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The Spoken Word and Group Activities

Harold Holzer was the banquet speaker for the Federation of Genealogical Societies at its annual meeting in Springfield, IL, on September 9.

Harry R. Rubenstein presented “Lincoln Treasures at the Smithsonian” on September 20 for the Lincoln Group of the District of Columbia.

On October 13, Orville Vernon Burton discussed Abraham Lincoln at the Milwaukee Civil War Round Table.

Nora Titone discussed her book “My Thoughts Be Bloody”: The Bitter Rivalry of Edwin and John Wilkes Booth at the Civil War Round Table of Chicago on October 14.

On October 18, David Hirsch and Dan Van Haften presented “Abraham Lincoln and the Structure of Reason” to the Lincoln-Davis Civil War Round Table in Alsip, IL.

Thomas Horrocks presented “James Buchanan and Abraham Lincoln: Presidential Leadership During a Time of Crisis” for the Lancaster Historical Society (PA) on October 21.

On October 21-22, the Wepner Symposium on the Lincoln Legacy and Contemporary Scholarship hosted The Civil War: Causes, Conduct and Consequences at the University of Illinois, Springfield, with Paul Poast (“Lincoln’s Gamble: How the Southern Secession Crisis Became the American Civil War”), Fred Greenstein (“Abraham Lincoln, Consummate Leader”), Chad Newswander (“Presidential Protection During the Lincoln Years”), Stewart Winger (“‘Do Crucify Their Feelings’: Lincoln’s Leadership as Kenosis and Tragedy”), Thomas E. Schneider (“The Issue of African-American Colonization During the Civil War”), Richard Lawrence Miller (“Executive Use of Mercenaries in Kansas Territory”), Shamira Gelbman (“Civil War and Race-Making in South Africa and the United States”), Matthew Holden, Jr. (“Lincoln and the Secession Crisis in Missouri”), and David Robertson led a round table discussion on the legacy of the Civil War.

The Salmon P. Chase School of Law of Northern Kentucky University hosted the symposium, Legal Heritage of the Civil War, on October 22 in Covington, KY.  Presentations included “Salmon P. Chase and the Nationalization of the Monetary System” by Dr. Roger D. Bridges; “The Homestead Act, Pacific Railroad Act and Morrill Act” by Professor Roger D. Billings, Jr.; “Military Trials of Terrorists: From the Lincoln Conspirators to the Guantanamo Inmates” by Frank J. Williams; “The Civil War Origins of the Modern Rules of War: Francis Lieber and Lincoln’s General Orders No. 100” by Professor Burrus Carnahan; and “Guantanamo Bay Detention Operations and the Third Geneva Conventions (GCIII)” by Colonel Mike Bumgarner.

Charles Lachman discussed his The Last Lincolns with the members of The Lincoln Club of Topeka at its meeting on November 1.

On November 5, the National Museum of Surveying, Springfield, IL, created Abraham Lincoln’s 1860 Election with a script by Tara McClellan McAndrew.

David Jolliff presented “Abraham Lincoln: A True American Hero?” on November 6 as the final Lincoln at the Library Lecture of 2011 for the Friends of the Allen County Public Library, Fort Wayne, IN.

Professor Jean Braden and Northern Virginia Community College – Alexandria hosted the Spirit of the Civil War on November 11.  Frank J. Williams presented the keynote address, “Abraham Lincoln–An Evolving Commander in Chief,” and Edna Greene Medford delivered “Lincoln and African American Freedom” for the luncheon address.  That evening the college presented the concert Spirit of the Civil War with the Alexandria Band, Mount Vernon Concert Band, NOVA Community Chorus, and the Arlington Children’s Chorus.  The Lincoln at the Crossroads Alliance (LATCRA) directed by Maria Elena Schacknies hosted this event as well as a Grand Ball commemorating the sesquicentennial of Abraham Lincoln’s 1861 Grand Review of the Army of the Potomac at Bailey’s Crossroads on November 12.  LATCRA organized a sesquicentennial commemoration review at the Fort Leslie J. McNair parade field on November 12 with remarks by the commanding general, military district of Washington, Major General Michael S. Linnington, and commander joint base Myer-Henderson Hall, Colonel Carl R. Coffman.  President Abraham Lincoln, portrayed by Lincoln Group of the District of Columbia member James Getty, delivered a few appropriate remarks, as did Ed Bearss and Frank J. Williams.  The entire program aired on C-SPAN as part of an eight-hour Civil War marathon reviewing events of 1861.

Joan Waugh presented “‘The Rebels are our Countrymen Again:’ U.S. Grant and the Meaning of Appomattox” as this year’s Fortenbaugh Lecture at Gettysburg College on November 19.

Actor-playwright Stephen Lang presented the keynote address at the Soldiers’ National Cemetery, Gettysburg, for the annual dedication day and remembrance day on November 19.  Peter Carmichael was the speaker at the Lincoln Fellowship of Pennsylvania luncheon later that day, where he spoke on “Southern Honor and the Election of Abraham Lincoln.”  Also on that day, Gabor Boritt discussed “Gettysburg Addresses Lincoln” at the Gettysburg Presbyterian Church.

The dinner meeting of the Lincoln Group of New York on November 22 featured Richard Sloan, who presented “The Witness and the Collector,” based on the 1901 correspondence between Louis Weichmann and Osborn Oldroyd.

Ed Steers, Jr. discussed his books and Bill O’Reilly’s recent book, Killing Lincoln: The Shocking Assassination That Changed America Forever, at the Berkeley Springs, West Virginia Holiday Book Festival on November 26.

The Historical Society of the Courts of the State of New York presented the Stephen R. Kaye memorial program, Lincoln, the Civil War, and Freedom of the Press: New York Divided, at the New York City Bar on November 30 with “Lincoln, the Civil War and Freedom of the Press” presented by Harold Holzer, followed by a round table discussion moderated by him, with Chief Judge (Ret.) of New York Judith S. Kaye and Judge John M. Walker of the U.S. Court of Appeals, 2nd Circuit, serving as panelists.  Judge Richard C. Wesley of the U.S. Court of Appeals, 2nd Circuit, presented “The Writ of Habeas Corpus.

David Smith delivered “The Presidents, The C.S.A., and Other Matters” at the December 6 meeting of the Lincoln Club of Topeka.

James I. (“Bud”) Robertson presented “The Untold Civil War” at the December 9 meeting of the Civil War Round Table of Chicago.

John O’Brien discussed “Lincoln Sights in Washington” at the December 15 meeting of the Lincoln Group of the District of ColumbiaLGDC President Burrus Carnahan interviewed Dr. Aaron Marrs at President Lincoln’s Cottage on December 1 to commemorate the 150th anniversary of Foreign Relations of the United States, the flagship publication of the Department of State’s Office of Historian.

On December 20, Stephen I. Vladeck discussed Ex Parte Merryman with the Lincoln Group of the District of Columbia.

James Swanson presented “Lincoln and Davis in Memory and Myth” at the annual dinner meeting of the Lincoln Club of Delaware, Wilmington.

The 20th Annual Civil War Education Association Civil War Symposium was held January 18-21, 2012 at the Helmsley Sandcastle Hotel, Sarasota, FL, with William C. “Jack” Davis, Edwin C. Bearss, Joseph T. Glatthaar, Harold Holzer, Robert K. Krick, David E. Long, John F. Marszalek, Richard M. McMurry, James I. “Bud” Robertson, Charles P. Roland, Jeffry D. Wurt, and Frank J. WilliamsCWEA founder Robert Maher hosted an anniversary reception.

U.S. Senator Richard J. Durbin was the Abraham Lincoln Association banquet speaker on February 12.  On February 11, James Oakes presented “The Emancipation Proclamation: Myths and Realities” at the University of Illinois, Springfield.  The ALA symposium was held once again at the Old State Capitol, Springfield, on February 12 with the theme, Lincoln Wages War, 1861-1862Ethan Rafuse discussed “‘On the progress of our arms’: Lincoln and the Conduct of the War in 1861-62,” Chandra Manning delivered “Uncle Abe and His Ideological Nephews: Why Even Soldiers Who Never Saw Lincoln Loved Him,” and Howard Jones delivered the Dr. Thomas F. Schwartz Lecture, “Lincoln’s Forgotten Craft: The Art of Diplomacy.”

On February 21, the South Holland Historical Society heard Bruce Allardice on “Lincoln as War Leader.”

Mark E. Neely, Jr. and William Cooper presented “Supreme Command–Lincoln and Davis” as part of the 2012 signature conference of the Virginia Sesquicentennial of the American Civil War Commission on March 22, 2012.

Charles Hubbard served as moderator, along with panelists Earl J. Hess, John Inscoe, and Steven Nash, for War in the Mountains hosted by the Abraham Lincoln Library and Museum, Harrogate, TN, on April 21.

International Legacy

The Exchange Club of Shreveport has donated a new entrance to the Lincoln Collection at the International Lincoln Center, LSU Shreveport.  The donation includes 28 plaques of documents from the National Archives.  They have been put on stained wood and mounted on the three hallway walls outside the Center.  The plaques include the Emancipation Proclamation, the Gettysburg Address, and Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address.

The International Lincoln Center organized a panel on “Lincoln’s Legacy in South America and Africa” at the annual meeting of the Association of Third World Studies on November 20-23 in Salvador da Bahia, Brazil.  Speakers were: Patricia Moral (Lincoln College, Argentina) on “The Legacy of Abraham Lincoln in Rio de La Plata”; Melinda K. Shepard (International Lincoln Center) on “Lincoln’s Legacy in Tanzania”; and Arturo Brahms (International Lincoln Center) on “Lincoln’s Legacy in the Ivory Coast.”  William D. Pederson (International Lincoln Center) chaired the panel.  He also arranged a tour of Collegio Lincoln, a private secondary school, in Salvador da Bahia, which had been the longtime capital of colonial Brazil.

The Centre for Contemporary Theory in Vadodara, India and the International Lincoln Center co-sponsored a conference on “Icons and Illusionists: The Role of Lawyer-Statesmen in Constitutional Democracy” at IIS University in Jaipur, India on December 21-23.  The program included Jyoti Tripathy, “Biopolitics in Antigone,” Piyush Raval, “A Hegelian Critique of Antigone,” B.S. Bini, “Billy Budd and the Polyvalence of Justice,” Mashrur S. Hossain, “La luta continua in Thiongo’s Petals of Blood,” Nikhil Moro, “Mohandas Gandhi,” Lajwanti Chantani, “The Nehrus,” M.B. Alam, “B.R. Ambedkar,” William Pederson, “M.A. Jinnah,” Frank J. Williams, “Abraham Lincoln,” Ronald Byrd and Manzur Alam, “Benito Juarez,” Melinda K. Shepard, “Lee Kuan Yew,” James Winchester, “Plato, Alcibiades and Clinton,” Ronald Byrd and M.V. Jha, “Mary Robinson,” Heath Kelly, “Mohamad ElBaradei” and Norman Provizer, “On Stagecraft and Power.”

Frank J. Williams, “Untold Civil War Stories: Lincoln’s Impact Abroad,” appeared on October 8 in the

Ford’s Theatre Society presented its Lincoln Medal to Lee Kuan Yew of the Republic of Singapore on October 18 at Ford’s Theatre.

A print of Mort Kunstler’s 2011 painting of Lincoln’s approval of the Lieber Code (General Orders No. 100) commissioned by the Alumni Association of the Judge Advocate General’s Legal Center and School, has been donated to the International Lincoln Center by one of its alumni.

Frank J. Williams reviewed Richard Carwardine’s and Jay Sexton’s, editors, The Global Lincoln for the Civil War Book Review (Fall 2011).

A host of new stamps and souvenir sheets from abroad with Lincoln’s image on them have been issued by Union Island, St. Vincent, Nevis, Sierra Leone, Togo, St. Vincent Grenadines (Mustique), Grenada, Palau, and Liberia.


A monument commemorating Abraham Lincoln’s speech at Janesville, Wisconsin, on October 1, 1859, was dedicated on October 7.  In announcing the dedication, The Lincoln Fellowship of Wisconsin credited the family of firefighter Vic Skelly for the memorial.

John Frank’s Prairie Lawyer was presented to the Lincoln Home National Historic Site, Springfield, on October 9.  Based on the late sculptor’s maquette, the bronze sculpture 33 inches in height was created by Berva Sadler Frank, the sculptor’s daughter-in-law.

Lincoln interpreter Steve Holgate performed his one-man play A. Lincoln at the Coaster Theatre in Cannon Beach, OR, on October 21 and 22.

The Alumni Association of the Judge Advocate General’s Legal Center and School – Army, located in Charlottesville, VA, commissioned a painting of General Orders No. 100, President Lincoln and the Lieber Code, April 1863.  The painting was presented to the Commanding General of the Judge Advocate General’s Legal Center and School in October.  Prints are available from the website or TJAGLCS Alumni Association, PO Box 5323, Barracks Road Station, Charlottesville, VA 22905.

Lionel, through its Lionel Railroader Club, is offering a Lincoln funeral train for $799 and supplemental Lincoln train passenger card add-on two-pack for $299.99.

Plans are under way for a life-size bronze statue of Abraham Lincoln to be placed at the Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery in Elwood, IL.  Don Walden, Chair of the Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery Support Committee, announced that a campaign has been initiated to raise $110,000 for the project.  Mary Owen wrote about these efforts in the September 28 Chicago Tribune. on November 30 published an article about actor Daniel Day-Lewis, who is portraying Lincoln in Stephen Spielberg’s movie about President Lincoln with a portrait of a bearded Daniel Day-Lewis dining at the Acacia Mid-town Restaurant in Richmond.  Filming on Lincoln, which stars Daniel Day-Lewis as the 16th president, and Sally Field as Mary Lincoln, started on October 9 in Richmond, VA.  Produced by Steven Spielberg, it is scheduled for release after November 6, 2012.

Carl Volkmann’s photo essay of “Illinois Civil War Monuments and Memorials” appeared in the November-December 2011 Illinois Heritage.

Edward Rothstein reviewed Richmond’s Museum of the Confederacy’s recent exhibit The War Comes Home in the December 6 New York Times.  Generally positive, the reviewer believes that the balance between those still loyal to the North and those who believed in the Confederate States of America demonstrates a “problem” in which “The Civil War … becomes merely a tragic clash of the two sides, each convinced of its virtue and fidelity to national ideals.  This is not an embrace of the Lost Cause, but it leaves us a war with no higher cause at all.”

Barry Newman in the December 10-11 Wall Street Journal wrote about the cultural and political difficulties involved in relocating the statue of Abraham Lincoln from Prospect Park in Brooklyn to the borough’s Grand Army Plaza as Lincoln would replace a bust of gynecologist Dr. Alexander Skene.

A compelling narrative about the nuances and dilemmas of the Civil War on the border between North and South has been portrayed in Liberty on the Border: The Civil War and the Ohio River Valley by the Cincinnati Museum Center, now on display through January 6 at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, Cincinnati, OH.  Mark Yost reviewed the exhibit in “Behind the Dividing Line of Slavery” for the Wall Street Journal.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York has recast its American Wing with new galleries for painting, sculpture and decorative arts.  Opening on January 16, it features galleries devoted to the American Revolution and the Civil War eras.  Carol Vogel reviewed the “Grand Galleries for National Treasures” in the January 6 New York TimesThe Met has just acquired a bronze statuette of Augustus Saint-Gaudens’s Standing Lincoln, just in time to occupy a place of honor in the new wing’s Civil War Gallery.  It was once owned by John Hay’s widow.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin for fall 2011, with contributions by Carrie Rebora Barratt, Lance Mayer, Gay Myers, Eli Wilner and Suzanne Smeaton, discussed the restoration of Washington Crossing the Delaware and the new American wing at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

The much awaited film Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter is expected to be released in June.  Lincoln is portrayed by Benjamin Walker who was so great at the Public Theater and then on Broadway as another president in the stage musical Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson.  This film is based on Seth Grahame-Smith’s nutty novel which mixes 19th century history and vampire hunting.  Lincoln learns that some of his relatives were killed by vampires and embarks on a mission to rid the country of the creatures.  In a spring interview with the New York Times, Mr. Grahame-Smith said “There’s something in the American psyche; we want our presidents to be warriors.  We’re giving that to Abraham Lincoln, sort of posthumously in this case.”

John J. Muth’s poster for the Library of Congress 2011 National Book Festival featured Abraham Lincoln as a segue into the Civil War Sesquicentennial.


Lincoln: The Constitution and the Civil War, with assistance from the Abraham Lincoln Library and Museum of Lincoln Memorial University, was hosted at the East Tennessee History Center, Knoxville, from November 2011 through May 2012.

Liberty on the Border: A Civil War Exhibit produced by the Cincinnati Museum Center was on display at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center from September 10, 2011 to January 6, 2012.

Civil War Sesquicentennial

Norwich, CT has created the Emancipation Proclamation Commemoration Committee to mark the 150th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s final Emancipation Proclamation issued on January 1, 1863 with plans for the re-enactment of the celebration, including church and tower bells to be rung for one hour and a 100-canon salute.  The committee is also planning to commission the first Emancipation Proclamation Commemoration Bell in the nation.

Awards and Prizes

Former Polish President Lech Walesa received the Fifth Annual Lincoln Leadership Prize from the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation on February 9 in Chicago.  Past recipients include retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Captain James A. Lovell, Jr., and Tim Russert.

Kate Masur has won the John T. Hubbell Prize for the best article published in Civil War History during 2010.  “The African American Delegation to Abraham Lincoln: A Reappraisal” appeared in the June 2010 issue.  The prize earns the recipient $1,000.  Named in honor of the former and longtime editor of Civil War History, John T. Hubbell, it is funded through the Kent State University Press.


The September 15 sale by Swann of the first part of The Eric C. Caren Collection included dispatches written by Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton by Lincoln’s bedside the night of April 14-15, 1865.  Estimated at between $12,000 and $18,000, they sold for $12,000 plus buyer’s commission.  A Currier & Ives Lincoln lithograph believed to be by Louis Maurer, Letting the Cat Out Of the Bag!!, estimated at between $250 and $350, sold for $960.  Clipped signatures of Lincoln, which used to sell for around $200 forty years ago, are now selling in excess of $1,000.  Two sold at Swann’s auction of autographs on November 3 for $1,320 and $1,800.

The Skinner Auction of Fine Books and Manuscripts, held on November 13 in Boston, featured the manuscript of the proposed constitutional amendment to end slavery as the resolution of the 38th Congress.  While President Lincoln signed some of these, this was not such a copy but it still sold for $225,150, well within the estimate of between $200,000 and $300,000.  An autographed letter signed by “A. Lincoln,” a response to Massachusetts Governor John Andrew, sold for $24,885 and a printed pamphlet of The Opinion of the Hon. Roger Brooke Taney, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the the United States, in the Habeas Corpus Case of John Merryman with an addendum in Taney’s hand adding another reason why he would grant the writ sold for $8,880.  A check cleared and signed by A. Lincoln, Springfield Marine & Fire Insurance Company, estimated at between $10,000 and $12,000, did not sell.  Congressman Abraham Lincoln’s copy of the Congressional Directory for the First Session of the Thirtieth Congress of the United States of America, signed “A. Lincoln” on the cover, sold for $13,035.

Part one of the sale of Lincoln assassination scholar Edward Steers, Jr.’s collection sold at Cowan’s auctions on December 2, 2011.  Items in the auction included a scythe that purportedly belonged to Thomas Lincoln and was used by Abraham Lincoln.  It sold for $4,700.


Ted Gregory wrote in the March 6 Chicago Tribune about St. Xavier Professor Graham Peck’s discovery of the October 6, 1854 issue of the Missouri Republican, which contained a 10,015 word account of a public exchange between Abraham Lincoln and U.S. Senator Stephen Douglas over the controversial Kansas-Nebraska Act proposed by Douglas.

The Raab Collection, Catalog 68, included Abraham Lincoln’s letter urging General George B. McClellan to advance across the Potomac.  It was the President’s last letter before relieving McClellan for his inactivity.  The cost: $100,000.

The Associated Press reported on November 13 that “copper thieves” removed a three-foot-long sword from the statue of a Civil War artillery officer from Abraham Lincoln’s tomb at Oak Ridge Cemetery, Springfield, IL.  The same sword was stolen more than a century ago.  The state promises to repair the statue.

David Benoit wrote “Cached at Huntington: Lincoln’s Last-Known Check” for the November 26-27 Wall Street Journal.  A facilities employee at Huntington Bank Shares in Cleveland, OH discovered the last check signed by President Lincoln on April 13, 1865 in the amount of $800 to “Self.”

The Rail Splitter is now an online journal and available at

Daniel Weinberg’s Abraham Lincoln Book Shop (357 West Chicago Avenue, Chicago, IL 60654) has published Catalog 169.

The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History offers for sale several posters, a History in a Box, and calendars that should interest readers.  These include the 2012 Calendar of the Civil War, History in a Box: The Civil War, History in a Box: Slavery and Abolition, History in a Box: American History–An Introduction, as well as the well-received History in a Box sets on Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War.  Posters include images of Abraham Lincoln, Frederick Douglass, Civil War scenes, and other documents and images from the Gilder Lehrman Collection (19 West 44th Street, Suite 500, New York, NY 10036)

Bruce Rushton discussed the future of the historic Great Western Depot in Springfield, IL, now owned by the State Journal-Register, in “Has Lincoln’s Train Left the Station?” for the December 1-7 Illinois Times.

The original Cook County court papers in Chicago, IL documenting Mary Todd Lincoln’s commitment to an insane asylum will be preserved at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield.  Previously unknown Black Hawk War documents written and signed by Captain Abraham Lincoln when he served in 1832 with an affidavit signed by him in 1855, have recently been discovered at the National Archives, Washington, with their authenticity confirmed by the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield.

Graphic Conservation Co. of Chicago has restored a hand-printed copy of the Congressional Resolution, which if passed by the states, would approve the 13th Amendment.  The 146-year-old document was signed by Lincoln and 143 congressmen.  A copy of the resolution was purchased in 1941 by the State of Illinois for about $3,000.  It has been returned to the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield, where it is now on display.

The 565-acre site of Fort Monroe, VA, scheduled to be closed through the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) Commission in 2012 and revert to the Commonwealth of Virginia has been designated a unit of the National Park Service by President Barack Obama.  Only one vestige of the army will remain and that is the casemate museum where Confederate President Jefferson Davis was held after his capture by Union troops at the end of the Civil War.  The designation as a national monument will prescribe the use the Commonwealth of Virginia can make of the property.

The National Park Service-Denver Service Center engaged in a “General Management Plan and Environmental Impact Statement” for the Lincoln Home National Historic Site.  The review included operational efficiency, rehabilitation of the historic Lincoln Home neighborhood, consolidated administrative facility, modern maintenance facility, new tutorial facility, new visitor facilities, and expanded interpreters and educational programs.

Ford’s Theatre previewed a part of its new Center for Education and Leadership located across the street from Ford’s.  Rising through the atrium is a three-story, 34-foot-tall installation featuring copies of thousands of books about Abraham Lincoln, with many of the jacket photographs coming from the Frank & Virginia Williams Collection of Lincolniana.

The 2011 catalog of the United States Capitol Historical Society explored the Capitol’s role during the Civil War as we observe the 150th anniversary.

Books and Pamphlets

Abraham Lincoln in Logan County, Illinois 1834-1860 by Paul J. Beaver with Phil Bertoni and Ron Keller, is available from the author (318 Peoria Street, Lincoln, IL 62656).

Walter Berns is the author of Lincoln at 200: Why We Still Read the Sixteenth President, which has been published by the American Enterprise Institute.

Abraham Lincoln, Esq.: The Legal Career of America’s Greatest President, edited by Roger Billings and Frank J. Williams, has been published in paper by the University Press of Kentucky.

Southern Illinois University Press has commenced publication of its Concise Lincoln Library with Abraham Lincoln and Horace Greeley by Gregory A. Borchard; Abraham and Mary Lincoln by Kenneth J. Winkle; Lincoln and the Election of 1860 by Michael S. Green; and Lincoln and the Civil War by Michael Burlingame.

Claiming Lincoln: Progressivism, Equality, and the Battle for Lincoln’s Legacy in Presidential Rhetoric by Jason R. Jividen has been published by Northern Illinois University Press.

Major essays on Abraham Lincoln, Ulysses S. Grant, and the Civil War have been gathered together by Glenn W. LaFantasie in The Union Forever: Lincoln, Grant and the Civil War with a foreword by Harold Holzer and Frank J. Williams (University Press of Kentucky).

A Secret Society History of the Civil War by Mark A. Lause has been published by the University of Illinois Press.

William Marvel’s Tarnished Victory: Finishing Lincoln’s War, the final work in a four-part series, has been published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

Joel Mieczkowski has written Lincoln and His Cabinet (PediaPress GmbH).

Lincoln and the Triumph of a Nation: Constitutional Conflict in the American Civil War by Mark E. Neely, Jr., has been published by the University of North Carolina Press.

Stephen B. Oates’ With Malice Toward None: A Biography of Abraham Lincoln–the standard one-volume biography of Lincoln–has been republished as a Harper Perennial as has Abraham Lincoln: The Man Behind the Myths.

Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard are the authors of the best-selling Killing Lincoln: The Shocking Assassination That Changed America Forever (Henry Holt & Company).

Old Hundredth Press has reprinted the Ohio Historical Society’s Lincoln and Ohio by Daniel J. Ryan.

Jonathan W. White is the author of Abraham Lincoln and Treason in the Civil War: The Trials of John Merryman (LSU Press).

Long Remembered: Lincoln and His Five Versions of the Gettysburg Address (originally published by the Library of Congress) and with commentary by Douglas L. Wilson, has been printed in a handsome edition by Levenger.

Civil War Sesquicentennial and Collateral Books

The late jurist Antonio Cassese served as editor-in-chief of The Oxford Companion to International Criminal Justice which includes a discussion of military tribunals and commissions.

Charles Bracelen Flood’s Grant’s Final Victory: Ulysses S. Grant’s Heroic Last Year has been published by Da Capo Press.

The Virginia Sesquicentennial of the American Civil War Commission has published Race, Slavery and the Civil War: The Tough Stuff of American History and Memory, edited by James O. Horton and Amanda Kleintop.

John C. Inscoe has edited The Civil War in Georgia-A New Georgia Encyclopedia Companion (The University of Georgia Press).

Anya Jabour has written Topsy-Turvy: How the Civil War Turned the World Upside Down for Southern Children, Ivan R. Dee, publisher.

The National Park Service has published The Civil War Remembered with contributions by James M. McPherson and Edward L. Eyers (“The United States on the Eve of the Civil War”), James Oliver Horton (“Confronting Slavery and Revealing the ‘Lost Cause’”), Ira Berlin (“Race in the Civil War Era”), Carol Reardon (“The Military Experience”), Peter S. Carmichael (“The Changing War”), Allen C. Guelzo (“Emancipation and the Quest for Freedom”), Thavolia Glymph and Nina Silber (“Women Amidst War”), Jean Baker (“The Civilian Experience in the Civil War”), Benjamin T. Arrington (“Industry and Economy During the Civil War”), Amy Murrell Taylor (“The Border States”), Gregory Paynter Shine (“The War and Westward Expansion”), Eric Foner (“Reconstruction”), Drew Gilpin Faust (“Death and Dying”), Rick Beard and Richard Rabinowitz (“The Legacy of the Civil War”), and David W. Blight (“The Civil War in American Memory”).


Tara McClellan McAndrew wrote “When Lincoln Held Office Hours in Springfield” for the September 1-7 Illinois Times.

“Classroom Extra” for the September 22 New York Post discussed Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation as the “beginning of the end of slavery.”  Robin Wallace correctly contends that, despite the limits of the proclamation, it made eradication of slavery a moral issue, “dramatically changing the way Americans thought about slavery….”

David H. Leroy authored “The Incredible Collectible: Lincoln’s Inscribed Debates” in the fall For the People: the Newsletter of the Abraham Lincoln Association.

Jason Emerson provided “Mary Lincoln: An Annotated Bibliography Supplement” for the fall Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society.

Frank J. Williams wrote the “Preservation News” column for the October Civil War News, “The Civil War is Always With Us.”

“Clara Barton” by Kevin Patti appeared in the October Maryland Line.

Emily Kendall’s “Because of ‘His Spotless Integrity of Character’: The Story of Salmon P. Chase: Cabinets, Courts, and Currencies” appeared in the September 12 issue of the Journal of Supreme Court History.

Patrick Teegarden wrote “Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation: Beginning of the End of Slavery in the Union” for the Colorado Statesman ( on October 12.

Sara Gabbard, editor of Lincoln Lore, interviewed author Robert Bray about his Reading With Lincoln for the fall issue.  Phillip C. Stone provided “Abraham Lincoln’s Virginia Roots” for the same issue.

Bruce Levine wrote “‘The Vital Element of the Republican Party’: Anti-slavery, Nativism, and Abraham Lincoln,” Rachel A. Sheldon wrote “Messmates’ Union: Friendship, Politics, and Living Arrangements in the Capital City, 1845-1861,” and professional notes were prepared by Brian Kelly & John W. White on “The After Slavery Website: A New Online Resource for Teaching U.S. Slave Emancipation” for the December Journal of the Civil War Era.

Douglas L. Wilson wrote “His Hour Upon the Stage” about Abraham Lincoln’s reservations about how Shakespeare’s plays were presented (The American Scholar, winter 2012).

Carmen Cumming wrote “Thoughts on Judge Advocate General Holt” for the January Surratt Courier.

The January 2012 North & South featured “One Country, One Destiny: Abraham Lincoln’s First Inaugural Address” by Mark E. Neely, Jr., “Silent Leges Inter Arma: The Military Trial of the Lincoln Conspirators: A Lesson for Today” by Edward Steers, Jr., and “‘Where the President’s Heart Is’: Lincoln’s Message to Congress, March 6, 1862” by Louis P. Masur.


Al Benson, Jr. and Walter Donald Kennedy, Lincoln’s Marxists, rev. by Allen C. Guelzo, Civil War News (December 2011).

Roger Billings and Frank J. Williams, editors, Abraham Lincoln, Esq.: The Legal Career of America’s Greatest President, rev. by Jonathan W. White, Ohio Valley History (summer 2011); rev. by David Ray Papke, Indiana Magazine of History (June 2011).

Burrus M. Carnahan, Lincoln on Trial: Southern Civilians and the Law of War, rev. by David Ray Papke, Indiana Magazine of History (June 2011).

Richard Carwardine and Jay Sexton, editors, The Global Lincoln, rev. by James MacDonald, Civil War News (December 2011).

A.E. Elmore, Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address: Echoes of the Bible and Book of Common Prayer, rev. by Patricia Ann Owens, Civil War History (December 2011).

Richard W. Etulain, editor, Lincoln Looks West: From the Mississippi to the Pacific, rev. by Kristin K. Epps, Civil War History (December 2011).

Amanda Foreman, A World on Fire: Britain’s Crucial Role in the American Civil War, rev. by James M. McPherson, The New York Review of Books (July 14, 2011); rev. by Maya Jasanoff, The New Republic (October 6, 2011); rev. by Ryan W. Keating, America (December 12, 2011).

Gary W. Gallagher, The Union War, rev. by James M. McPherson, The New York Review of Books (July 14, 2011).

David Goldfield, America Aflame: How the Civil War Created a Nation, rev. by James M. McPherson, The New York Review of Books (July 14, 2011).

Adam Goodheart, 1861: The Civil War Awakening, rev. by James M. McPherson, The New York Review of Books (July 14, 2011); rev. by Michael Wolf, The Dispatch (November 2011).

Winston Groom, Vicksburg, 1863, rev. by John Marszalek, The Journal of the Civil War Era (December 2011).

William C. Harris, Lincoln and the Border States: Preserving the Constitution, rev. by Edward Bonekemper, Civil War News (December 2011).

Chester G. Hearn, Lincoln, the Cabinet and the Generals, rev. by Carl J. Guarneri, The Journal of Southern History (November 2011).

Jackie Hogan, Lincoln, Inc.: Selling the 16th President in Contemporary America, rev. by Randall M. Miller, Library Journal (November 2011).

Harold Holzer, Craig L. Symonds and Frank J. Williams, editors, The Lincoln Assassination: Crime and Punishment, Myth & Memory, rev. by Kate Clifford Larsen, The Journal of American History (September 2011); rev. by S. Chandler Lighty, Indiana Magazine of History (2011).

Anya Jabour, Topsy-Turvy: How the Civil War Turned the World Upside Down for Southern Children, rev. by Victoria E. Ott, The Journal of the Civil War Era (December 2011).

Jason R. Jividen, Claiming Lincoln: Progressivism, Equality, and the Battle for Lincoln’s Legacy in Presidential Rhetoric, rev. by David Zarefsky, Journal of Illinois History (spring 2011).

James Lander, Lincoln and Darwin: Shared Visions of Race, Science, and Religion, rev. by Jean H. Baker, Civil War History (December 2011).

Phillip W. Magness and Sebastian N. Page, Colonization After Emancipation: Lincoln and the Movement for Black Resettlement, rev. by Michael Vorenberg, Journal of Illinois History (spring 2011); rev. by Kate Stephen Prince, Civil War History (December 2011).

Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard, Killing Lincoln: The Shocking Assassination That Changed America Forever, rev. by Peter Boyer, Newsweek (September 26, 2011); rev. by James A. Percoco, Civil War News (December 2011).

George C. Rable, God’s Almost Chosen Peoples: A Religious History of the American Civil War, rev. by James M. McPherson, The New York Review of Books (July 14, 2011); rev. by Paul Harvey, The Journal of the Civil War Era (December 2011).

Adam Tuchinsky, Horace Greeley’s “New-York Tribune”: Civil War-Era Socialism and the Crisis of Free Labor, rev. by Richard R. John, The Journal of the Civil War Era (December 2011).

Kenneth J. Winkle, Abraham and Mary Lincoln, rev. by Theresa McDevitt, Library Journal (December 2011).


Civil War Institute director Peter S. Carmichael reports that the staff at the CWI has been reorganized with two new administrative positions succeeding longtime Administrator Tina Grim.  A search is on for individuals with academic training who will teach in the History Department in the Civil War Era Studies program at Gettysburg College and will also help develop content for programs and conferences.

John Eden, owner of the Long Nine Museum, Athens, IL, for 23 years, is looking for a successor-owner.

Ed Steers, Jr. was featured in the December 7 Morgan (West Virginia) Messenger on his criticism of Bill O’Reilly’s Killing Lincoln: The Shocking Assassination That Changed America Forever.

Lincoln in Popular Culture

A “black Republican” effigy doll of Abraham Lincoln for use by his critics to stab with pins was the artifact of the month in the Treasures Gallery at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield.  Theresa Schieffer discussed the doll in “An Artifact of Hatred” for the September 4 State Journal-Register (Springfield).

E.J. Dionne, Jr. wrote “Taking Lincoln’s Direction” for the October 20 Washington Post and suggests that President Obama follow the example of moderate Abraham Lincoln by using the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations to become bolder in his policy.  By addressing “the injustices of our time, Obama could also come to occupy the high ground” seized by Abraham Lincoln when he changed the goals of the Civil War from reunion to reunion and emancipation.  After all, Lincoln promised to leave slavery alone in his first inaugural address – at least where it then existed, but changed his view as it became clear that he had to move against the “peculiar institution.”

Stephen McLaughlin writes in the September 18 Washington Post that after much Republican opposition over a long period of time, President Obama “is now unfavorably, and unfairly, compared to President Abraham Lincoln for failing to offer a sufficiently ‘extraordinary’ economic proposal.”  According to McLaughlin, the opposition to Lincoln in the 1860s was not his domestic policies of a transcontinental railroad or land-grant universities but “his notion of extending human rights to all Americans.”  Democrats during Lincoln’s time in office attacked him much the way Republicans attack the current president.  President Obama is trying to find that “elusive combination of measures, as did Lincoln, that can become law and make a difference.”  This is not unlike what Abraham Lincoln tried and accomplished in the 1860s.  But Michael Gerson, also in the Washington Post, on September 13, believes that President Obama is “failing the Lincoln test.”  President Obama cited Lincoln as looking to the future as well as saving the Union during the Civil War.  According the author, “Obama still looks awkward in the stovepipe hat” as Lincoln supported “entrepreneurial capitalism.”  Abraham Lincoln achieved and asserted a balance of interests between the workers and the wealthy.  He would wage no war against capital.  Obama’s response to the serious economic crisis was “utterly ordinary.”  His failure to follow the Simpson-Bowles Deficit-Reduction Commission caused three years of budget deficits exceeding $1 trillion and brought about a bitter national argument on the size of government.  Unlike Lincoln, Obama has been unable, “to think anew and act anew–and so fails the Lincoln test.”

E.J. Dionne, Jr., in remembering 9/11 in the September 8 Washington Post, believes there is no option but to look forward and cites Abraham Lincoln who opined at Gettysburg that the best we could do after honoring the courageous men who fought and died there was to seek “a new birth of freedom.”

The aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln departed Naval Station Everett, WA, where it has been based for almost fifteen years.  The aircraft carrier served in the Middle East before returning to Newport News, VA, to refuel its nuclear reactors.

In 1863, Abraham Lincoln revived the presidential tradition of delivering a Thanksgiving proclamation.  Subsequent presidents have followed suit.  Lincoln’s proclamation was reprinted in full by the Portland Tribune on November 24.

As reported by the “Pop Chart” in the December 5 Time, 89% of Wisconsin residents view quarterback Aaron Rodgers as having a perfect season with the Green Bay Packers and only Abraham Lincoln at 91% and Jesus at 90% bested his percentage when the same question was asked nationwide.

Cartoonist Jack Ohman, in The Oregonian on December 8, pictures Donald Trump as moderator at a Lincoln-Douglas debate with Trump telling Lincoln, “You’re a loser and a joke, you’ve got no chance and are trailing in Illinois…”  The caption below reads “Trump Debate – All Klass!”

Douglas Belkin wrote in the December 13 Wall Street Journal that presidential candidate Newt Gingrich would like to challenge President Barack Obama to a series of Lincoln-Douglas-style debates with Republican voters applauding the idea.  The Lincoln-Douglas-style debate would allow candidates to make their points at length with relatively little involvement of a moderator.  On Monday, December 12, Gingrich engaged GOP rival Jon Huntsman, Jr. using such debate style.  A moderator suggested a topic and then let the candidates talk for about five minutes without follow-up questions.

Cartoonist Thomas Nast, whose anti-slavery political cartoons gave him fame in the 19th century, has again caused controversy in his home state of New Jersey.  His anti-Irish and anti-Catholic drawings should disqualify him from the New Jersey Hall of Fame, insist many New Jerseyans, as he continually depicted them in an unfavorable light.  Heather Haddon wrote about this in the December 14 Wall Street JournalDon Jay Smith, the Executive Director of the Hall of Fame, said that “no ‘reputable’ historian has discredited the cartoonist as a bigot.”  Nast is credited with the downfall of Tammany Hall leader Boss Tweed.  In 1902, President Theodore Roosevelt appointed the artist Consul General to Ecuador, where he died after contracting yellow fever.

Curt Levey’s op-ed, “Gingrich vs. Judicial Activism,” in the December 23 Wall Street Journal, mentioned the former Speaker’s proposal to follow what Abraham Lincoln put forth in his First Inaugural Address.  He stated that, “in certain circumstances, the holdings of Supreme Court decisions should be limited to the litigants in a case, and not be held to apply as a general controlling standard.”  Lincoln was referring to the Dred Scott decision denying any rights to African Americans whether free or not.  It has long been recognized as “outrageous judicial activism–as binding on the executive branch.”  Levying Gingrich’s argument goes to the shift in the balance of power to the judiciary.

A review of “The Iron Lady,” starring Meryl Streep as Margaret Thatcher, by Charles McGrath in “Arts and Leisure” for the New York Times on December 25, explained how Ms. Streep researched her part carefully enough “to learn what Mrs. Thatcher carried in her handbag: 3-by-5 cards with adages by Kipling, Shakespeare, Abraham Lincoln, and Disraeli.”


On November 22, Richard Sloan presented before the Lincoln Group of New York his two-man play about Louis Weichmann and Osborn Oldroyd.  Weichmann was the chief witness for the government in the trial of the Lincoln conspirators.  Oldroyd was a Lincoln admirer whose fabulous collection was on display in the house where Lincoln died before the government purchased it.  The play, entitled “The Witness & the Collector,” takes place in the house during the summer of 1901, when Weichmann visited Oldroyd so that he could be given a tour of Oldroyd’s museum and discuss the books each man was then writing.  Sloan played Weichmann, and John Howard portrayed Oldroyd.  The play dramatizes Sloan’s concept of what the men talked about, with direct quotes from their correspondence and their published writings.  It delves into whether or not Mary Surratt and Weichmann were implicated in any of John Wilkes Booth’s schemes.  Sloan and Howard are not actors and had to read from scripts, but reportedly did a credible acting job nevertheless, and utilized stage blocking and props.  Those in attendance also received facsimiles of Oldroyd’s ticket of admission to his museum.  Invitations to present the play for history groups, museums, and libraries are welcome.  Contact for details.

The Surratt Society will host Law and Order, L.A. Lincoln Assassination from March 16 to 18, 2012, with David C. Keehn (“Knights of the Golden Circle and the Abduction/Assassination of Abraham Lincoln”), Frederick Hatch (“Protecting President Lincoln”), Wesley Harris (“Tools of the Assassins”), Barry Cauchon and John Elliott (“Through the Lens of Alexander Gardner”), Arthur T. Downey (“Reverdy Johnson: The Little Known Legal/Political Giant”), Elizabeth D. Leonard (“Lincoln’s Forgotten Ally: Judge Advocate General Joseph Holt of Kentucky”), and producer Tom Jennings (“The Hunt for John Wilkes Booth: Behind the Scenes Making Documentary Television”).

Bill O’Reilly’s Killing Lincoln: The Shocking Assassination That Changed America Forever, written with Martin Dugard, with over one million copies in print and seven weeks on the New York Times combined book and e-book bestseller list, has been banned from the bookstore of Ford’s Theatre National Historic Site.  But the Ford’s Theatre Society, which operates the theater in partnership with the National Park Service, will continue to sell the book in its gift shop in the lobby.  The deputy superintendent of Ford’s Theatre National Historic Site, Rae Emerson, cited factual errors and the lack of documentation.

Protecting President Lincoln: The Security Effort, The Thwarted Plots and the Disaster at Ford’s Theatre, Frederick Hatch, has been published by McFarland.

Works in Progress

Jason Emerson’s Giant in the Shadows: The Life of Robert T. Lincoln will be published by Southern Illinois University Press in February 2012.

Thomas A. Horrocks, President James Buchanan and the Crisis of National Leadership will be published by Nova Science Publishers, Inc.

Harold Holzer is completing work on his new Uncivil Wars: The Press in the Age of Lincoln for Simon & Schuster.

David Hirsch and Dan Van Haften, authors of Abraham Lincoln and the Structure of Reason, have produced a new book – this time examining the geometric patterns used by President Barack ObamaSavas Beatie will publish Barack Obama, Abraham Lincoln, and the Structure of Reason.

Author’s Note

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 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