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The Spoken Word and Group Activities

The February meeting of the Lincoln Group of Boston featured John Rodrigue discussing his Lincoln and Reconstruction.

The TSETSE Initiative and the Rhode Island Civil War Sesquicentennial Commemoration Commission co-hosted Civil War Beat with young rappers at the Rhode Island Veterans Memorial Auditorium on March 18.  Frank J. Williams moderated.

To commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Charleston, IL, riot when 100 Copperheads (anti-war Democrats) attacked Federal soldiers, with seven dead and 88 wounded, the city hosted Harold Holzer as the keynote speaker on March 29.  Guy Fraker also spoke (“Lincoln, Linder, and Ficklin: Law and Politics”).

Lincoln Memorial University’s Abraham Lincoln Library and Museum hosted Lincoln and the War on April 4-5 with presentations by Frank J. Williams (“Abraham Lincoln’s Bid for Re-election: Almost Derailed by Casualties and the Pressure for Peace”), Daniel Stowell (“Little Burdens: Empathete in Chief, Abraham Lincoln”), Anne Marshall (“Ripe for Mutiny: Lincoln and Loyalty in Civil War Kentucky”), and Warren Greer (“The Golden Mean: Lincoln’s Wartime Principle”).  Brian McKnight gave the keynote address, “Twisting Lincoln’s Arm: East Tennessee and the Politics of Liberation.”

James M. McPherson presented “The Rewards of Risk-Taking: Two Civil War Admirals” at the April 9 meeting of the Civil War Round Table of New York.

Professor Joseph R. Fornieri, who created, with the affiliation of the Alexander Hamilton Institute, The Center for Statesmanship Law and Liberty at Rochester Institute of Technology, hosted the first annual statesmanship colloquium on April 10 and 11.  Allen C. Guelzo presented the keynote, “Lincoln’s Statesmanship on the Emancipation Proclamation.”  He was followed by Frank J. Williams who delivered “Judicial Statesmanship—a Comparison of President Abraham Lincoln and Chief Justice Roger B. Taney,” Joseph R. Fornieri who presented “Reviving Statesmanship,” and Lincoln artist Wendy Allen who gave a pictorial presentation of “An Artist’s View of Lincoln’s Statesmanship.”

John Fazio presented “The Confederate Secret Service and the Assassination of Abraham Lincoln” at the April 17 meeting of the Cincinnati Civil War Round Table.

Edward Bonekemper examined “1864: The Civil War’s Year of Decision” for the Smithsonian Associates on April 17 at the Ripley Center.  On March 8, Stephen Engle offered a day-long symposium, “Abraham Lincoln and Northern States’ Rights,” at the Ripley Center.

The Ulysses S. Grant Presidential Library and Ulysses S. Grant Association at Mississippi State University Libraries, as well as the National Park Service, sponsored the Corinth Contraband Camp Symposium on April 17 and 18.  Presenters included interpretations by Frederick Douglass portrayed by Michael Crutcher and Abraham Lincoln interpreted by George BussDr. E.C. Fields, Jr. portrayed General Ulysses S. Grant and Bobby Horton gave a musical presentation.  John David Smith presented “Corinth, Contrabands & the U.S. Colored Troops,” and Deirdre Cooper Owens presented “How the Price for Freedom? Stealing Away and Building a Post-Slavery Community at Corinth.”  The panel discussion, moderated by John F. Marszalek, featured Lincoln, Grant and Douglass interpreters.

James I. “Bud” Robertson, Jr. gave the keynote address at the National Park Service ceremony marking the 150th anniversary of the start of General-in-Chief Ulysses S. Grant’s Overland Campaign on May 3.  Robertson stated, “It was a pounding, unrelenting campaign, the one type of war with which Robert Lee could not cope.  He could interfere with Grant’s plans, but he was in no position to impose plans of his own.”

In connection with the traveling exhibit Lincoln: The Constitution and the Civil War, Mississippi State University Libraries hosted Frank J. Williams who presented “Justice: Comparing President Abraham Lincoln and Chief Justice Roger Brooke Taney” on April 21 and Stephen Middleton who spoke on “Abraham Lincoln, the Constitution and the Preservation of the Union” on May 5.

Carol Ayres presented “Lincoln and God” at the May 6 meeting of the Lincoln Club of Topeka.

The Third Annual Rolland Lecture Series of the Friends of the Lincoln Collection of Indiana hosted Bill Bartelt who spoke about “Reflections of Lincoln’s Youth in Indiana” on May 21 at the Allen County Public Library, Fort Wayne.

Frank J. Williams presented “Inside the Mind of Lincoln” at the 50th anniversary reception of Riverbend Community Mental Health in Concord, NH on May 28.

Gary P. Zola spoke about his book We Called Him Rabbi Abraham: Lincoln and American Jewry on June 1 at White Haven, the Ulysses S. Grant National Historic Site.

Edwin C. Bearss led a tour for Smithsonian Associates of the Battle of Spotsylvania Court House on June 29.

The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History presented an online graduate course, June 3-July 16, with Professor Matthew Pinsker, Understanding Lincoln (

The Sherman House Museum will host a Civil War symposium September 27-28 in Lancaster, OH, with John Marszalek (“Sherman’s March to the Sea”), Frank J. Williams (“Abraham Lincoln’s Re-election: Almost Derailed”), Mark Grimsley (“Reconstruction”), E. Chris Evans (“An Echo of War: The Reunion of 1913 Gettysburg”), and Frank Bullock (“Milestones Leading Up to War”).  (

International Legacy

Volume 24 of Abraham Lincoln Abroad of the International Lincoln Association included articles about Lincoln’s legacy and influence in Cameroon, Tijuana, Mexico, and Puerto Rico.

Professor Md. Manzar Alam, East West University, Bangladesh, visited the International Lincoln Center on February 25-28.

William D. Pederson, International Lincoln Center, “Abraham Lincoln and Mohandas Gandhi as Outsiders,” appeared in Anekaant, No. 2 (2014).

The Abraham Lincoln Society of Bangladesh held a program on April 15 regarding the assassinations of Abraham Lincoln, Mahatma Gandhi and Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the first president of Bangladesh.

“Lincoln,” a 15-year-old leopard, died on April 19 in Deer Park, in the Hirakud Wildlife Conservation Center in the Motijharan Conservation in Sambalpur located in Western Orissa, India.  He had been rescued when two months old from the Rairhakol jungle and became a major tourist attraction for thousands of tourists of all ages. News ran a story about him on April 19, “Lincoln in Eternal Sleep.”

William Blair, Penn State University, Richards Civil War Center, “Rebel Exploits in Canada,” appeared in the April 27 Washington Post.

The International Lincoln Center is organizing panels on Lincoln’s Legacy Abroad for the 32nd annual meeting of the Association of Third World Studies to be held in Denver on October 16-18.

The International Lincoln Center will co-sponsor the 17th annual international conference with the Forum on Contemporary Theory on December 21-24, 2014 in Goa, India.

The University Press of Florida has published Uncommonly Savage: Civil War and Remembrance in Spain and the United States by Paul D. Escott.

Arts & Entertainment

Sybil and Bill Forsythe sent a clipping from the February 12 Chicago Tribune with the recipe for the Mary Todd Lincoln Cake.  Mary made this vanilla almond cake for Abe while they were courting in Springfield, IL in 1840 and also in the White House 1861 to 1864:


1 cup almonds
1 cup butter
1 ½ cups sugar
2 ¼ cups all purpose flour
1 T baking powder
1 ¾ cups milk
6 egg whites
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Confectioners’ sugar

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Grease and flour two (2) 9 inch round cake pans or one Bundt cake pan.  Grind almonds into a course flour.  Cream butter and sugar until fluffy.  Sift flour and baking powder to mix them.  Fold in the dry flour mix with the butter and sugar alternating with milk.  Stir in the almond powder and mix well.

Beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form.  Add a pinch of salt for ease of stiffening.  Add vanilla extract.  Fold in the egg whites.  Pour into pans and bake for 30 minutes until knife is clean when inserted into cake.  Cool for 15 minutes before flipping out of the pan.  If layering use a jam filling.  Sift confectioners’ sugar for decoration.

Poet John Knoepfle had his “Abraham Lincoln Walks in the Morning” published in the February 27-March 5 Illinois Times:

meeting mr lincoln

here in springfield
that is to say the one in illinois
not a massachusetts town
on the eastern seaboard
no the one in illinois
where vachel lindsay imagined
the president walked at midnight

well he does as I can witness
only a week ago as I remember
yes early in april – I met him
on sixth street just to the south
where the old capitol is
it was in the morning though

will mrs lincoln be having
her strawberry levee soon
I said just to say something

he said why yes but you know
you have to wait on the season
yes you have to know
where the strawberries are growing
and when it is time for picking them

yes he said thoughtfully
you have to know when they are ready
and when they are not

I wished him the best of times
this one moment and forever
he touched the brim of his hat then
and said goodbye with a smile

I thought he might be going
for a roll call or a vote
sequestered in the capitol senate
or perhaps to tell country stories
all afternoon in his law office

but when I turned to wave
goodbye to this great man
I knew would be president one day
no one walked the streets
that cold morning in springfield

William Grimes (“Measuring America’s Shakespearean Devotion,” New York Times, March 20) describes the celebration of the 450th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s birth which includes a new publication from Library of America, Shakespeare in America: An Anthology From the Revolution to Now.  The 25-year period around the Civil War is described with John Quincy Adams as Desdemona having sex with Othello, Lincoln Reading MacBeth, and another president, Ulysses S. Grant, rehearsing the role of Desdemona at a military camp.  Grant did not get the role when it was performed in Corpus Christi, Texas, in 1846.

The Augustus St. Gaudens statue of Abraham Lincoln in Grant Park, Chicago, as well as near the Houses of Parliament, London, England, has been reproduced in resin.  Nine inches in height, they can be found on eBay.  They come in white ($40 – #321294871305) and bronze ($45 – #161205263484).

On March 29, Frank Durant of Shotgun Media Group screened D.W. Griffiths’ The Birth of a Nation at Rhode Island College with running commentary from Keith Stokes, Frank Williams, Thomas Zorabedian, Assistant Dean and Film Media Faculty at the University of Rhode Island, and Phil Palumbo of Rhode Island College.  The production will be edited and viewed on Facebook.


Linfield College, McMinnville, OR, is hosting the conference The Political Thought of Abraham Lincoln along with the traveling exhibit Lincoln: The Constitution and the Civil War from April 2 to May 16.  Leon Litwack spoke at the opening ceremony of the exhibit on April 3 and Ron White spoke on April 15.

The Oregon Historical Society in Portland is hosting the exhibit 2 Years, 1 Month: Lincoln’s Legacy from April 12 through October 6 with artifacts, photographs and documents from the Mary and Pete Mark Family Foundation Collection, the Shappell Manuscript Collection, and the Oregon Historical Society.

Vermilion County Museum Society, IL, is hosting the exhibit Lincoln in Illinois.

Props from the Steven Spielberg film Lincoln were on display at Union Station in Springfield, IL.  Lincoln: History to Hollywood, featuring the sets, furniture and costumes, will be on long-term exhibit.

The exhibition Bringing the Story of War to Our Doorsteps: Rediscovering Alexander Gardner’s Antietam Photographs was hosted through May 18 by the Clara Barton Missing Soldiers Office.

“Artifacts With a Life All Their Own” by Edward Rothstein appeared in the May 30 New York Times “Weekend Arts II.”  A photograph of the calling card left by John Wilkes Booth when he tried to visit Vice President Andrew Johnson just hours before assassinating Lincoln, “Don’t wish to disturb you,” accompanied the article.

Civil War Sesquicentennial

John Hanc wrote “Making Do Without Civil War Battlefield: for the March 20 New York Times, in which he discussed the Minnesota Historical Society’s contribution to the Civil War sesquicentennial.  The highlight is what Civil War veterans did after the war, instead of examining the actions of Minnesota soldiers during the war.  This is told through tours starting with Fort Snelling which is famous for its roles in the Dakota War or Sioux uprising in 1862.  It was also the Civil War portal for Minnesota where 25,000 men would pass through on the way to the front.

Jill Ogline Titus’s “An Unfinished Struggle: Sesquicentennial Interpretations of Slavery and Emancipation” appeared in the June 2014 Journal of the Civil War Era.

Awards and Prizes

Newsmax TV won a Telly Award for its Lincoln at Gettysburg, which began airing on November 19, 2013.

John Fabian Witt, author of Lincoln’s Code: The Laws of War in American History, received the Tom Watson Brown Book Award from the Society of Civil War Historians and The Watson-Brown Foundation for his book.

The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation honored Oscar-winning filmmaker Steven Spielberg with its Lincoln Leadership Prize on March 19.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton received The Order of Lincoln award in Chicago on May 3 during the 50th annual Convocation of the Lincoln Academy of Illinois.

Allen C. Guelzo was the recipient of the inaugural $50,000 Guggenheim-Lehrman Prize in Military History for his Gettysburg: The Last Invasion (A. Knopf, 2013).  The book also was the co-winner of the Lincoln Prize.  On May 14 he also accepted the Fletcher Pratt Award from the Civil War Round Table of New York for this book.

Elizabeth R. Varon received the Daniel M. and Marilyn W. Laney Book Prize of $2,000.00 at the Austin Civil War Round Table on June 26 for her Appomattox, Victory, Defeat, and Freedom.

James M. McPherson received the Bell I. Wiley Award from the Civil War Round Table of New York.  The Wiley Award cited McPherson for his “lifetime of contributions to the greater understanding of the American Civil War through research, publications and education in the classroom and in the public forum.”  Upon receiving the award, McPherson spoke to the Round Table on “The Rewards of Risk Taking: Two Civil War Admirals.”


Swann’s auction of “Printed & Manuscript African Americana” held on March 27 included Emancipation Proclamation prints that sold for $1,100 (a caligraphic rendering of Lincoln, 1865) (Eberstat 40), another caligraphic rendering of Lincoln as the Proclamation is printed within an elaborate border ($4,200) (Eberstat 48), and one that contains an engraved full-length portrait of Lincoln with the Proclamation to his left and right (Eberstat 45)—which sold for $3,200.  A signed print of a beardless Abraham Lincoln by Max Rosenthal (1833-1918) went for $2,400.  A rare “Copperhead” anti-Lincoln parody, circa 1863, “Black Republican Prayer,” sold for $1,875.  It sold for $80 at the 1952 Lincoln-Barrett sale (Lot 525).


A new sculpture of Abraham Lincoln graces the east entrance of the Alice Campbell Alumni Center at the University of Illinois-Urbana.  Created by Colorado artist Mark Lundeen, the sculpture shows Abraham Lincoln sitting comfortably on a bench, his well-known stovepipe hat upturned in his lap and notes for his second inaugural address in his hand.

The January 27 State Journal-Register in Springfield, IL, reported that for the first time in memory there was a break-in at the Lincoln Home National Historic Site.  Police found Jordan Clark inside the basement of the Lincoln Home on January 18.  Police think that Clark may have been attempting to steal copper wire from the heating and air-conditioning system.  A court ordered the 23-year-old man to pay restitution for any damage to the Lincoln Home upon his conviction of trespassing and criminal damage.

The Associated Press reported in February that historians believe they have unraveled the mystery of a cryptic note Abraham Lincoln penned in 1860.  While it does not identify the recipient by name and one section is redacted, researchers at the Papers of Abraham Lincoln project in Springfield, IL believe that Lincoln was writing to an ally to ask him to maintain a secret relationship with a political insider during the 1860 election campaign.  Lincoln enjoined his correspondent to “keep up a correspondence” with the person.  The Papers project staff used this phrase to run it through its searchable database to find several matches.  Republican Leonard Swett and Thurlow Weed, political boss of New York State, are two candidates as the recipient.

Maura Zurick profiled the Papers of Abraham Lincoln project, Springfield, IL, in the Chicago Tribune, February 16.  So far, the project has collected more than 97,400 pages from Lincoln’s court cases and other legal papers, 20,275 additional papers from his time in Illinois, and 77,325 presidential papers.  The letters are written by people from all walks of life.

A life-sized animatronic Abraham Lincoln was among the historical figures sold at auction on March 15 from the inventory of the American Civil War Wax Museum in Gettysburg.  As a result of extensive renovation, the museum unloaded dozens of historical figures, most made of vinyl, not wax.  Diorama contents, tapestries, furniture and books were all included.  A Southern plantation scene and the Lincoln-Douglas debates’ stop at Knox College in 1858 were also sold.  The wax museum will open later in 2014 as the Gettysburg Heritage Center with a focus on the town before, during and after the July 1863 battle.

The interior of the Lincoln Tomb Historic Site opened on April 1.  The tomb, in Springfield, IL, has been closed since December 1, 2013, while repairs were made for water damage.

Charles Finici is the new Executive Director of the newly restored Lincoln Pioneer Village and Museum in Rockport, IN.

Warren Greer is the director of the Kentucky Lincoln Heritage Trail, a project of the Kentucky Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission.  (

The 2014 Visitors Guide for Springfield, IL, features “Historic Lincoln Sites.”

Andy Newman wrote “New York Today: Searching for the Civil War” for the New York Times on April 8 (

The new Lincoln Heritage Museum of Lincoln College, Lincoln, IL, held its grand opening on April 26.

Attendance has drastically increased at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, up 7.7% over 2012.  Attendance was 313,744 through November 2013.  It is still 50% less than the maximum attendance during the Lincoln bicentennial year of 2009 when 603,860 visited the museum.

Ray Long and Maura Zurick reported in the Chicago Tribune on May 27 that Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan began a power play for the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum by introducing legislation that would establish the center as a free-standing state agency.  Opponents believe that it will become another patronage haven.  The article believes that the proposal would assist Eileen Mackevich, who is a friend of Madigan and currently executive director of the museum.  Mackevich is a long-time acquaintance of Stanley Balzekas, whose building houses Madigan’s Southwest Side office.  The House voted 84-29 to send the Madigan proposal to the Senate.

Senator Dick Durbin and Congressman Ray LaHood introduced and secured passage by Congress of an act creating the Abraham Lincoln National Heritage Area which covers 42 counties in Illinois.  Attorney Guy C. Fraker serves as Chairman of the Board.  The Lincoln National Heritage Area already has 200 Looking for Lincoln Wayside Exhibits.  The coalition is sponsoring a series of books, Looking for Lincoln in Central Illinois.  Two manuscripts have already been completed—Lincoln in Springfield and Lincoln in Mormon Country (both books will be published in 2015).  The guidebook to the 8th Judicial Circuit where Lincoln practiced will be published in 2016.

The June 2014 Civil War News reported the completed restoration of Building 20 at Fort Lesley J. McNair in Washington.  It is the only survivor of a federal penitentiary and is the site where the Lincoln assassination conspirators were tried and Mary Surratt was convicted and executed—the first woman hanged by the federal government.  The restored courtroom is where the original military trial was convened.  Nancy Jennis Olds wrote about it in “Restored Grant Hall Courtroom Recalls Conspiracy Trial.”

Books and Pamphlets

Harold Holzer’s Lincoln and the Power of the Press: The War for Public Opinion has been published by Simon & Schuster.

Prometheus Books has published David Alan Johnson’s Decided on the Battlefield: Grant, Sherman, Lincoln, and the Election of 1864.

A.J. Languth has written After Lincoln: How the North Won the Civil War and Lost the Peace (Simon and Schuster).

Thomas F. Schwartz and Thomas Cussans have written Abraham Lincoln: An Illustrated Life and Legacy (Thunder Bay Press).

The DeGolyer Library, Southern Methodist University, has published, in pamphlet, Abraham Lincoln: The Evolving Commander-In-Chief, presented by Frank J. Williams as a lecture at Southern Methodist University on September 12, 2013.

Kent State University Press’s third volume of Civil War History Readers, On Lincoln, edited by John T. Hubbell, has been published.  Contributions include: Otto H. Olsen (“Abraham Lincoln as Revolutionary”), Major L. Wilson (“Lincoln and Van Buren in the Steps of the Fathers: Another Look at the Lyceum Address”), Charles B. Strozier (“On the Verge of Greatness: Psychological Reflections on Lincoln at the Lyceum”), Douglas L. Wilson (“Abraham Lincoln, Ann Rutledge, and the Evidence of Herndon’s Informants” and “Abraham Lincoln and ‘That Fatal First of January’”), Mark E. Neely, Jr. (“Lincoln and the Mexican War: An Argument by Analogy”), Herman Hattaway and Archer Jones (“Lincoln as Military Strategist”), Ludwell H. Johnson (“Jefferson Davis and Abraham Lincoln as War Presidents: Nothing Succeeds Like Success”), Craig D. Tenney (“To Suppress or Not to Suppress: Abraham Lincoln and the Chicago Times”), Joseph George, Jr. (“‘A Catholic Family Newspaper’ Views the Lincoln Administration: John Mullaly’s Copperhead Weekly”), James A. Stevenson (“Abraham Lincoln on Labor and Capital”), Nicholas Parrillo (“Lincoln’s Calvinist Transformation: Emancipation and War”), Don E. Fehrenbacher (“Only His Stepchildren: Lincoln and the Negro”), Allen C. Guelzo (“Defending Emancipation: Abraham Lincoln and the Conkling Letter, 1863”), and William Hanchett (“The Historian as Gamesman: Otto Eisenschiml, 1880-1963”).

Civil War Sesquicentennial and Related Books

Allen C. Guelzo’s Gettysburg: The Last Invasion has been published in paper by Vintage Civil War Library.

ABC-CLIO has published, in six volumes, American Civil War: The Definitive Encyclopedia and Document Collection.

Samuel Willard Crompton is the author of The Handy Civil War Answer Book (Visible Ink Press).

Aaron Sheehan-Dean is editor of the Library of America’s final volume of the first-hand narrative of the war, The Civil War: The Final Year Told by Those Who Lived It.

A Companion to the Reconstruction Presidents, 1865-1881, has been edited by Edward O. Frantz (Wiley Blackwell).  Contributors include John F. Marszalek, Pamela K. San Filippo, William M. Ferraro, Ari Hoogenboom and Frank J. Williams.


The Fall 2013 Lincoln Herald included “The Arc of the Moral Universe: Theodore Parker: Herald of Freedom” by Lawrence Weber; “Stephen A. Douglas, Lawyer, Legislator, Register and Judge: 1833-1843” by Harry E. Pratt; and “Lincolniana” by Frank J. Williams.

The Journal of the Abraham Lincoln Association (Winter 2014) included D. Leigh Henson’s “Classical Rhetoric as a Lens for Reading the Key Speeches of Lincoln’s Political Rise, 1852-1856,” Travis McDade’s “F. Lauriston Bullard: Lincoln Scholar, Pulitzer Prize Winner, Book Thief,” and John M. Barr’s “Holding Up a Flawed Mirror to the American Soul: Abraham Lincoln in the Writings of Lerone Bennett, Jr.”

Rachel L. Swarns wrote about the New York draft riots of July 1863 for the March 17 New York Times (“After Deadly Draft Riots, Shared Experience Reshaped Families in Manhattan”).

The March Journal of the Civil War Era included Nicholas Marshall’s “The Great Exaggeration: Death and the Civil War,” Sarah Bischoff Paulus’s “America’s Long Eulogy for Compromise: Henry Clay and American Politics, 1854-1858,” and Craig A. Warren’s “Lincoln’s Body: the President in Popular Films of the Sesquicentennial.”

Andrew Delbanco reviewed Jerome Charyn’s I Am Abraham: A Novel of Lincoln and the Civil War in a review essay “The New Adventures of Abe” for the March 6 New York Review of Books.

The March-April Illinois Heritage included Erika Holst’s “Mystery of Leigh Kimball, Solved” with a newly discovered letter shedding light on the intimate friend of Mary and Abraham Lincoln.

Ron Beavers wrote “Civil War Heroes” for the April Maryland Line.

Richard Brookhiser wrote “Abraham Lincoln’s Cooper Union Address” for the Spring For the People: A Newsletter of the Abraham Lincoln Association, with Harold Holzer describing Lincoln’s process of writing the Cooper Union Address in the same issue.

Richard Striner and Frank J. Williams were interviewed by Lincoln Lore editor Sara Gabbard for the Spring issue on, respectively, “War Time Presidents: Lincoln, Wilson, FDR” and Part One of 1864 events.  James M. McPherson’s “Lincoln and the West,” his McMurtry Lecture at the Allen County Public Library, Fort Wayne, Indiana, on September 10, 2013, was also in this issue.

Fergus M. Bordewich wrote about the Fort Pillow massacre, “An Almost Forgotten Atrocity of the Civil War,” for the April 12-13 Wall Street Journal.

The Washington Post published “Civil War 150,” Chapter VIII: Spring-Fall 1864, on April 27.  “Grant Takes Command” was the cover story with contributions by Steve Vogel (“The Day ‘Old Jube’ Nearly Took Washington”), John H. Walsh (“On a Hot July Day, Bethesda Became a Battleground”), William Forstchen and Newt Gingrich (“At the Battle of the Crater, A Brilliant Plan is Bungled”), Mike Musick (“A Stealthy Slaughter”), John F. Marszalek (“‘In God We Trust’”), William Blair (“Rebel Exploits in Canada”), Robert Lee Hodge (“Spotsylvania”), Harold Holzer (“Lincoln’s Secret Memo”), Dana Shoaf (“The Day Lincoln Was Sick”), Waite Rawls (“The VMI Contingent”), and Frank J. Williams (“President Lincoln Under Fire”).  Joel Achenbach provided the centerfold piece, “Unknown Soldier,” about how Ulysses S. Grant “became a faded figure in American history,” with the Ulysses S. Grant Memorial on the west side of the Capitol as evidence.  Once the background for wedding photographs and group photographs of visiting school children, it has fallen into disrepair and now no one knows it’s there.

“Southern History in Periodicals, 2013: A Selected Bibliography” appeared in the May Journal of Southern History.

William Connery wrote “President John Tyler & the Confederacy” for the May Maryland Line.

Harold Holzer wrote about Ward Hill Lamon (“Lincoln’s Tough Guy”) for the June Civil War Times.

Gettysburg Magazine has announced the appointment of its new editor, Professor James S. Pula.  Published by the University of Nebraska Press, the periodical will contain peer-reviewed publication of articles and book reviews interested in the Gettysburg Campaign and the Gettysburg Address.

John Fabian Witt’s “Civil War Historians and the Laws of War” appeared in the June Journal of the Civil War Era.  Also included was Chandra Manning’s “Working for Citizenship in Civil War Contraband Camps.”


David Brion Davis, The Problem of Slavery in the Age of Emancipation, rev. by Charles H. Bogart, Civil War News (May 2014).

Brian R. Dirck, Abraham Lincoln and White America, rev. by William E. Hardy, Civil War History (June 2014).

Brian R. Dirck, Lincoln and the Constitution, rev. by R. B. Bernstein, The Lincoln Herald (Fall 2013).

Rae Katherine Eighmey, Abraham Lincoln in the Kitchen: A Culinary View of Lincoln’s Life and Times, rev. by Lisa Ennis, Library Journal (February 1, 2014).

Jason Emerson, Giant in the Shadows: The Life of Robert T. Lincoln, rev. by Hugh Boyle, The Lincoln Herald (Fall 2013).

Eric Foner, The Fiery Trial: Abraham Lincoln and American Slavery, rev. by Michael W. Fitzgerald, Journal of the Abraham Lincoln Association (Winter 2014).

Harold Holzer, The Civil War in 50 Objects, rev. by Henry S. Cohn, The Federal Lawyer (March 2014).

Harold Holzer, Lincoln and the Power of the Press: The War for Public Opinion, rev. by Allen Barra, Civil War Times (August 2014).

Harold Holzer and Sara Vaughn Gabbard, 1863: Lincoln’s Pivotal Year, rev. by Richard W. Etulain, The Lincoln Herald (Fall 2013).

Michael W. Kauffman, In the Footsteps of an Assassin, rev. by Frederick Hatch, Journal of the Lincoln Assassination (2014).

Gerard N. Magliocca, American Founding Son: John Bingham and the Invention of the Fourteenth Amendment, rev. by Burrus M. Carnahan, The Federal Lawyer (March 2014).

Stephen Mansfield, Lincoln’s Battle With God: A President’s Struggle With Faith and What it Meant for America, rev. by Sean A. Scott, Journal of the Abraham Lincoln Association (Winter 2014).

Louis P. Masur, Lincoln’s Hundred Days: The Emancipation Proclamation and the War for the Union, rev. by Tom Ryley, The Dispatch (May 2014); rev. by John W. Quist, Journal of the Civil War Era (June 2014).

Paul D. Moreno and Johnathan O’Neill, editors, Constitutionalism in the Approach and Aftermath of the Civil War, rev. by Jay Jorgensen, Civil War News (May 2014).

Jared Peatman, The Long Shadow of Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, rev. by Frank J. Williams, Civil War Times (August 2014).

Kevin Peraino, Lincoln in the World: the Making of a Statesman and the Dawn of American Power, rev. by Thomas A. Horrocks, Civil War News (May 2014).

John C. Rodrigue, Lincoln and Reconstruction, rev. by Wayne C. Temple, The Lincoln Herald (Fall 2013).

Glenn Schroeder-Lein, Lincoln and Medicine, rev. by Matthew Norman, Journal of the Abraham Lincoln Association (Winter 2014).

Thomas F. Schwartz and Thomas Cussans, Abraham Lincoln: An Illustrated Life and Legacy, rev. by Todd Volker, Illinois Times (January 2-8, 2014).

David O. Stewart, The Lincoln Deception, rev. by Steve Donoghue, Washington Post (December 23, 2013).

Wayne Vansant, Grant vs. Lee: The Graphic History of the Civil War’s Greatest Rivals During the Last Year of the War, rev. by Frank J. Williams, Civil War News (April 2014).

Elizabeth R. Varon, Appomattox: Victory, Defeat, and Freedom at the End of the Civil War, rev. by James Percoco, Civil War News (April 2014).

Frank J. Williams, Lincoln as Hero, rev. by Matthew Norman, Journal of the Abraham Lincoln Association (Winter 2014).



Wendy Allen and Elaine Henderson of Lincoln Into Art, Gettysburg, hosted a week-long fundraiser to benefit the Adams County Arts Council and the Gettysburg Fest.  Events included a cooking demonstration by Frank J. Williams with recipes from the Lincoln White House, Virginia Williams with her “Outback or Is This Trip Necessary?,” and Peter Carmichael, Director of the Civil War Institute, Gettysburg College.

Lincoln and Political Culture

Tom Emery wrote in the November 28-December 4, 2013 Illinois Times “Abraham Lincoln, the father of Thanksgiving.” On September 28, 1863, Sarah Josepha Hale, the 74-year-old editor of Godey’s Lady’s Book, wrote to President Lincoln urging him to declare “a day of our annual Thanksgiving made a National and fixed Union festival.”  It was important to have Thanksgiving held on the same day in all states.  While Lincoln had actually made several Thanksgiving proclamations during his administration, on November 28, 1861, he had ordered all government departments to shut down for a local day of thanksgiving, requesting national days of “humiliation, prayer, and fasting” on multiple occasions.  He also proclaimed thanksgiving for “signal victories” in the Union war effort in April 1862 and another on August 6, 1863.  But on October 3, 1863, Lincoln heeded Hale’s call.  He issued his own proclamation declaring the last Thursday in November “as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise.”  In 1863, that date would have also been November 26 as in 2013.  Secretary of State William Seward actually penned the words notwithstanding that almost all of Lincoln’s proclamations, speeches and letters were written by him.  Despite doubt about Lincoln’s religious faith, this proclamation makes repeated references to religion.  Phrases such as “watchful providence of Almighty God,” “the gracious gifts of the Most High God,” “our beneficent Father,” and “the Almighty Hand” are sprinkled throughout the document.  In 1941, Congress switched Thanksgiving from the last Thursday in November to the fourth Thursday of the month.

Historian Sam Wheeler, who spoke at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum on February 23 about Abraham Lincoln’s relationship with his black Haitian-born barber, presented an argument that this friendship strengthened Lincoln’s views against slavery and the extension of slavery in the territories.

Ron Grossman wrote “Was Polk the Putin of 1848?” for the March 23 Chicago TribuneGrossman says that Lincoln’s words against the Mexican War were much like President Obama’s words on Crimea today.  Lincoln called the Mexican War “unnecessary” and President Barack Obama rebuked Russian President Vladimir Putin for grabbing Crimea—supposedly to protect ethnic Russians.  As President James Polk saw it, justifying a declaration of war against Mexico in 1846, Mexico started the war by shedding “American blood on American soil.”  Lincoln insisted on seeing evidence of “whether the particular spot on which the blood of our citizens was shed was or was not at that time our own soil.”  This made him a pariah in his own Whig Party.  Grossman asks us to “recall the rhetoric of previous land grabs when listening to Putin’s explanations of Crimea.  In the twisted logic and patriotic gibberish you will hear echoes of the arguments long employed by powerful nations when chopping up weaker ones.”

President Barack Obama appeared on Zach Galiflanakis’ “Between Two Ferns” segment on Funny or Die.  Commentator and author Bill O’Reilly claimed that President Lincoln would never have done the “Funny or Die” segment.  But Obama disagreed.  “First of all, if you read back on Lincoln, he loved telling the occasional bawdy joke, and he went out among regular folks.”  O’Reilly called Obama’s appearance on Galiflanakis’ serial talk show, “a little desperate.”

The 50th anniversary of the 1964 World’s Fair was commemorated by the New York Times on April 20.  One of the articles, “Futuristic, but Outdated From the Moment it Opened,” by Charles McGrath mentioned that one of the two large attractions at the fair were Disney’s audio-animatronic robots and color TV.  One of those audio-animatronic robots was Abraham Lincoln and one of the readers remembered, “I remember going to the Illinois exhibit, and in the front was Lincoln sitting in a chair.  It was a very life like-looking statue, but clearly was not a real person.  Suddenly, this inanimate object stood up and started talking to us!  I was flabbergasted.  Absolutely did not expect that.  From Pat Taylor, 61, Evanston, IL.

The “Early Summer 2014” Daedalus Books catalogue features a colored illustration of President Abraham Lincoln with a book in his hands.


Katie Spindell, Chair of the 2015 Lincoln Funeral Coalition, reported that New Jersey-based Annin Flagmakers, a sixth-generation family business starting in 1847, presented a replica of the original flag made by Annin for Lincoln’s coffin.  Annin donated the 9-by-5-foot flag based on the original with 36 stars.  A fundraising event to assist in the Coalition’s efforts to replicate Lincoln’s funeral on May 2-3, 2015 was held on February 26.

Michael E. Ruane wrote on March 18 that Paul Taylor, of Columbia, MD, may have discovered two lost or forgotten photos of Abraham Lincoln’s funeral procession.  The first photograph shows the crowd outside of a church waiting for something to come down the street with white-gloved soldiers milling around and women in the garb of the mid-1800s.  In the second shot, some people have bowed their heads and men have removed their hats.  On the left, a large black object is disappearing along the street.  Taylor believes that these two photos are rare, long-forgotten images of Abraham Lincoln’s funeral procession in New York City.  Richard Sloan, an expert on the Lincoln Funeral in New York, believes these photographs are genuine and that the photographs were taken from the upper window of the studio of famed Civil War photographer Mathew Brady which was across the street from the church.

Anthony S. Pitch led a history walk in D.C. for the Smithsonian based on his book They Have Killed Papa Dead! The Assassination of Abraham Lincoln on April 15.

On June 17, Richard Sloan presented his multi-media talk, “You Are There at Lincoln’s N.Y.C. Funeral” at the East Meadow Public Library in East Meadow, NY.  On May 30, he gave the real story of Dr. Samuel A. Mudd at the same venue.

Frederick Hatch’s Journal of the Lincoln Assassination 2014 has been published by Autograph Press (P.O. Box 2616, Waldorf, MD 20604).  It includes Hatch’s “The Lincoln-Johnson Transition.”  Hatch’s The Lincoln Conspiracy Trial and Its Legacy will be published by McFarland & Co. this fall.

Works in Progress

John C. Waugh will present the Frank and Virginia Williams 31st Annual Abraham Lincoln Lecture, “Lincoln Ends the War,” on October 3 at Louisiana State University Shreveport.

The Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States, which began after Lincoln’s assassination in April 1865 for Union veteran officers to honor the fallen president, will host Lincoln in Cleveland 2015.  Featuring talks, breakfast and lunch, as well as a banquet, the coalition will celebrate President Abraham Lincoln and will include a parade in his honor on April 26, 2015.


Linda Turner, daughter-in-law of Justin Turner who was a well known Lincoln scholar and collector, died on October 19, 2013.  Her book, Mary Todd Lincoln: Her Life and Letters, co-authored with Justin G. Turner, was published by Knopf in 1972 and reissued in paperback in 1987.  Her book provided a window into the world of one of our most controversial First Ladies.

Martin E. Sullivan, who, as director of the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery from 2008 to 2012, pushed the museum past a reputation of staid works, died February 25.  He was 70.

Author’s Note

I want to thank Thom Bassett, Randal Berry, Roger Billings, Kenneth L. Childs, Aaron Crawford, Alice Dure, Sybil and Bill Forsythe, Harold Holzer, Richard Sloan, Tom Lapsley, Dave Leroy, William D. Pederson, Dennis E. Stark, Joseph Fornieri, Thomas Horrocks, Wayne C. Temple, Edward Steers, Jr., David J. Stiller, Jo Dzombak, Guy C. Fraker, Malcolm Garber, Mike Marlow, Ralph S. McCrea, William K. Miller, Tracey Minkin, David Warren, John Schildt, Philip W. Stichter, Thomas J. Trimborn, 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