as a Judge” at the Starkville (MS) Public Library on May 18 and at the June 21 meeting of the Abraham Lincoln Civil War Round Table of Michigan.  He also presented the keynote address in conjunction with the exhibit Lincoln: The Constitution and the Civil War at the Rhode Island State House on May 24.

Jean Edward Smith presented “Ike and Grant” at the 50th anniversary meeting of the Ulysses S. Grant Association (now the Ulysses S. Grant Presidential Library) at Mississippi State University on May 19.

Robert I. Girardi was the featured speaker (“The Little Giant and the Big War”) at the 2012 annual meeting of the Stephen A. Douglas Association on June 2.

The 2012 Organization of American Historians Community College Conference was held June 14-16 at Lincoln Land Community College, Springfield, IL, with presentations by Michael Johnson (“Reading Abraham Lincoln”), Michael Green (“The Election of 1860”), Kenneth Winkle (“‘Scape-Goat for Both North and South’: Mary Todd Lincoln and the Civil War”), Amy Kinsel (“Lincoln, the Gettysburg Address, and the Gettysburg National Cemetery”), and Wayne C. Temple (“Lincoln’s Assassination”).

On June 30, Frank J. Williams participated in a workshop, “Teaching the Emancipation Proclamation,” at the Rhode Island Historical Society’s conference, A New Birth of Freedom: Developing Historical Thinking in American History, Expanding Freedom: Emancipators and Expansionists.

George Buss, as Abraham Lincoln, and Pam Brown, as Mary Todd Lincoln, answered questions about the Lincolns on July 5 during The History Comes Alive session at the Vachel Lindsay Home, Springfield, IL.

The Calvert Library, Prince Frederick, MD, hosted Lincoln: The Constitution and the Civil War with “The Legacy of Lincoln” on July 21.  Presenters were Frank J. Williams (“‘Thy despot’s heel is on thy shore:’ President Lincoln and Chief Justice Taney Go to War Over Maryland”); Bradley Gottfried (“President Lincoln and his Role as Commander-in-Chief”); Harold Holzer (“Emancipating Lincoln: How the Great Emancipator Led—and Misled—America to Freedom”); and Craig Symonds (“Lincoln, His Navy and the Civil War”).

Doris Kearns Goodwin will discuss her Team of Rivals on the occasion of the release of the movie based on the book at the Seward House Museum, Auburn, NY, on November 15.

The 2012 theme of the Lincoln Forum’s 17th annual symposium in Gettysburg, November 16-18, is 1862: Battle Cry of Union/Battle Cry of Freedom.  Speakers will focus on the military, political, and personal issues that confronted Abraham Lincoln, his Union contemporaries, and his Confederate enemies in this key year of the Civil War 150 years ago.  The conference marks year three of the Forum’s five-year observance of the Civil War sesquicentennial.  Featured will be James I. (“Bud”) Robertson; Eric Foner, whose book, The Fiery Trial: Abraham Lincoln and American Slavery, won the Pulitzer Prize, Bancroft Prize, and Lincoln Prize; Amanda Foreman, author of the acclaimed A World on Fire: Britain’s Crucial Role in the American Civil War; Catherine Clinton, who will discuss the personal tragedies that struck both Abraham Lincoln and Jefferson Davis; John C. Waugh, who will explore the difficult relationship between commander-in-chief Lincoln and general-in-chief George B. McClellan; Frank J. Williams on the impact of the suspension of habeas corpus; Harold Holzer with his view of the President’s evolving leadership in “Lincoln on War”; Craig L. Symonds on “‘Hunting Skunks’: Lincoln, Porter and Farragut”; and John Marszalek on rising military stars in the west—Ulysses S. Grant and William T. Sherman.  There will be two panels, The Constitution Goes to War and A Hundred Days to Emancipation—The Preliminary Proclamation.

International Legacy

Dan Van Haften presented “Abraham Lincoln’s Role in the Development of Canals and Waterways” at the 2012 World Canals Conference in Yangzhou, China, September 25-27.

Sebastian N. Page wrote “Lincoln and Chiriquí Colonization Revisited” for the September 2011 American Nineteenth Century History.

Margit Nagy reviewed Abraham Lincoln Without Borders, edited by Jyoti Tripathy, Sura Rath and William Pederson, for the August issue of the Journal of Southern History.

Two panels on Lincoln are featured in the 30th annual Conference of the Association of Third World Studies to be held October 11-13, at Berry College in Georgia.  The first is on “Abraham Lincoln’s Legacy in the Global South,” and the second is on “Lawyer-Statesmen and Constitutional Democracy.”

St. Thomas and Prince Islands, Sierra Leone, and Tuvalu have each issued souvenir sheet stamps featuring Lincoln’s image.

The International Lincoln Center at LSU Shreveport has added an adjacent hallway leading up to its Lincoln Room featuring posters from its past annual Frank and Virginia Williams Lincoln Lecture series; annual Constitution Day lecture series; Summer Teacher Institutes series; and triennial presidential conference series.


In the Spring Herald, “Lincolniana,” the URL for the 2015 Lincoln Funeral Coalition was incorrect.  It is

Abraham Lincoln’s last trial as an attorney in 1859, at which he defended Peachy Quinn Harrison on the charge of murder, was dramatized in The Affray: Lincoln’s Last Murder Case, and presented on May 4 and 5 by the McHenry County Bar Association, IL, at the Woodstock North High School.

On June 1, Tamara Johnson appeared at the Piccolo Spoleto Festival, Charleston, SC, in her one-woman show, In Haste, Laura Keene.

The U.S. Postal Service Civil War sesquicentennial issues for 1862, The Civil War 1862: A Nation Touched With Fire, featured the naval battle for New Orleans on April 24-May 1, 1862 and the Battle of Antietam on September 17, 1862.

Joe Leydon reviewed the film Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter in the July Cowboys & Indians.  Before you laugh, know that the book from which the movie comes has, at the time of this writing, been on the New York Times bestseller list for seven weeks.  Reviews were also in the Providence Journal on June 22 (“American History Gets the Ax as Honest Abe Chops Vampires” by Michael Janusonis) and in the June 22 Chicago Tribune (“Rail-Splitter, Head-Lopper” by Michael Phillips).  Rene Rodriguez called Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter “colossally stupid” in her review for the State Journal-Register (Springfield, IL) on June 22.  On June 25, the New York Times reported that Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (20th Century Fox) “was the latest of Hollywood’s recent genre mash-ups to fizzle, landing in third place (for the weekend of June 23-24), with $16.5 million in ticket sales.  This 3-D movie cost a reported $69 million to produce.  Pixar’s Brave was number one with $66.7 million.

John O’Brien has published Lincoln in Washington 1861-1865: Map to Sixty Lincoln Sites Near Lafayette Square… ( or

Walter Scott’s “Personality” column in the June 24 Parade featured “Real vs. Reel” with some matches and mismatches between the real Abraham Lincoln and the latest reel actor playing him: Benjamin Walker, in Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.  “The Man”—Lincoln’s farm-tested physique had superhero potential.  “At 6-foot-4, he was a strong giant,” says Seth Grahame-Smith, who adapted his novel for the screen.  To match Lincoln’s lean frame, actor Benjamin Walker shed 30 pounds; the 30-year-old wore prosthetics to age himself for Abe’s later years.

As of this writing, Killing Lincoln by Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard has been on the New York Times bestseller list over 43 weeks for bind print and e-book bestsellers.

An exhibition of watercolor paintings by Kay Smith, Artist Laureate of Illinois, was held July 14-September 21 at the A. Lincoln National Museum of Surveying, Springfield, IL.  The artist does portray Lincoln.


Lincoln Originals at Cincinnati (OH) Museum Center is online to commemorate the life and career of Abraham Lincoln.  It opened on February 9, 2009 (

New York’s International Center of Photography displayed 40 examples of the false portrayals of Confederate President Jefferson Davis dressed in women’s garb while escaping from Union troops.  The cartes-de-visite will be on display through September 2.  Rachel Wolff discussed the exhibit in the May 12-13 Wall Street Journal.

Lincoln: The Constitution and the Civil War, a traveling exhibition from the National Constitution Center and the American Library Association Public Programs Office was on exhibit at Chatham Manor, Fredericksburg, in Spotsylvania National Military Park until May 28.  The thrust of the exhibit examines three intersecting crises of the Civil War—secession, slavery and civil liberties.

Rhode Island and the Civil War: Myth, Memory and (Mis)information was on display from May 3 to June 22 in the Providence City Hall.

The Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission of McLean County is hosting a permanent exhibit, Prologue to Presidency: Abraham Lincoln on the Illinois Eighth Judicial Circuit at the Davis Mansion State Historic Site in Bloomington with a traveling exhibit for four sites in Menard County where Lincoln practiced.

The commemoration of the sesquicentennial of the Civil War by Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery continued with an exhibit of pro-Confederate dentist/illustrator Adalbert J. Volck, March 30, 2012 through January 22, 2013.  “Mathew Brady Photographs of Civil War Generals of the North” will be on display from Summer 2012 through Summer 2015.

The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, in partnership with the Library of America, is hosting a traveling exhibition, Civil War 150, for libraries and national park historic sites from October 2012 to March 2015.

One of the five original copies of the Gettysburg Address, this one owned by the State of Illinois, went on display at the Treasures Gallery of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield.  Illinois obtained the document in 1944 through contributions of pennies by Illinois school children as well as a donation from Marshall Field, III, the Chicago department-store magnate.

Civil War Sesquicentennial

The City of Norwich, CT, celebrated the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation with the casting of the Norwich Freedom Bell, Let Freedom Ring, on June 15 and 16.  On January 1, 1863, when President Lincoln signed the final Emancipation Proclamation, all the city’s churches rang their bells for one hour in commemoration of the historic event.

Mark Yost reviewed the Museum of the Confederacy—Appomattox in the June 27 Wall Street Journal.  As an outpost of Richmond’s Museum of the Confederacy, it contains many artifacts in “…informative and interesting ways, ….”

Awards and Prizes

The Civil War Round Table of New York presented its 51st Barondess/Lincoln Award to Professor Eric Foner for his The Fiery Trial: Abraham Lincoln and American Slavery.

Edna Greene Medford received the 2012 Lincoln Award from the Lincoln Group of the District of Columbia.

Professor Mackubin Thomas Owens, who teaches at the U.S. Naval War College, Newport, is the recipient of the Fifth Annual Andrew J. Goodpaster Prize from the American Veterans CenterDr. Owens teaches a course, with Frank Williams, on Abraham Lincoln and leadership at the War College.

The Army Historical Foundation, Arlington, VA, pronounced its awards for excellence in U.S. Army history writing.  Harold Holzer received the award in the Journals, Memoirs and Letters category for Lincoln on War: Our Greatest Commander-in-Chief Speaks to America which he edited.  Holzer also won the annual history medal from the Daughters of the American Revolution at Constitution Hall in Washington.

Ron Thunman, retired rear admiral, former deputy chief of naval operations for submarine warfare, and a member of the board of directors of the Abraham Lincoln Association, received the Order of Lincoln Medallion from the Lincoln Academy in Springfield, IL, on April 21.


Nate Sanders Auction House is selling the opera glasses purportedly dropped by Mary Lincoln in the presidential box at Ford’s Theatre on the night of the assassination of the President.  They were once owned by Malcolm Forbes.  The price as of April 24—six days before the auction—had already reached $252,500.

On June 26, a signed 1864 souvenir edition of President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation sold for $2.1 million at auction.  It is the second highest price paid for a Lincoln-signed proclamation after the copy owned by the late Senator Robert F. Kennedy sold for $3.8 million two years ago.  It was auctioned by the Robert Siegel Auction Galleries and was purchased by David Rubenstein, managing director of The Carlyle Group investment firm.  The sale reflects a “growing appreciation [and value] for documents that capture the most important moments in our history,” said Seth Kaller, a dealer who has handled eight signed copies to date.  This is one of 48 printed copies signed by Lincoln for a Philadelphia charity fair.

Cowan’s American History’s Civil War auction on June 21 featured a sketch book by artist Joseph Hubert Diss which included a depiction of Abraham Lincoln at the Willard Hotel in June 1864 similar to the image made by Pierre Morand.  The book failed to meet the reserve and was not sold.


Chris Dettro wrote about the Lincoln collection at Meisei University, Tokyo, Japan, for the May 16 Illinois State Journal-Register, noting that this “Japanese Lincoln collection has surprises for scholars.”  Founded by Masaharu Mochizuki as the Tokyo Lincoln Center in 1961, the university continued to add to the collection.

The Lincoln Depot in Springfield, IL, where Lincoln gave his farewell speech before heading to Washington, has been sold by the State Journal-Register to Pinky Noll of Springfield, who plans to maintain the first floor as a visitors’ center.  Renovations are underway.

The Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial marked its half century with a celebration on June 15.

Catalog 170, Americana—Lincolniana, The Civil War, U.S. Presidents and Personalities has been published by Dan Weinberg and his Abraham Lincoln Book Shop.

Books and Pamphlets

Lincoln and Grant: The Westerners Who Won the Civil War by Edward H. Bonekemper, III, has been published by CreateSpace.

Harold K. Bush, Jr. has edited Lincoln in His Own Time: A Biographical Chronicle of His Life, Drawn From Recollections, Interviews, and Memoirs by Family, Friends, and Associates to include contemporary anecdotes about Abraham Lincoln (University of Iowa Press).

Stephen L. Carter is the author of The Impeachment of Abraham Lincoln: A Novel (Knopf).

Abraham Lincoln and White America by Brian R. Dirck has been published by the University Press of Kansas.

David Hirsch’s and Dan Van Haften’s Barack Obama, Abraham Lincoln, and the Structure of Reason is now available in a Kindle Edition or as an e-book from Savas Beatie.

Glenn W. Lafantasie has edited essays by the late John Y. Simon, The Union Forever: Lincoln, Grant, and the Civil War, with a foreword by Harold Holzer and Frank J. Williams, for the University Press of Kentucky.

Sylvia B. Larson (50 Chatham Road, Harwich, MA 02645-3113) has written Lincoln’s Springfield—in His Time and Ours: Reflection After a Visit for the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum.

James M. McPherson’s War on the Waters has been published by the University of North Carolina Press.

Graham Peck has prepared a miniature book, The Lincoln-Douglas Debates in Miniature, for the Stephen A. Douglas Association (6959 N. Hamilton, Chicago, IL 60645).

Fred Reed’s sequel to Abraham Lincoln: The Image of His Greatness, is his Abraham Lincoln: Beyond the American Icon, published by Whitman Publishing.

Craig Symonds’s The Civil War at Sea has been published in a paperback edition by Oxford University Press.

Frank J. Williams and Michael Burkhimer have edited The Mary Lincoln Enigma: Historians on America’s Most Controversial First Lady for Southern Illinois University Press with an introduction by Williams and contributions by Stephen Berry (“There’s Something About Mary: Mary Lincoln and Her Siblings”); Brian Dirck (“Mary Lincoln, Race, and Slavery”); Richard Lawrence Miller (“Life at Eighth and Jackson”); Kenneth J. Winkle (“‘An Unladylike Profession’: Mary Lincoln’s Preparation for Greatness”); Douglas L. Wilson (“William H. Herndon and Mary Todd Lincoln”); Wayne C. Temple (“‘I Am So Fond of Sightseeing’: Mary Lincoln’s Travels Up to 1865”); Donna McCreary (“Fashion Plate or Trendsetter?”); Michael Burkhimer (“The Reports of the Lincolns’ Political Partnership Have Been Greatly Exaggerated”); James S. Brust, MD (“A Psychiatrist Looks at Mary Lincoln”); Jason Emerson (“‘I Miss Bob, So Much’: Mary Lincoln’s Relationship with Her Oldest Son”); Richard W. Etulain (“Mary Lincoln Among the Novelists: Fictional Interpretations of the First Lady”); Harold Holzer (“‘I Look Too Stern’: Mary Lincoln and Her Image in the Graphic Arts”); and Catherine Clinton (“Epilogue: The Compelling Mrs. Lincoln”).

Civil War Sesquicentennial and Collateral Books

David W. Blight wrote American Oracle: The Civil War in the Civil Rights Era, in which he discussed Robert Penn Warren, Bruce Catton, Edmund Wilson and James Baldwin (Harvard University Press).

Thomas J. Brown has edited Remixing the Civil War: Meditations on the Sesquicentennial (Johns Hopkins).

The Struggle for Equality: Essays on Sectional Conflict, The Civil War and The Long Reconstruction has been edited by Orville Vernon Burton, Jerald Podair, and Jennifer L. Weber (University of Virginia Press).

Volume 13 of The Papers of Jefferson Davis 1871-1879, edited by Lynda Lasswell Crist, has been published by LSU Press.

Jim Downs’ Sick From Freedom: African-American Illness and Suffering During the Civil War and Reconstruction has been published by Oxford University Press.

Frank L. Grzyb has written Rhode Island’s Civil War Hospital: Life and Death at Portsmouth Grove, 1862-1865 (McFarland).

A new printing of Fateful Lightning: A New History of the Civil War & Reconstruction by Allen C. Guelzo has been published by Oxford University Press.

Thomas A. Horrocks is the author of President James Buchanan and the Crisis of National Leadership (a volume in Nova’s First Men, America’s Presidents series).

Remembering the Battle of the Crater: War as Murder by Kevin M. Levin has been published by the University Press of Kentucky.

New Bedford’s Civil War by Earl F. Mulderink, III, has been published by Fordham University Press.

Megan Kate Nelson has authored Ruination: Destruction and the American Civil War for the University of Georgia Press.

Andrew J. Polsky is the author of Elusive Victories: The American Presidency at War (Oxford University Press).

The University of North Carolina Press has published Carol Reardon’s With a Sword in One Hand and Jomini in the Other: The Problem of Military Thought in the Civil War North.

The Library of America has published its second volume of four, The Civil War: The Second Year [1862] Told by Those Who Lived ItStephen W. Sears edited this volume.

Richard Slotkin’s The Long Road to Antietam: How the Civil War Became a Revolution has been published by LiveRight Publishing Corporation (Norton).

John David Smith has written a new introduction to A History of the Negro Troops in the War of the Rebellion 1861-1865 (Fordham University Press).

Mississippi in the Civil War: The Home Front by Timothy B. Smith has been published by the University Press of Mississippi.

Pam Weeks and Don Beld are the authors of Civil War Quilts which they did for Schiffer Publishing, Ltd.

Steven E. Woodworth’s latest book, This Great Struggle: America’s Civil War, has been published by Rowman & Littlefield.


Adam Kirsch wrote “Reading the Civil War” for the November/December 2011 Humanities.

Judge W. Dennis Duggan prepared “The Lincoln Lawyer” for the March issue of the Albany County Bar Association Newsletter.  He also wrote about “Lincoln in Albany” for the June 4 meeting of the New York State Historical Association.

Maurice Jackson discussed Emancipation Day in the District of Columbia, “More Meaningful Than Ever,” in the April 13 Washington Post.

William D. Bader and Frank J. Williams wrote “Benjamin R. Curtis: Maverick Lawyer and Independent Jurist” for the Spring Roger Williams University Law Review.

The Federal Lawyer for May included “Abraham Lincoln at the Bar” by Judge Henry S. Cohn and “Law Practice From Abraham Lincoln to Now” by David Hirsch and Dan Van Haften.

The May 19-20 Wall Street Journal included Fergus M. Bordewich’s article about the sesquicentennial of the Homestead Act signed by Abraham Lincoln on May 20, 1862 (“How the West Was Really Won”).

John T. Elliff’s “Part Two, Lincoln and D.C. Emancipation” appeared in the May-June issue of The Lincolnian.  He also wrote “Abraham Lincoln and D.C. Emancipation: A Look Back 150 Years” for the Spring Lincoln Forum Bulletin.  Also appearing in this issue was Jerry Desko’s “The 1864 Presidential Election.”

Michael Kleen wrote “The Copperhead Threat in Illinois: Peace Democrats, Loyalty Leagues, and the Charleston Riot of 1864” for the Spring Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society.

The Spring Lincoln Herald included the late Alfred Isacsson’s “The Conspirator Who Was Not There,” Gerald S. Henig’s “Abraham Lincoln’s Use of Medical Imagery,” and “Lincolniana” by Frank J. Williams.

“What’s Been Forgotten About Lincoln’s Forgotten Ally—Judge Advocate General Joseph Holt?” by Elizabeth D. Leonard was in the July North & South.

Richard E. Hart discussed “Oakridge Cemetery Stereo Views Discovered in Cincinnati” in the Summer For the People.

The Summer Lincoln Lore (#1900) included an interview by Sarah Gabbard, editor, with Reverend John P. Gardner of the Plymouth Congregational Church, Fort Wayne.  Brian Dirck wrote “Lincoln, the Law, and Race.”


Georgiann Baldino, Candidate Lincoln, rev. by Joseph A. Truglio, Civil War News (August 2012).

William E. Barton, The Paternity of Abraham Lincoln: Was He the Son of Thomas Lincoln? An Essay on the Chastity of Nancy Hanks, rev. by Michael Burkhimer, The Lincoln Herald (Spring 2012).

Roger D. Billings and Frank J. Williams, editors, Abraham Lincoln, Esq.: The Legal Career of America’s Greatest President, rev. by; rev. by Lewie Reece, H-Net Reviews in the Humanities and Social Sciences ( (January 2012).

Edward H. Bonekemper, III, Lincoln and Grant: The Westerners Who Won the Civil War, rev. by Richard M. McMurry, Civil War News (June 2012).

Gregory A. Borchard, Abraham Lincoln and Horace Greeley, rev. by Frank J. Williams, Civil War Book Review (Spring 2012).

Fergus M. Bordewich, America’s Great Debate: Henry Clay, Stephen A. Douglas, and the Compromise that Preserved the Union, rev. by Frank J. Williams, America’s Civil War (September 2012).

Garry Boulard, Abraham Lincoln Ascendant: The Story of the Election of 1860, rev. by Peter Knupper, Journal of Illinois History (Autumn 2011).

Steven R. Boyd, Patriotic Envelopes of the Civil War: The Iconography of Union and Confederate Covers, rev. by Jaime Amanda Martinez, the Journal of Southern History (May 2012).

Thomas J. Brown, editor, Remixing the Civil War: Meditations on the Sesquicentennial, rev. by Louis P. Masur, The Journal of the Civil War Era (June 2012).

Orville Vernon Burton, Jerold Podair and Jennifer L. Weber, editors, The Struggle for Equality: Essays on Sectional Conflict, the Civil War, and the Long Reconstruction, rev. by Larry Clowers, Civil War News (July 2012).

Harold K. Bush, Jr., editor, Lincoln in His Own Time, rev. by Walt Albro, Civil War News (June 2012).

William J. Cooper, Jr. and John M. McCardell, editors, In the Cause of Liberty: How the Civil War Redefined American Ideals, rev. by Steve Davis, Civil War News (July 2012).

Christine Dee, Feel the Bonds That Draw: Images of the Civil War at the Western Reserve Historical Society, rev. by Michael Burkhimer, The Lincoln Herald (Spring 2012).

Brian R. Dirck, Lincoln and the Constitution, rev. by Edward Bonekemper, Civil War News (August 2012).

Jim Downs, Sick From Freedom: African-American Illness and Suffering During the Civil War and Reconstruction, rev. by Jan N.L. Bucklew, Civil War News (July 2012).

William C. Edwards and Edward Steers, Jr., editors, The Lincoln Assassination: The Evidence, rev. by Erin Feichtinger, Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society (Spring 2012).

Douglas R. Egerton, Year of Meteors: Stephen Douglas, Abraham Lincoln, and the Election that Brought on the Civil War, rev. by Michael A. Morrison, the Journal of Southern History (May 2012).

Jason Emerson, Giant in the Shadows: The Life of Robert T. Lincoln, rev. by Ryan L. Cole, Wall Street Journal (May 10, 2012).

Daniel Mark Epstein, Lincoln’s Men: The President and His Private Secretaries, rev. by Jerry Carrier, The Lincoln Herald (Spring 2012).

William C. Harris, Lincoln and the Border States: Preserving the Union, rev. by Charles B. Dew, Civil War Book Review (Spring 2012); rev. by Thomas W. Ryley, The Dispatch (The Civil War Round Table of New York) (June/July 2012).

Harold Holzer, Craig L. Symonds and Frank J. Williams, editors, The Lincoln Assassination: Crime and Punishment, Myth and Memory—a Lincoln Forum book, rev. by Lewie Reece, H-Net Reviews in the Humanities and Social Sciences ( (January 2012); rev. by Angela M. Zombek, Civil War Trust, (July 16, 2012).

Harold Holzer, Emancipating Lincoln: The Proclamation in Text, Context, and Memory, rev. by Henry Cohen, The Federal Lawyer (June 2012).

Anya Jabour, Topsy-Turvy: How the Civil War Turned the World Upside Down for Southern Children, rev. by Tracy J. Revels, the Journal of Southern History (May 2012).

Elizabeth D. Leonard, Lincoln’s Forgotten Ally: Judge Advocate General Joseph Holt of Kentucky, rev. by Andrew H. Talkov, Civil War Book Review (Spring 2012); rev. by Frederick Hatch, Journal of the Lincoln Assassination (2012); rev. by Christian McWhirter, Civil War History (June 2012).

Mark E. Neely, Jr., Lincoln and the Triumph of the Nation: Constitutional Conflict in the American Civil War, rev. by Matthew Warshauer, Civil War Book Review (Spring 2012).

George C. Rable, God’s Almost Chosen Peoples: A Religious History of the American Civil War, rev. by John Patrick Daly, the Journal of Southern History (May 2012).

Jonathan D. Sarna, When General Grant Expelled the Jews, rev. by Mark Dunkelman, the Providence Sunday Journal (April 29, 2012).

Edward Steers, Jr. and Harold Holzer, editors, The Lincoln Assassination Conspirators: Their Confinement and Execution, As Recorded in the Letter Book of John Frederick Hartranft, rev. by Steven J. Wright, The Lincoln Herald (Spring 2012).

Stuart Streichler, Justice Curtis and the Civil War Era, rev. by Thomas W. Ryley, The Dispatch (The Civil War Round Table of New York) (September 2011).

Joan Waugh and Gary Gallagher, editors, Wars Within a War: Controversy and Conflict Over the American Civil War, rev. by Paula Gidjunis, The Lincoln Herald (Spring 2012).

Jonathan W. White, Abraham Lincoln and Treason in the Civil War: The Trials of John Merryman, rev. by Helen J. Knowles, Civil War Book Review (Spring 2012).

Kenneth J. Winkle, Abraham and Mary Lincoln, rev. by Frank J. Williams, Civil War Book Review (Spring 2012).


David Blanchette, a longtime spokesman for the Illinois State Historic Preservation Agency, has been appointed Deputy Director of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum.

David W. Blight prepared a tribute to Bruce Catton, famous historian and editor of American Heritage, for its Winter/Spring issue.

The Lincolnian of the Lincoln Group of the District of Columbia published a tribute to its late, long-time member Frank Van der Linden in the May-June issue.

The Ulysses S. Grant Presidential Library of the Ulysses S. Grant Association has been formed at Mitchell Memorial Library, Mississippi State University.

Professor Orville Vernon Burton, Vice Chair of the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Foundation and teacher at Clemson University, was elected to the Society of American Historians.

Harold Holzer, vice chair of The Lincoln Forum and longtime senior vice president for external affairs for the Metropolitan Museum of Art, has modified his duties at the Met.  He will still be in charge of the Museum’s government affairs but will cease some administrative duties “to engage more fully in his work as a historian and writer.”  Holzer has authored or edited more than 42 books on Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War.  Francis X. Clines discussed this with him for his “Sunday Observer” piece in the July 29 New York Times—“Never Enough Lincoln on the Shelves.”

Lawyer and Yale Law School professor Stephen L. Carter, author of The Impeachment of Abraham Lincoln, was profiled in The Washington Post on July 8 by Kevin NanceCarter states: “I don’t think we should pretend that because [Abraham Lincoln] was heroic, and because we admire him so, nothing he did can be questioned.”  In his novel, Lincoln survives the assassination attempt on April 14, 1865 and articles of impeachment are passed by the House of Representatives by radicals and his own Republican party in an effort to remove him from office, as they believe him to be too soft on the defeated South.  Congress complains about Lincoln’s acts during the war, including suspending the writ of habeas corpus and jailing citizens.

Lincoln in Popular Culture

Alexandra Petri’s blog about “President Barack Lincoln Roosevelt” appeared in the December 22, 2011 Washington Post.  The author mocks Barack Obama’s self-aggrandizing, “He’s got all the approval he needs from Barack Obama.”  Mentioned is a comment the President made to Steve Kroft in a 60 Minutes interview (which was cut): “I would put our legislative and foreign policy accomplishments in our first two years against any president—with the possible exceptions of Johnson, FDR and Lincoln—just in terms of what we’ve gotten done in modern history.”  To Petri, Obama denigrates George Washington with his suppression of the Whiskey Rebellion, Thomas Jefferson with his purchase of Louisiana, and Abraham Lincoln for not trying to pass health-care reform.  The interview was full of leading questions, asking the president if he was the greatest president of “all time?”  For this bloggist, Obama’s rectitude reminded her of President Jimmy Carter who called himself the “best ex-president America has ever had.”  And humblest, too, no doubt.  But if Obama keeps saying this sort of thing, “Carter may have a battle on his hands.”

A blogger, Nate St. Pierre, suggested that Abraham Lincoln invented a 19th-century version of Facebook.  St. Pierre discovered that “Lincoln once filed a patent application for a newspaper that would, via profiles and updates, keep People aware of Others in the Town.” A check with the Lincoln Library, Springfield, IL, indicated that, “This is a complete hoax.”  When St. Pierre tweeted this Lincoln story, he thought that people would figure out that it was a hoax and he said, “I just don’t think it hurts anybody.”  (

Michael B. Mukasey, who served as a U.S. District Judge and is a former U.S. Attorney General, in his op-ed “Obama and the bin Laden  Bragging Rights,” believes that, “It’s hard to imagine Lincoln or Eisenhower claiming such credit for the heroic actions of others.”  Lincoln, after General Robert E. Lee’s surrender, delivered a speech from a window in the White House which did not mention his achievements at all but looked to the difficulties of Reconstruction.  Likewise, Lincoln took responsibility in August 1862 for failures of General George B. McClellan.  When the success of the Normandy invasion occurred in 1944, General Dwight D. Eisenhower congratulated the Allied Expeditionary Forces—not himself (Wall Street Journal, May 1, 2012).

Jennifer Schuessler, in the June 11 New York Times, wrote about Jim Downs and his Sick From Freedom: African-American Illness and Suffering During the Civil War and Reconstruction (Oxford University Press).  Downs’ study may be pathfinding as he believes the death toll in the Civil War military should be 750,000 and not the 620,000 as reported over the years.  To Downs, the accounting represents “the largest biological crisis of the 19th century” and that does not even go far enough.  Downs looks beyond the military casualties and considers the public health crisis that confronted newly freed slaves who died in large numbers following Abraham Lincoln’s 1863 Emancipation Proclamation.  Over one million of the four million former slaves were ill or died between 1862 and 1870, Professor Downs writes, including at least 60,000 who perished in a small pox epidemic.  Downs says, “I’ve been alone with these people in the archives.  I have a responsibility to tell their stories.”

David Brooks, “The Follower Problem,” in the June 12 New York Times, discusses Washington Monuments and names the Lincoln and Jefferson Memorials in Washington as representing strong and powerful leaders, yet they have been humanized with Jefferson as a “graceful aristocratic Democrat” and Lincoln as “sober and enduring.”  His discussion is in the context of the proposed but criticized Eisenhower Memorial which, not emphasizing power, brings back moments of innocent boyhood in Kansas.  To Brooks, “Even the more successful recent monuments evade the thorny subjects of strength and power.  The Vietnam Memorial is about tragedy.  The Korean Memorial is about vulnerability.”  The columnist wonders why the designers of today cannot deal directly with “just authority.”  For there to be good leaders, he argues, there must also be good followers, “able to recognize just authority, admire it, be grateful for it and emulate it.  You need these skills for monument-building, too.”

James W. Ceaser discussed Robert W. Merry’s Where They Stand in the June 23-24 Wall Street JournalMerry is much taken with the White House rating game that ranks our presidents.  He suggests a new strategy to “minimize the opinions of individual analysts—his own included….”  Seeking political impartiality, unlike earlier polls directed, for example, by Arthur Schlesinger in 1962 and 1966, places greater emphasis on the people, so he places the protocol in three categories—ranging from worse to better.  One-termers include those elected or elevated who were passed over or defeated when seeking the next term; two-termers are those who are re-elected after serving; and three-termers who are two-termers whose party holds on to the presidency in the following election.  Three-termers would include the likes of Washington, Lincoln, FDR, Jefferson, Jackson and Theodore Roosevelt, while the one-termers (the worst) consist of John Tyler, Millard Fillmore, Franklin Pierce, James Buchanan and Andrew Johnson.  Ceaser, while finding the book “engaging,” describes a defect, as the measurable criteria are consequences but not causes for excellence.  “No great president—think of Washington or Lincoln—would make re-election his top priority, let alone waste a minute worrying about how future academics would rank him.”  Is this true?  Of course Lincoln worried about his re-election legacy.

The cover of the Duluth Trading Co. catalog for July 2012 has drawings of Senator Stephen A. Douglas and his 1858 opponent for the United States Senate, Abraham Lincoln, with the caption, “The Great Debate—Buck Naked or Free Range Cotton?”  Both candidates are wearing skivvies only, as well as over-the-calf socks, which proves Nancy Marshall-Genzer’s theory that Abraham Lincoln has become a celebrity pitch-man.  While discussing the book and movie, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, she quotes from ads using Abraham Lincoln.  For example: “Honest Abe’s pest control ad: Call us for problems with ants, skunks, squirrels, termites and more.  Honest Abe’s Pest Control.”

Jerome R. Corsi ( included Harold Holzer opining that the President is ten years older than when he assumed office on January 20, 2009.  Look at what a difference four years in office and the Civil War made on Abraham Lincoln just by looking at the photograph taken at the beginning and end of his presidency.  Likewise, Obama has aged considerably in office.

The New York Times reported on July 19 that the results were in for the History News Network’s weeklong contest to determine “the least credible history book in print.”  David Barton’s The Jefferson Lies won with some 650 votes, edging left-wing historian Howard Zinn’s People’s History of the United States which received 641 votes.  Way behind were Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard’s Killing Lincoln (which argues that Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton was complicit in Lincoln’s assassination); Thomas DiLorenzo’s The Real Lincoln: A New Look at Abraham Lincoln, His Agenda, and an Unnecessary War; and Gavin Menzies’s 1421: The Year China Discovered America.

Political operative Paul Begala’s “Politicians Acting Politically? Duh” in the July 2 Newsweek reminds us that everything that presidential candidates do is a matter of politics.  You cannot remove politics from governing.  Begala cites Abraham Lincoln, who was given the authority, through the Confiscation Acts passed by Congress, to emancipate the slaves in 1861.  On July 22, 1862, he indicated to his Cabinet that he had made the decision to manumit them.  He withheld the Emancipation Proclamation until September 22, 1862, five days after the Battle of Antietam and “for political reasons.”  As a result of his waiting, “Should we scrape him off Mt. Rushmore?,” his cabinet, specifically Secretary of State William Seward, cautioned the president to wait until a Union victory on the battlefield before issuing the proclamation.  Paul Begala believes, “You can drive yourself crazy trying to peer into a person’s soul—or you can do the sensible thing: ask not what inner motives drive a politician’s policy choices, but instead whether those choices are good for the country.”

The blogger, “kos,” wrote on July 30 that “Conservatives [were] outraged over Abraham Lincoln bust in the Oval Office.”  Mitt Romney, while in London, said that he is “looking forward” to returning the bust of Winston Churchill to the White House after it was sent to Great Britain by President Obama.  Yet, the bust was only moved to the living quarters of the White House when a statue of Abraham Lincoln was put in its place in the Oval Office.  Why should the “patriotic American” party get outraged when a bust of a foreign leader gets replaced with that of an American president—especially Republican Abraham Lincoln!  But the August 2 New York Times reported that the Oval Office bust of Churchill was indeed returned to the United Kingdom.  The Churchill bust in the family quarters has been there for decades.


The plans to build a full-scale replica of the Lincoln Funeral Train in commemoration of the 150th anniversary of Lincoln’s death and funeral can be found at

The last grandchild of Dr. Samuel A. Mudd died on January 24, 2011, at the age of 100.  Marie Carmelite Mudd Summers was the seventh of nine children born to Samuel A. Mudd, II and Claudine Louise Mudd.

Richard Sloan’s “Revisiting the Case of Mary Surratt Through Her ‘Son’—Louis Weichmann” was in the Spring Lincoln Forum Bulletin.

“The Story of John Corbett, the Man Who Claimed to be Boston Corbett” by Craig R. Hipkins appeared in the June Surratt Courier.

On June 6, the Associated Press reported a “newly discovered report from Dr. Charles Leale,” who was the first physician to tend to Abraham Lincoln in his box at Ford’s Theatre after being shot by the actor John Wilkes Booth on April 14, 1865.  This 1865 account was prepared by Dr. Leale shortly after the event and was identified by Helena Isles Papaioannou, who works for the Papers of Abraham Lincoln in Springfield.  There is a known 1909 account.  Assassination scholars, Richard Sloan and David Richardson of Civil War in 3D, went to the trouble of typing out the full text of Leale’s 1865 statement so it could be compared to the 1909 account.  While the 1909 account has greater details and is more thoughtful and dramatic, the 1865 account is more succinct and concise.

The July Civil War News published “There Was a Doctor in the House When Lincoln Was Shot” describing Dr. Charles A. Leale’s first report of what he observed on April 14, 1865.

Frederick Hatch wrote “The Meeting at Gauthier’s Restaurant” (about John Wilkes Booth’s conference with his fellow conspirators on the evening of March 15, 1865) in the 2012 Journal of the Lincoln AssassinationFrederick Hatch also provided a list of “Witnesses to the Lincoln Assassination” in the same issue.

Works in Progress

Fordham University Press will publish Lincoln and Leadership: Military, Political, and Religious Decision Making by Allen C. Guelzo and Randall M. Miller in August.

Thomas Nelson will publish Lincoln’s Battle With God: A President’s Struggle With Faith and What it Meant for America by Stephen Mansfield.

Louis P. Masur’s Lincoln’s Hundred Days: The Emancipation Proclamation and the War for the Union will be published by Harvard University Press in September.  Also appearing in the fall will be John Fabian Witt’s Lincoln’s Code: The Laws of War in American History by the Free Press; Jason Emerson’s Mary Lincoln’s Insanity Case: A Documentary History by the University of Illinois Press; and Walter Stahr’s Seward: Lincoln’s Indispensable Man by Simon & Schuster.

This fall, Southern Illinois University Press will publish Lincoln as Hero by Frank J. Williams, and Lincoln and Medicine by Glenna Schroeder-Lein for its Concise Lincoln Library, as well as Lincoln’s Ladder to the Presidency: The Eighth Judicial Circuit by Guy C. Fraker and Lincoln’s Forgotten Friend, Leonard Swett by Robert S. Eckley.

In November, 1862: Abraham Lincoln and the Making of America by David Von Drehle will be published by Henry Holt & Co.

A Wicked War: Polk, Clay, Lincoln, and the 1846 U.S. Invasion of Mexico by Amy S. Greenberg will come from Knopf, also in November.

The Dakota War of 1862 with its attacks by the Dakota Sioux in Minnesota and subsequent execution of 38 warriors has been described by Scott W. Berg in 38 Nooses: Lincoln, Little Crow, and the Beginning of the Frontier’s End (Pantheon) which is due out in December, as well as James Oakes’ book on the Emancipation Proclamation, Freedom National: The Destruction of Slavery in the United States, will be published by Norton.

Random House will publish Bruce Levine’s The Fall of the House of Dixie: The Civil War and the Social Revolution That Transformed the South in January 2013, along with Lincoln’s Tragic Pragmatism: Lincoln, Douglas, and Moral Conflict by John Bert (Belknap Press of Harvard University Press) and Congressman Lincoln by Chris DeRose (Threshold Editions).

Glenn LaFantasie is at work on a comparative biography of Abraham Lincoln and Ulysses S. Grant which Oxford University Press will publish.

Lone Wolf Documentary Group, in partnership with Frank Cerisi and Brian Dirck, is proposing a documentary about Abraham Lincoln’s law practice, Lincoln at the Bar.


Historian William Lee Miller died on May 27.  He was 86.  His books include the well-received Lincoln’s Virtues (2002) and President Lincoln: The Duty of a Statesman (2008).  His Two Americans: Truman, Eisenhower, and a Dangerous World was published by Knopf shortly before his death.

Author’s Note

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