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The late fall of 2012 and the early winter of 2013 will be remembered as the season of Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln—arguably the best, and certainly the most successful, Abraham Lincoln biopic of all time.  As this edition of “Lincolniana” went to press, the film had earned $200 million in box office receipts, had won or been nominated for a slew of industry awards, had stimulated a new Disney website and an array of companion books, and had nudged Doris Kearns Goodwin’s Team of Rivals, which inspired the film, to its third separate run on the best-seller lists.  By any account, the Spielberg movie represented a cultural phenomenon, and put Abraham Lincoln back at the top of the news in all media.  Reports on the film and its impact appear throughout this report.

The Spoken Word and Group Activities

The Papers of Abraham Lincoln project, in September, hosted the Fifth Annual Civil War Study Group Symposium entitled Abraham Lincoln and the Intersection of War and Society at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library, Springfield.  The conference included some 30 presentations and a discussion of A People’s Contest in honor of its author, the late Phillip S. Paludan.

On September 17, the National Endowment for the Humanities commemorated the Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation with a ceremony at the Lincoln Memorial that included music and readings of Abraham Lincoln’s executive order freeing slaves.

James M. McPherson discussed his War on the Waters at the latest virtual book-signing at the Abraham Lincoln Book Shop on September 27.  Richard Slotkin appeared on October 5 and Jon Meacham on December 6.

James M. McPherson discussed his War on the Waters on September 28 at the Union League Club of Chicago and at the Pritzker Military Library, Chicago.  On September 29, he presented his talk to the Kenosha Civil War Museum, Kenosha, WI.

“The Insanity Retrial of Mary Lincoln” which played on October 1 at the Union Theater, Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, was narrated by former Illinois Governor Jim Edgar.  The jurors in this trial voted against committing the First Lady, unlike the jurors in her real Chicago trial held in 1875, when she was judged insane and placed in a Batavia, IL, sanitarium.

Chris Breiseth was the guest preacher who delivered “Moral Presidential Leadership: Lincoln & FDR” at the First Presbyterian Church of Springfield, IL, on October 7.

Frank J. Williams presented “Lincoln and Leadership” at the opening of the exhibit, Lincoln: The Constitution and the Civil War, at the Slater Memorial Museum, Norwich, CT, on October 10.

Mary Stockwell presented “Abraham Lincoln in the Lives of Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson” as the 18th Annual Frank and Virginia Williams Abraham Lincoln Lecture at Louisiana State University Shreveport on October 20.

The 127th Congress of the Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States (MOLLUS) was held in Rhode Island from October 19-21, 2012.  Frank J. Williams presented the keynote address on Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation on October 20.

The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, hosted Proclaiming Emancipation on October 26.  Presentations included “Fugitive Slaves, Military Intelligence, and Civil Rights Before the Emancipation Proclamation” (Kate Masur); “Emancipation’s Hidden Legacy: Lincoln and the Laws of War” (John Fabian Witt); “Lincoln, Emancipation, and the Making of a Modern Liberal State” (William Novak and Stephen Sawyer); “‘Negro Outlaws’: Enslaved Women’s Proclamations of Emancipation” (Thavolia Glymph); “August 8, 1861: Emancipation Begins” (James Oakes); “The Emancipated: A Stateless People with Rights” (Michael Vorenberg); and “Emancipation’s Encounters: Seeing the Proclamation Through Soldiers’ Sketchbooks” (Martha S. Jones).  Eric Foner presented the keynote address, “Lincoln’s Emancipation.”

Wayne C. Temple presented “Ensign Thomas Lincoln in the Kentucky State Militia” at the October 29 meeting of the U.S. Daughters of 1812, Sangamon, IL, River Chapter.

Thomas Horrocks delivered “Abraham Lincoln’s 1860 Campaign Biographies and the Lincoln Image” at the John Hay Library, Brown University, on November 1.

The City of Norwich, CT, Emancipation Proclamation Commemoration Committee hosted the panel The Lincoln Legacy: From Political Crisis to Emancipation with panelists Burrus Carnahan, Michael Vorenberg, and Matthew Warshauer on November 1.  Frank J. Williams moderated.

Harold Holzer spoke about “Lincoln and Liberty: Re-assessing the Preliminary Emancipation in the Age of Spielberg” at the New York State Museum, Albany, on November 9, at the State Museum of Pennsylvania at Harrisburg on January 11, and at the New-York Historical Society’s Weekend With History, January 18, in Palm Beach, FL.

Philip Stichter presented “Lincoln and Ohio: His Friends and Foes” on November 11 at the Kelton House Museum & Garden, Columbus, OH.

Steven Hahn delivered the 51st Annual Robert Fortenbaugh Memorial Lecture on November 19 at the Civil War Institute of Gettysburg College.

Steven Spielberg, director of Lincoln, presented the address at the Dedication Day ceremonies on November 19 at the Soldiers’ National Cemetery, Gettysburg.  He was introduced by Harold HolzerDoris Kearns Goodwin also spoke at the ceremony.  “I’ve never stood anyplace on earth where it’s easier to be humble than here,” the Associated Press reported Mr. Spielberg saying.  To Spielberg, Lincoln had come to seem like one of his oldest and dearest friends and that he lived in the presence of his “eloquent ghost…Lincoln wanted us to understand that equality was a small-democratic essential,” describing Lincoln’s address as “his best and truest voice” and the “most perfect prose poem ever penned by an American.”

Joseph Fornieri was the luncheon speaker at the Lincoln Fellowship of Pennsylvania meeting on November 19.

Thomas Craughwell spoke at the Lincoln Group of New York on November 29 (“Stealing Lincoln’s Body”).

Ed Bearss led a Smithsonian Associates tour to Harper’s Ferry and Antietam on December 1 (“Mr. Lincoln at Harper’s Ferry and Antietam”).  On December 16 he led a group to Gettysburg (“Mr. Lincoln’s Trip in November 1863”).  On November 3 he led Smithsonian Associates on a tour of “Mr. Lincoln’s Civil and Political Washington.”

Frank J. Williams delivered the keynote address on “This Glorious Day” commemorating Abraham Lincoln’s final Emancipation Proclamation, Norwich, CT, January 1, 2013.

The Lincoln Group of the District of Columbia hosted The Emancipation Proclamation: Past, Present and Future on January 5, 2013 at the Martin Luther King, Jr., Memorial Library, Washington, with Eric Foner, Edna Greene Medford, and Lucas Morel presenting.

On January 6, 2013, Frank J. Williams presented his “Emancipation and Rhode Island” at the Babcock Arnold House, Westerly, RI.

Stephen L. Carter, author of The Impeachment of Abraham Lincoln, a Novel, was the February 12, 2013 banquet speaker of the Abraham Lincoln Association.

John Marszalek delivered the 81st Annual Watchorn Lincoln Dinner Lecture, “Lincoln and Grant,” at the University of Redlands on February 12, 2013.

Louis Masur presented “Spielberg’s Lincoln: Fact or Fiction” at the One Day University on February 17, 2013 in New York City.

Recent programs at the Massachusetts Historical Society included Len Gougeon discussing “America’s Second Revolution: New England, Old England, & the Civil War” on January 19, 2013; Peter Drummey discussing Edward Everett’s speech at Gettysburg, “The Real Gettysburg Address” on January 25, 2013; Martha Hodes with “Mourning Lincoln: Shock, Sorrow, Anger, & Glee in the Archives” on March 3, 2013; and John Stauffer with “Massachusetts & the Civil War in Black & White: the Commonwealth’s Role in Secession, Emancipation and Reconstruction” on March 4, 2013.  From March 4 to March 6, the MHS hosted a conference Massachusetts and the Civil War: the Commonwealth and National Disunion.

The Civil War and Reconstruction Area of the Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association held its national meeting March 27-30, 2013, with the theme American Civil War and Reconstruction.

International Legacy

The International Lincoln Association at Louisiana State University Shreveport published Volume 23 of Abraham Lincoln Abroad (2013) with “The Shadow of Lincoln in Afghanistan” by William D. Pederson and Samuel D. Goode, “Dale Carnegie and Abraham Lincoln.  The Odd Couple?” by K. Renae Pullen, “The Legacy of Abraham Lincoln on Czechoslovakia and its Leader Thomas Masaryk” by Joe Sherwin, and “The Not So Mysterious Island” by John S. Larry, II.

Da Capo Press has republished Lincoln: A Foreigner’s Quest by Jan Morris.

The Association of Third World Studies annual conference was held at Berry College in Georgia on October 11-13.  It featured two Lincoln related panels.  The first on “Lincoln’s Legacy in the Third World” had presentations by seven participants from the International Lincoln Center: Chris Cannatella (“Lincoln’s Legacy in Egypt”); Joseph Eades (“Lincoln’s Legacy in Malawi’); William D. Pederson and S. David Goode (“Lincoln’s Legacy in Iran”); William Eades (“Lincoln’s Legacy in Algeria”); Kris Chatara (“Lincoln’s Legacy in the U.A.E.”); and Eduardo Hernandez (“Lincoln in Mexico”).  The second was on “Lawyers-Statesmen and Constitutional Democracy” featuring Melinda Shepard (“The Uruguay Case”) and William D. Pederson and S. David Goode (“M. Jennah in Pakistan”).

Zayed Hasan (East West University, Bangladesh) and William D. Pederson (International Lincoln Center) presented a paper on “The Lincoln Memorial as Utopia: Paradoxes, Struggles and Representations” at the annual Forum on Contemporary Theory held in Allahabad, India, on December 17-18.

William D. Pederson (International Lincoln Center) delivered a lecture on “Abraham Lincoln and Barack Obama as Active-Flexible Leaders” at the Centre for Contemporary Theory in Vadodara India, on December 21.

William D. Pederson’s (International Lincoln Center) “2012 a Good Year for Lincoln” appeared in the January 8 issue of The (Shreveport) Times.

The Lincoln Forum Bulletin (Fall 2012) contained three photos of Lincoln abroad in Manchester, England; Riga, Latvia; and Jerusalem, Israel.

Herman Van Rompuy (Belgium), President of the European Council, in his acceptance speech of the Nobel Peace Prize for the EU, cited words from Lincoln at Gettysburg, as reported in the December 11 issue of the New York Times.

Nations from Central America (St. Kitts) and Africa (The Gambia, Ghana, and Uganda) have issued souvenir sheets featuring Lincoln.

Peter Foster, Washington editor for the Daily Telegraph of London, wrote “The Lure of Lincoln” in anticipation of the release of the Spielberg film in the United Kingdom on January 10, 2013.

Arts & Entertainment

On October 9, at the 50th anniversary of the New York Film Festival, the audience was treated to the unveiling of Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln—still, at the time, a work-in-progress.  Eric Kohn reviewed “this period drama which he called ‘plucky’ with Spielberg sentimentalism and another great music score by John Williams.”  This is a focused and “muted” Spielberg based in part on Doris Kearns Goodwin’s Team of Rivals and Tony Kushner’s “heavy screenplay” which depicts Lincoln’s willfulness in pressing for the passage of the 13th Amendment.  (

The “Arts + Entertainment” section of the Chicago Tribune on October 10 handicapped Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln as one of the movies that will receive Academy Award nominations for best picture, best director, and best actor for Daniel Day-Lewis’ portrayal of the title character.

Charles McGrath reviewed Spielberg’s Lincoln, “Abe Lincoln as You’ve Never Heard Him,” for the October 31 New York Times.

Michael Phillips’ review of Spielberg’s Lincoln argued that Daniel Day-Lewis, as Abraham Lincoln, “put a surprisingly subtle, vulnerable president on display.”

Anthony Lane in his “House Divided—Lincoln” previewed Steven Spielberg’s movie in the November 19 New YorkerKate Masur believed that Spielberg presented African Americans as “passive black characters” in the November 12 New York TimesChristie Lemir found that “Day-Lewis [was] ‘tremendous and safe’” in Lincoln for her review on November 9 for the

Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln received four nominations from the Screen Actors Guild on December 12, including one for outstanding cast performance and best actor for Daniel Day-LewisLewis won the award on January 27, having won best actor from Golden Globes on January 12.

A.O. Scott called Lincoln, “A great, flawed movie about a great, flawed president of a great, flawed nation.  Argue about the flaws, but allow yourself to be moved by the grand, noble sentiments that swirl through Tony Kushner’s eloquent script and Daniel Day-Lewis’s sly performance.”

Lincoln in Louisville, a play by David S. Traub, Jr., was performed at the Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts, Louisville, KY, on October 11.

Polish artisan Krzysztof Wodiczko, known for his projections on facades and monuments around the world, has installed an Abraham Lincoln: War Veteran projection in Union Square, New York City.  It is the video of a veteran projected onto the statue of the 16th president.  Phoebe Hoban wrote about it in “Emancipation From War Trauma-A New Installation in Union Square Puts a Face on Veterans’ Experiences” for the November 8 Wall Street Journal.

Richard “Fritz” Klein, as Abraham Lincoln, performed in The Heavens Are Hung in Black by James Still at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum, Springfield, IL, November 8-11 and 15-18.

The November/December Library of Congress Magazine featured The Civil War in America highlighting the extraordinary stories told by ordinary people in the new LOC exhibition.  Michelle Krowl, specialist in Civil War and Reconstruction in the Manuscript Division, was also interviewed.

And yet there is another Lincoln film on its way.  Saving Lincoln will be released in theaters on February 12, 2013.  Pat Sierchio wrote about it in “A Fascination With Abraham Lincoln” for the November 14  Filmmaker Salvador Litvak will try to convey “how dark and difficult [Lincoln’s] presidency was: the savior of men who said he could never break the neck of a chicken for his dinner, charged with armies spilling of blood.  He found himself in that position, and we’re showing the unique point of view of this from his close friend [Ward Hill] Lamon.  He saw a Lincoln that no one else saw during Lincoln’s darkest hours.”

Charles Isherwood’s review of Paula Vogel’s A Civil War Christmas appeared in the December 5 New York Times Arts section.

Busts of Abraham Lincoln are now situated in each courtroom floor of the Sangamon County Judicial Complex, Springfield, IL.  The fifth floor bust is Lincoln as a young lawyer modeled after a bust made by George Etienne Ganiere; the sixth floor bust is Lincoln as he appeared at the end of his legal career and is based on the original Leonard Volk life mask; and the seventh floor bust, titled Prairie Lawyer, was created by sculptor James Nance.

Originally published in 1947, Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address illustrated by James Daugherty with a new introduction by Gabor S. Boritt, has been republished by Albert Whitman & Company.

Carl Volkmann has provided his tenth piece on Lincoln, “Prairie Sculptor—Lincoln the Lawyer,” located in Urbana, IL, for the November/December Illinois Heritage.

The U.S. Postal Service commemorated the 150th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s final Emancipation Proclamation with a “Forever” stamp.  Designed to resemble a broadside, it quotes from the proclamation, “Henceforward shall be free”—Emancipation Proclamation—Abraham Lincoln—1863.  The USPS has also issued a poster of the stamp.


The Civil War in America opened at the Library of Congress on November 12 and will run to May 23, 2013, with 175 items, many never before on public view.  Little, Brown & Company has published The Library of Congress Illustrated Timeline of the Civil War by Margaret E. Wagner, as a companion volume to the exhibit.

The Smithsonian American Art Museum prepared and hosted The Civil War and American Art which will be on display in Washington at the gallery from November 16, 2012 to April 28, 2013, when it will travel to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.  Staged to mark the 150th anniversary of the beginning of the war, the exhibit concentrates on paintings and photographs made shortly before, during and just after the conflict.  It explores the way American artists represented the Civil War and its aftermath with 75 works of art—57 paintings and 18 contemporary photographs.

A Strange and Fearful Interest: Death, Mourning, and Memory in the American Civil War exhibit hosted by the Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens in California, was on exhibit through January 14, 2013.  Richard B. Woodward wrote a review in the December 5 Wall Street Journal.

Looking at Lincoln with works by Richard Wengenroth, Anthony Savini and others, with historical images from the Robert P. King Collection of Lincolniana at the Erie County Historical Society, are on exhibit at the Erie Art Museum, Erie, PA, from December 7, 2012 to April 7, 2013.

The Massachusetts Historical Society opened Forever Free: Lincoln and the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 2013, and on the same day, Lincoln in Manuscript and Artifact.  On February 22, 2013, the MHS hosted “Proclaim Liberty Throughout All the Land”: Boston Abolitionists, 1831-1865.

Civil War Sesquicentennial

“1862: A Historic and Transformational Year” by Frank J. Williams was in the Preservation News column for the October Civil War News.

The Journal of the Civil War Era, in collaboration with the Civil War Institute of Gettysburg College, will publish the annual Robert Fortenbaugh Memorial Lecture.

“The Incomplete Celebration” by Jennifer Lemak discussed the lack of participation by African Americans during New York’s Civil War centennial events in the Fall New York Archives.

The Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Foundation awarded a new round of grants totaling $62,000 to help fund public programs, exhibits, publishing and digitizing projects in the summer.  The recipients of the latest round are The Jewish Historical Society of Greater Washington, Southern Illinois University Press, The Papers of Abraham Lincoln, Friends of the United Nations in New York City, and The Abraham Lincoln Foundation of the Union League of PhiladelphiaALBF Board Members are Harold Holzer, Orville Vernon Burton, Thomas Campbell, Charles Scholz, Darrel Bigham, David Lawrence, Edna Greene Medford, Antonio Mora, Jean Powers Soman and Frank J. Williams.  Future applicants are urged to write Chairman Holzer at 205 East 78th Street, 14-E, New York, NY 10028.

The Virginia Sesquicentennial of the American Civil War Commission will host The American Civil War at Home on April 20, 2013, with the keynote, “How the Civil War Changed the Constitution,” presented by Eric Foner.  There will be two panels—“Emancipation and its Limits” and “Internal Dissent in the Confederacy and the Union” with panelists Thavolia Glymph, Robert F. Engs, Stephen Kantrowitz, Stephanie McCurry, Stephen Ash, and Matthew Gallman.

Awards and Prizes

The New York Archives Partnership Trust honored award-winning documentary filmmaker Ken Burns with the Empire State Archives and History Award on November 26 in Albany.

Lincoln as Hero by Frank J. Williams (Southern Illinois University Press) has been selected as an alternate by the History Book Club.

Walter Stahr’s biography Seward: Lincoln’s Indispensable Man about Abraham Lincoln’s Secretary of State came in second in the History News Network’s online poll for the best history book of 2012.  Jim Downs’s Sick From Freedom: African-American Illness and Suffering During the Civil War and Reconstruction was in third place.  Robert Caro’s The Passage of Power—his latest installment of his biography of Lyndon B. Johnson barely beat out the Seward biography.

Harold Holzer has been named the first recipient of the New-York Historical Society’s Roger Hertog Fellowship that he began in January 2013.

The 2012 Lincoln Group of New York Award of Achievement and the 2012 Barondess-Lincoln Award of the Civil War Round Table of New York were presented to Lincoln the movie at a rare joint meeting on February 28, 2013, with its screenwriter, Tony Kushner, accepting the awards.


A Union Ball dance card for Lincoln’s First Inaugural Ball sold for $2,160 at the Swann Auction on October 2.  The November 29 Swann Auction featured endorsements by Lincoln, one for a full pardon to rebels willing to give the oath sold for $5,760, and an endorsement for appointment sold for $5,040.

On Saturday, December 8, Heritage Auctions in Dallas sold locks of hair from Abraham Lincoln for $38,837.00 and from Ulysses S. Grant for $5,975.00.

Cowan’s Auctions’ December 7, 2012 auction included an Abraham Lincoln Presidential Proclamation For a Day of Humiliation, Fasting, and Prayer, a broadside, which fetched $1,410 with an estimate of from $600-$800.  A CDV of Abraham Lincoln’s dog Fido went for $1,762.50.  A clipped signature of Abraham Lincoln sold for $1,800.


Stefanie Dazio wrote about the newly reconstructed Reflecting Pool at the Lincoln Memorial which opened on August 31, but less than a month later the popular site was full of algae.  Her article “A sea of ‘icky-looking’ green” appeared in the Washington Post on September 26, 2012.

Daniel W. Stowell, Director of The Papers of Abraham Lincoln, has formulated plans to establish a digitization department within the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, Springfield, IL, that would digitize documents, images, maps, printed materials, newspapers and artifacts from the varied collections of the Presidential Library.

Catalog #300 of Oak Knoll Books offers for sale a complete set of 85 volumes (Set #1 of 76) of Bernhardt Wall’s Following Abraham Lincoln 1809-1865 for $15,000.

Archie McPhee has available Abraham Lincoln Bandages with 20 in a reusable tin with Lincoln’s image and “I will heal your wound as I healed a nation.”  (

As a result of the beneficence of the Delaware Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission, the University of Delaware Library obtained a collection of more than seventy Civil War era pamphlets that will be named in memory of William W. Swayze, III, a long-time member and former president of the Lincoln Club of Delaware.

Dan Weinberg’s Abraham Lincoln Book Shop has issued Catalog 153 (357 West Chicago Avenue, Chicago, IL 60654).

USA TODAY on November 16 included ten great landmarks of Abe Lincoln’s life with Larry Bleiberg and Harold Holzer.

Dr. Tom Peet and Dave Keck have prepared Reading Lincoln: An Annotated Bibliography, which is extensive in its critical analysis of the titles they chose.  ( and

Books and Pamphlets

38 Nooses: Lincoln, Little Crow, and the Beginning of the Frontier’s End by Scott W. Berg has been published by Pantheon.

Harvard University Press has published Lincoln’s Tragic Pragmatism: Lincoln, Douglas, and Moral Conflict by John Burt.

Jerry Bussell and Emily Adams published Anatomy of a Lean Leader: As Illustrated by 10 Modern CEOs and Abraham Lincoln (UL, LLC, 333 Pfingsten Road, Northbrook, IL 60062).

Abraham Lincoln’s Law Notes, edited by Judge Frank Ceresi, with a foreword by Brian Dirck, is available on Amazon as an ebook.

Christopher Kiernan Coleman has written The Paranormal Presidency of Abraham Lincoln for Schiffer Publishing.

Lincoln’s Ladder to the Presidency: The Eighth Judicial Circuit by Guy C. Fraker has been published by Southern Illinois University Press, as has Robert S. Eckley’s Lincoln’s Forgotten Friend: Leonard Swett.

Dennis E. Frye wrote September Suspense: Lincoln’s Union in Peril for Antietam Rest Publishing (PO Box 246, Harpers Ferry, WV 25425).

NewSouth Books (105 S. Court, Montgomery, AL 36104) published Wade Hall’s An Interview With Abraham Lincoln, April 1, 1865.

Lincoln and McClellan at War, by Chester G. Hearn, was published by LSU Press.

Barack Obama, Abraham Lincoln, and the Structure of Reason by David Hirsch and Dan Van Haften, initially published as an eBook, has now been published in print by SavasBeatie.

Harold Holzer’s companion book for young readers to the Steven Spielberg film, Lincoln: How Abraham Lincoln Ended Slavery in America, has been published by Newmarket Press, an imprint of HarperCollins.  It joins Lincoln: A President for the Ages, edited by Karl Weber (Public Affairs) as a companion to the film.  Chapters in the latter title include “The Faces of Lincoln” by Karl Weber; “Elizabeth Keckley: Bringing an Extraordinary Woman to the Screen” by Gloria Reuben; “‘A Sacred Effort’: Lincoln’s Unfinished Journey from Slavery to Freedom” by Henry Louis Gates, Jr.; “‘By No Means Excluding Females’: Abraham Lincoln and Women’s Suffrage” by Jean Baker; “Lincoln, FDR, and the Growth of Federal Power” by Daniel Farber; “‘That This Mighty Scourge of War May Speedily Pass Away: Lincoln and the Hiroshima Decision” by James Tackach; “At the End of Two Wars: 1865 and 1945, Lincoln and Roosevelt” by Allen C. Guelzo; “Abraham Lincoln: The President as Outlaw” by James Malanowski; “President Abraham Lincoln Confronts the War on Terror” by Frank J. Williams; “ ‘Public Opinion is Everything’: Lincoln the Communicator” by Douglas L. Wilson; “‘The Almighty Has His Own Purposes’: Abraham Lincoln and the Christian Right” by Richard Carwardine; “The Real Lincoln Is the Icon: An Interview with Andrew Ferguson” by Andrew Ferguson; and “Lincoln—The Unlikely Celebrity” by Harold Holzer.

The editors of Civil War Times has published Lincoln on Leadership with 41 excerpts from Lincoln’s speeches, telegrams, letters and other documents.  Harold Holzer edited and annotated the book.

Stephen Mansfield has written Lincoln’s Battle With God: A President’s Struggle With Faith and What it Meant for America (Thomas Nelson).

Novelist William Martin’s latest Peter Fallon novel, The Lincoln Letter, has been published by Forge-Tom Doherty Associates, LLC.

Stacy Pratt McDermott wrote The Jury in Lincoln’s America for Ohio University Press.

Randall M. Miller edited Lincoln and Leadership: Military, Political and Religious Decision Making for Fordham University Press.

W.W. Norton & Company has published the long-awaited Freedom National: The Destruction of Slavery in the United States, 1861-1865 by James Oakes.

HarperOne has republished Elton Trueblood’s Abraham Lincoln: Lessons in Spiritual Leadership with a foreword by Gustav Niebuhr.

Alexander Tsesis has edited The Promises of Liberty: The History and Contemporary Relevance of the Thirteenth Amendment for Columbia University Press.  Essays include “The Rocky Road to Freedom—Crucial Barriers to Abolition in the Antebellum Years” by David Brion Davis; “The Thirteenth Amendment’s Revolutionary Aims” by Alexander Tsesis; “In Pursuit of Constitutional Abolitionism” by James M. McPherson; “The Civil War, Emancipation, and the Thirteenth Amendment: Understanding Who Freed the Slaves” by Paul Finkelman; “Citizenship and the Thirteenth Amendment: Understanding the Deafening Silence” by Michael Vorenberg; “Emancipation and Civic Status: The American Experience, 1865-1915” by William M. Wiecek; “Convict Labor in the Post-Civil War South: Involuntary Servitude After the Thirteenth Amendment” by David M. Oshinsky; “The Thirteenth Amendment and a New Deal for Civil Rights” by Risa L. Goluboff; “The Workers’ Freedom of Association Under the Thirteenth Amendment” by James Gray Pope; “The Badges and Incidents of Slavery and the Power of Congress to Enforce the Thirteenth Amendment” by George A. Rutherglen; “The Promise of Congressional Enforcement” by Rebecca E. Zietlow; “Protecting Full and Equal Rights: The Floor and More” by Aviam Soifer; “Forced Labor Revisited: The Thirteenth Amendment and Abortion” by Andrew Koppelman; “The Slave Power Undead: Criminal Justice Successes and Failures of the Thirteenth Amendment” by Andrew E. Taslitz; “Toward a Thirteenth Amendment Exclusionary Rule as a Remedy for Racial Profiling” by William M. Carter, Jr.; “Immigrant Workers and the Thirteenth Amendment” by Maria L. Ontiveros; “A Thirteenth Amendment Agenda for the Twenty-First Century: Of Promises, Power and Precaution” by Darrell A. H. Miller; and “Epilogue: The Enduring Legacy of the Thirteenth Amendment” by Robert J. Kaczorowski.

David Von Drehle has written Rise to Greatness: Abraham Lincoln and America’s Most Perilous Year for Henry Holt.

The Lincoln Fellowship of Wisconsin has published Historical Bulletin No. 65, Abraham Lincoln’s First Inaugural Address by Ronald C. White, Jr. and the Lincoln Group of the District of Columbia has published its Membership Directory for 2012.

The Concise Lincoln Library of SIU Press has published Lincoln and Medicine by Glenna R. Schroeder-Lein.

Volume 39, Number 4, of the Northern Kentucky Law Review, 2012 Legal Heritage of the Civil War Issue, included “Military Trials of Terrorists: From the Lincoln Conspirators to the Guantanamo Inmates” by Frank J. Williams and Nicole J. Benjamin; “The Civil War Origins of the Modern Rules of War: Francis Lieber and Lincoln’s General Order No. 100” by Burrus M. Carnahan, “The Homestead Act, Pacific Railroad Act and Morrill Act” by Professor Roger D. Billings, “Salmon P. Chase and the Legal Basis for the U.S. Monetary System” by Dr. Roger D. Bridges, “The Trial of Jefferson Davis and the Treason Controversy” by Ian Mitchell, and “General Orders No. 100: Why the Lieber Code’s Requirement for Combatants to Wear Uniforms is Still Applicable for the Protection of Civilian Populations in Modern Warfare” by Robert Cummings.

Children’s Books

Tonya Bolden wrote Emancipation Proclamation: Lincoln and the Dawn of Liberty for Abrams Books for Young Readers.

Campfire has published Lewis Helfand’s Abraham Lincoln: From the Log Cabin to the White House with illustrations by Manikandan.

Scholastic has published Lincoln and Grace: Why Abraham Lincoln Grew a Beard by Steve Metzger with illustrations by Ann Kronheimer.

Bill O’Reilly and Dwight Jon Zimmerman are the authors of Lincoln’s Last Days: The Shocking Assassination That Changed America Forever, a special illustrated edition of the best-selling Killing Lincoln, for children (Henry Holt).

Civil War Sesquicentennial and Related Books

Michael L. Bellesiles wrote A People’s History of the U.S. Military: Ordinary Soldiers Reflect on Their Experience of War, From the American Revolution to Afghanistan (The New Press).

Christopher Childers has authored The Failure of Popular Sovereignty: Slavery, Manifest Destiny, and the Radicalization of Southern Politics for the University Press of Kansas.

Brothers (Scribner) has been written by George Howe Colt about siblings, including John Wilkes Booth and Edwin Booth.

Paul Finkelman and Donald R. Kennon edited Congress and the Crisis of the 1850s for Ohio University Press.

Thomas Glass is the author of Lincoln’s Senior Generals: Photographs and Biographical Sketches of the Major Generals of the Union Army (Schiffer).

Robert Grandchamp’s Rhode Island and the Civil War: Voices From the Ocean State, with a foreword by Frank J. Williams, has been published by The History Press.

Fiona Deans Halloran wrote Thomas Mast: The Father of Modern Political Cartoons for UNC Press.

Lee and His Generals: Essays in Honor of T. Harry Williams, edited by Lawrence Lee Hewitt and Thomas E. Schott, has been published by the University of Tennessee Press.

Michael Hill, with a foreword by David McCullough, has written a book about Elihu Washburne, a friend of Abraham Lincoln and Ulysses S. Grant, entitled Elihu Washburne: The Diary and Letters of America’s Minister to France During the Siege and Commune of Paris (Simon & Schuster).

Conflict and Command, the first volume of Civil War History Readers, has been edited by John T. Hubbell and published by Kent State University Press.  The editor of this volume, who served as the long-time editor of Civil War History, has selected articles from past issues which give a better understanding of the Civil War.  Included are Mark E. Neely, Jr.’s “Was the Civil War a Total War?,” Drew Gilpin Faust’s “‘We Should Grow Too Fond of It’: Why We Love the Civil War,” and “Who Whipped Whom?: Confederate Defeat Reexamined” by Grady McWhiney.

The Tribunal: Responses to John Brown and the Harpers Ferry Raid has been edited by John Stauffer and Zoe Trodd for Harvard University Press.

Deborah Willis and Barbara Krauthamer are the authors of Envisioning Emancipation: Black Americans and the End of Slavery (Temple University Press).


The Summer 2012 Lincoln Herald contained John Stauffer’s “Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass, From the First to the Second Inaugural,” Fred Reed’s “Did Abraham Lincoln’s Icon Image on Money Influence His Public Perception?”; and Michael Burkhimer’s “Publication/Playback Review.”

Joan Waugh’s “‘I Only Knew What Was in My Mind’: Ulysses S. Grant and the Meaning of Appomattox,” the 2011 Robert Fortenbaugh Memorial Lecture at Gettysburg College, appeared in the September Journal of the Civil War Era, as did David S. Reynolds’ review essay, “Reading the Sesquicentennial: New Directions in the Popular History of the Civil War.”

Issue 1, Volume 19, of The Lincolnator, “Abraham Lincoln and the United States,” has been published by the Louisiana Lincoln Group with the article “Truman and Lincoln: The Plain Speaker Looks to Honest Abe” by Jonathan Fox; Issue 2, Volume 19, of The Lincolnator included “Abe in Space: Abraham Lincoln on the Final Frontier” by Paul Blankenship and “Abraham Lincoln’s Balloon Corps” by S. David Goode.

The Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society published its “Civil War Sesquicentennial Issue II” for Summer-Fall, 2012.  Elizabeth D. Leonard wrote a review essay, “New Reflections on Lincoln and the Constitution During the Civil War,” Jason Miller provided “To Stop These Wolves’ Forays: Provost Marshalls, Desertion, the Draft, and Political Violence on the Central Illinois Home Front,” Robert I. Girardi provided “Illinois’ First Response to the Civil War,” and Patricia B. Swan and James B. Swan wrote about “James W. Sheahan: Stephen A. Douglas Supporter and Partisan Chicago Journalist.”

The October 22 Newsweek contained Sidney Bloomenthal’s “The Great Campaigner: How Lincoln Traded Favors, Twisted Arms, and Bullied Friends to Win the Good Fight.”

David Von Drehle wrote “Lincoln to the Rescue” for the October 26 Time magazine.

“The Emancipation Moment: A Commentary” by Harold Holzer, appeared in the Fall Lincoln Forum Bulletin.

Steven B. Smith wrote “Lincoln’s Constitutional Leadership” for the Fall National Affairs.

The November 1 blog, History Now ( featured Harold Holzer’s “The Making of the President: Abraham Lincoln and the Election of 1860.”

The November 5 Time featured cover stories of “Lincoln: Past and Present” with David Von Drehle’s “What the Candidates Can Learn From the Sixteenth President,” Jessica Winter’s “How Daniel Day-Lewis Channeled the Great Emancipator,” “The Voice and Stride That Set Lincoln Apart” by Doris Kearns Goodwin, and “A Conversation With Lincoln Director Steven Spielberg” by Richard Stengel.

The November Smithsonian included “Mr. Lincoln Goes to Hollywood” by Roy Blount, Jr.

Michael A. Eggleston wrote about the Sioux uprising in Minnesota (“Fighting the Sioux”) for the November North & South.

Tara McClellan McAndrew wrote “Lincoln’s Election Day in Springfield” for the November 8-14 Illinois Times.

Allison Hinman’s “William H. Seward and the Emancipation Proclamation” appeared in the Winter 2012 newsletter of The Seward House Museum, Diplomatic Pouch.

Mo Rocca wrote “American Idol” for the November/December Arrive in an effort to explain the complexity and compassion of Abraham Lincoln as presented by Daniel Day-Lewis in Lincoln.

Jeffrey Bloomer wrote “Was Mary Todd Lincoln Really ‘Insane’?” for Slate ( on November 9.

Mark Jacob and Stephen Benzkofer wrote “Ten Things You Might Not Know About Abraham Lincoln” for the November 11 Chicago Tribune.

“Ohioans loom large in lore of Lincoln” by Joe Blundo appeared in the Columbus Dispatch on November 12.

On November 18, Christopher Klein wrote “How Boston Changed Lincoln” about Congressman Lincoln’s first visit to the city on the hill to support the presidential candidacy of Zachary Taylor on September 15, 1848.

James M. Cornelius wrote “Emancipation: Preliminary, Final, and Revolutionary” for the Fall Four Score and Seven (a publication of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation).

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review published “Lincoln Has His Mark in Western Pennsylvania” for its November 16 edition as a companion piece to the review of Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln.

Stephen Engle wrote “‘It is time for the states to speak to the federal government’: The Altoona Conference and Emancipation” for the December Civil War History.  Also in this issue was Brian Taylor’s “The Politics of Service: Black Northerners’ Debates Over Enlistment in the American Civil War.”

The December 2012 Journal of the Civil War Era included “‘My Laborers in Haiti Are Not Slaves’: Proslavery Fictions and a Black Colonization Experiment on the Northern Coast, 1835-1846” by Mark J. Fleszar; “‘Tradyville’: The Contraband Trade and the Problem of Loyalty in Civil War Mississippi” by Jarret Ruminski; “Legitimacy and Interventionism: Northern Republicans, the ‘Terrible Carpetbagger,’ and the Retreat from Reconstruction” by K. Stephen Prince; and “Toward a History of Cultural Economy” by Rosanne Currarino.


Scott W. Berg, 38 Nooses: Lincoln, Little Crow, and the Beginning of the Frontier’s End, rev. by John Burch, Library Journal (October 15, 2012).

Anne E. Beidler, The Addition of Mary Todd Lincoln, rev. by Jason Emerson, The Lincoln Herald (Summer 2012).

David W. Blight, American Oracle: The Civil War in the Civil Rights Era, rev. by Michael S. Green, The Journal of the Civil War Era (September 2012); rev. by Caroline E. Janney, Civil War History (December 2012).

Dennis K. Boman, Lincoln and Citizens’ Rights in Civil War Missouri: Balancing Freedom and Security, rev. by Sean A. Scott, Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society (Summer-Fall 2012); rev. by Aaron Sheehan-Dean, Civil War History (December 2012).

H.W. Brands, The Man Who Saved the Union: Ulysses Grant in War and Peace, rev. by Eric Foner, The Washington Post (November 4, 2012).

Michael Burlingame, Lincoln and the Civil War, rev. by Burrus M. Carnahan, The Lincoln Herald (Summer 2012).

Harold K. Bush, Jr., Lincoln in His Own Time: A Biographical Chronicle of His Life Drawn From Recollections, Interviews, and Memoirs by Family, Friends and Associates, rev. by Brian Dirck, Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society (Summer-Fall 2012).

Orville Vernon Burton, Gerald Podair, and Jennifer L. Webber, editors, The Struggle for Equality: Sectional Conflict, the Civil War, and the Long Reconstruction, rev. by Brandt M. S. Campney, Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society (Summer-Fall 2012).

Burrus M. Carnahan, Lincoln on Trial: Southern Civilians and the Law of War, rev. by Sean A. Scott, Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society (Summer-Fall 2012); rev. by Aaron Sheehan-Dean, Civil War History (December 2012).

Stephen L. Carter, The Impeachment of Abraham Lincoln, rev. by Edward Bonekemper, Civil War News (November 2012).

Richard Carwardine and Jay Sexton, editors, The Global Lincoln, rev. by Rodney O. Davis, Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society (Summer-Fall 2012).

Darrell Dexter, Bondage in Egypt: Slavery in Southern Illinois, rev. by James Schwartz, Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society (Summer-Fall 2012).

Brian R. Dirck, Abraham Lincoln and White America, rev. by John Foskett, Civil War News (October 2012).

Robert S. Eckley, Lincoln’s Forgotten Friend, Leonard Swett, rev. by William G. Shepheard, For the People: a Newsletter of the Abraham Lincoln Association (Winter 2012).

Jason Emerson, Giant in the Shadows: The Life of Robert T. Lincoln, rev. by Jay Jorgensen, Civil War News (November 2012).

Michael Fellman, Views From the Dark Side of American History, rev. by Mark Grimsley, Civil War History (December 2012).

Paul Finkelman and Donald R. Kennon, editors, Congress and the Crisis of the 1850s, rev. by Christopher Olsen, Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society (Summer-Fall 2012).

Eric Foner, The Fiery Trial: Abraham Lincoln and American Slavery, rev. by Michael Perman, Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society (Summer-Fall 2012).

Guy C. Fraker, Lincoln’s Ladder to the Presidency: The Eighth Judicial Circuit, rev. by Judge Ronald D. Spears, For the People: a Newsletter of the Abraham Lincoln Association (Winter 2012).

Dennis E. Frye, September Suspense: Lincoln’s Union in Peril, rev. by George Khoury, Civil War News (November 2012).

Gary W. Gallagher, The Union War, rev. by James L. Huston, Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society (Summer-Fall 2012).

Michael S. Green, Lincoln and the Election of 1860, rev. by S. Chandler Lighty, Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society (Summer-Fall 2012); rev. by Mitchell Snay, Civil War History (December 2012).

William C. Harris, Lincoln and the Border States: Preserving the Union, rev. by Daniel W. Crofts, Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society (Summer-Fall 2012); rev. by Gordon Berg, America’s Civil War (March 2013).

David Hirsch and Dan Van Haften, Abraham Lincoln and the Structure of Reason, rev. by S. Chandler Lighty, the Journal of Southern History (November 2012).

Harold Holzer, Emancipating Lincoln: The Proclamation in Text, Context and Memory, rev. by James M. McPherson, New York Review of Books (November 22, 2012).

John T. Hubbell, editor, Conflict and Command, rev. by Edward Bonekemper, Civil War News (January 2013).

John Glenn LaFantasie, editor, The Union Forever: Lincoln, Grant, and the Civil War, by John Y. Simon, rev. by Jay Jorgensen, Civil War News (November 2012).

James Lander, Lincoln and Darwin: Shared Visions of Race, Science, and Religion, rev. by Stephen L. Hansen, Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society (Summer-Fall 2012).

Elizabeth D. Leonard, Lincoln’s Forgotten Ally: Judge Advocate General Joseph Holt of Kentucky, rev. by Burrus M. Carnahan, The Register of the Kentucky Historical Society (Spring 2012); rev. by Margaret Storey, Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society (Summer-Fall 2012).

James Marten, editor, Children and Youth During the Civil War Era, rev. by Lyde Cullen Sizer, Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society (Summer-Fall 2012).

William Martin, The Lincoln Letter, rev. by Joseph A. Truglio, Civil War News (November 2012).

Louis P. Masur, Lincoln’s Hundred Days: The Emancipation Proclamation and the War for the Union, rev. by James M. McPherson, New York Review of Books (November 22, 2012).

James M. McPherson, War on the Waters: The Union and Confederate Navies, 1861-1865, rev. by Joseph A. Derie, Civil War News (November 2012).

Randall M. Miller, editor, Lincoln and Leadership: Military, Political, and Religious Decision Making, rev. by Frederick J. Augustyn, Jr., Library Journal (October 15, 2012); rev. by Charles H. Bogart, Civil War News (December 2012).

Mark E. Neely, Jr., Lincoln and the Triumph of the Nation: Constitutional Conflict in the American Civil War, rev. by Sean A. Scott, The Register of the Kentucky Historical Society (Spring 2012).

Michael A. Peake, editor, Bloodshed in This War: Civil War Illustrations by Captain Adolph Metzner, 32nd Indiana, rev. by Harold Holzer, The Register of the Kentucky Historical Society (Spring 2012).

Stacey M. Robertson, Hearts Beating For Liberty: Women Abolitionists in the Old Northwest, rev. by Holly M. Kent, Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society (Summer-Fall 2012).

Jonathan D. Sarna, When General Grant Expelled the Jews, rev. by Burrus M. Carnahan, The Lincoln Herald (Summer 2012).

Glenna R. Schroeder-Lein, Lincoln and Medicine, rev. by Tara McClellan McAndrew, Illinois Times (November 1-7, 2012).

Sean A. Scott, Visitation of God: Northern Civilians Interpret the Civil War, rev. by Robert Tracy McKenzie, Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society (Summer-Fall 2012).

Richard Slotkin, The Long Road to Antietam: How the Civil War Became a Revolution, rev. by James M. McPherson, New York Review of Books (November 22, 2012).

Walter Stahr, Seward: Lincoln’s Indispensable Man, rev. by The Economist (September 29, 2012); rev. by Dorothy Wickenden, The New Yorker (October 1, 2012); rev. by James Percoco, Civil War News (December 2012).

Richard Striner, Lincoln and Race, rev. by Michael Burkhimer, Journal of Illinois History (Winter 2011).

Richard Striner, Father Abraham: Lincoln’s Relentless Struggle to End Slavery, rev. by Michael Burkhimer, The Lincoln Herald (Summer 2012).

Craig L. Symonds, The Civil War at Sea, rev. by the Library Journal (October 1, 2012).

Alexander Tsesis, editor, The Promises of Liberty: The History and Contemporary Relevance of the Thirteenth Amendment, rev. by Michael S. Green, The Journal of the Civil War Era (September 2012).

David Von Drehle, Rise to Greatness: Abraham Lincoln and America’s Most Perilous Year, rev. by the Library Journal (October 1, 2012); rev. by James M. McPherson, New York Review of Books (November 22, 2012); rev. by Harold Holzer, The Washington Post (December 16, 2012); rev. by Frank J. Williams, America’s Civil War (March 2013).

Karl Weber, editor, Lincoln: A President for the Ages, rev. by Robert Grandchamp, Civil War News (December 2012).

Frank J. Williams and Michael Burkhimer, editors, The Mary Lincoln Enigma: Historians on America’s Most Controversial First Lady, rev. by Janet L. Bucklew, Civil War News (December 2012); rev. by Henry Cohen, The Federal Lawyer (January/February 2013); rev. by James R. Hall, America’s Civil War (March 2013).

Deborah Willis and Barbara Krauthamer, Envisioning Emancipation: Black Americans and the End of Slavery, rev. by Felicia R. Lee, The New York Times (December 22, 2012).

Douglas L. Wilson and Rodney O. Davis, editors, Herndon’s Lincoln, rev. by John G. Sotos, The Lincoln Herald (Summer 2012).

Kenneth J. Winkle, Abraham and Mary Lincoln, rev. by S. Chandler Lighty, Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society (Summer-Fall 2012).

John Fabian Witt, Lincoln’s Code: The Laws of War in American History, rev. by the Library Journal (October 1, 2012); rev. by John Foskett, Civil War News (January 2013).


J.K. Rowling, author of Harry Potter, was interviewed for the October 14 New York Times Book Review.  When asked to designate “the last truly great book you read?,” she answered, Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin.  “I lived in it the way that you do with truly great books; putting it down with glazed eyes and feeling disconcerted to find yourself in the 21st century.  I met the author at a reception in the American Embassy in London last year, and I was so excited that I was bobbing up and down on the spot like a five-year-old.”

Rachel Dodes interviewed playwright Tony Kushner, who wrote the script for Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln, in the November 2 Wall Street Journal.

Leslie Kaufman, in “The O’Reilly Factory” (New York Times, December 24, 2012), profiled Bill O’Reilly and the success of his Killing Lincoln which he co-authored with Martin Duguard.  At the time this article appeared, the book had been on the New York Times bestseller list for 70 weeks.  There are 2.5 million copies in print with royalties going to charity.

Elizabeth Keckley, the former slave turned professional dressmaker for Mary Todd Lincoln, was recalled in the January 10, 2013 New York Times, “A Strong Thread and a Torn Union” by John Williams, in advance of the forthcoming novel, Mrs. Lincoln’s Dressmaker by Jennifer Chiaverini (Dutton).

Lincoln and Political Culture

Adam Goodhart and Peter Manseau in their October 12 blog, “Vote Lincoln in 2012,” for the New York Times, discuss how, while President Obama has cited Abraham Lincoln many times, he failed to resonate in his first debate against challenger Mitt Romney when he paraphrased Lincoln: “As Abraham Lincoln understood, there are also some things we do better together.”  Goodhart and Manseau consider this a custody battle over Abraham Lincoln as the Romney campaign, likewise, has not been reluctant to evoke the 16th President.  As David Donald said over 60 years ago, everyone tries to get right with Lincoln.

Conrad Black’s “How Lincoln Emerged in the Stratosphere of Greatness” appeared on October 15 in the National Post (  To Black, “his [Lincoln’s] strategic management was masterly at every phase.  Yet so unassuming and free of egotism was Lincoln that like a great circus performer, it was only obvious after he had left the stage how brilliant his strategic conceptions, command decisions, and tactical initiatives had been.”

In November, an Attleboro, MA man used counterfeit $100 bills at a Target store, but made a critical mistake.  Instead of bearing a picture of Benjamin Franklin, they bore the portrait of Abraham Lincoln which graces the $5 bill.  The defendant, Dana Leland, of Central Falls, RI, was held on $1,000 cash bail after pleading not guilty on charges of altering a counterfeit note and possession of a counterfeit note.

The New York Daily News for November 7 reported in its TV section that the History Channel surveyed American adults for its series Mankind: The Story of All of Us and found that 67% said they would like to have Abraham Lincoln come back and be president again.

Ashley Fetters wrote “Great Emancipator or Creepy Sloth? Historic Portrayals of Abraham Lincoln” for the Atlantic blog ( insisting that the heroic Lincoln while “overwhelmingly positive, is a composite Lincoln – patched together from some of the more favorable portrayals of him that survived.”  Lincoln, during his lifetime, was subjected to “mean-spirited partisan” attacks that we come to see with political contests today.

Twenty-eight thousand people signed a petition urging the State of Louisiana to secede even though it celebrated its statehood bicentennial in 2012.  The petition was started hours after President Obama was re-elected.  Nicholas Persac reported in the November 14 Times (Shreveport, LA) that other secession petitions are making the rounds online in at least 15 other states including Texas, Arkansas and Mississippi.

Rich Lowry wrote “Enough PC Proclamations” for the November 22 New York PostLowry believes that if Lincoln had released his October 1863 Thanksgiving proclamation today, it would be criticized by almost everyone.  The words “sin” and “perverse” would set off the left as embarrassing and the right would be miffed at a national self-criticism from the commander-in-chief in a time of war.  Today, President Obama’s thanksgiving proclamations are perfunctory, according to Lowrey, with God lucky to get a mention at all.

Ezra Klein, who writes on economic and domestic policy issues for the Washington Post, discussed Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln as well as Stephen B. Oates’ classic Lincoln biography, With Malice Toward None, in the November 27 issue.  Using Mary and Abraham Lincoln as a base, Klein discusses them in context of economics or the road from log cabin to White House, indicating that they rose to social mobility because America’s class system is weaker than the European system’s, due, in part, to our young age as a civilization.

Christopher S. Morrissey believes that Speilberg’s Lincoln was philosophically deficient, as noted in a review in the December 26 Catholic World Report.  Citing Grant Havers’s Lincoln and the Politics of Christian Love, such a movie and others “portray Lincoln as the paragon defender of natural rights while downplaying the religious particularity of his own thought.”  For example, Havers argues, “Lincoln’s ideas are most comprehensible to a people already steeped in knowledge of the Bible.”  The film fails because you cannot describe heroes and villains based on Euclidean geometry.

On December 26, hundreds gathered in Mankato, MN, for the unveiling of a memorial to 38 Dakota Sioux who were hanged 150 years before in the largest mass execution in American history.  The December 26, 1862 hanging marked the end of the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862 which took place along the Minnesota River valley.  Originally, 303 men were sentenced to be hanged, but President Lincoln reviewed the files of all of the trials, commuting the sentences of all but 38.  Some American Indians today feel Lincoln was wrong to order any of the hangings, but the President permitted the sentences to be carried out only on those convicted of the most heinous crimes against Minnesota’s white citizens.

Michael Cieply and Brooks Barnes discussed how politics have become intertwined with three films considered for Oscars this season—Lincoln, Zero Dark Thirty and Argo.  On December 19, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid adjourned the Senate for a 5:00 PM screening of Lincoln at the Capitol Visitors Center with director Steven Spielberg, the screenwriter Tony Kushner and the star Daniel Day-Lewis on hand.  Reid called Lincoln lessons for the “nobility of politics” but backers of Zero Dark Thirty were struggling with criticism over the depiction of terrorist interrogations in that movie.

Eric Foner wrote “The Emancipation of Abe Lincoln” for the Op-Ed section of the New York Times on January 1—the 150th anniversary of the final Emancipation Proclamation.  After offering a history of the preliminary and final proclamations, the author discussed how Abraham Lincoln “ruminated on the deep meaning of the war” in his second inaugural address on March 4, 1865.  To Foner, “Lincoln asked the nation to confront unblinkingly the legacy of slavery.  What were the requirements of justice in the face of this reality?  What would be necessary to enable former slaves and their descendants to enjoy fully the pursuit of happiness?  Lincoln did not live to provide an answer.  A century and a half later, we have yet to do so.”

Likewise, educator Fred Zillion wrote “Emancipation Changed the War, and the Nation” for the December 31 issue of the Newport Daily News.  To Zillion, Americans continue to disagree over the limits and obligations of the word “freedom” which appears everywhere in our culture.  Should our country “inspire freedom principally as an exemplar like Lady Liberty in New York Harbor or as a crusader as in the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003.  In the wake of the Newtown shootings we begin our New Year in a debate about whether a mother should be free to instruct her son in and give him access to an assault weapon and whether more guns or fewer will make us freer.”


Dave Taylor wrote “The Escape Attempt of Dr. Mudd” for the November Surratt Courier.

Brown University’s workshop in 19th century U.S. history welcomed Martha Hodes on November 16 who presented “Rage: Personal Responses to Lincoln’s Assassination and the Future of the Nation”—a preview of her current book project.

Colonel (Ret.) Fred L. Borch, Regimental Historian and Archivist for the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General’s Corps, has written “‘Let the Stain of Innocent Blood Be Removed From the Land’: The Trial of the Lincoln Assassination Conspirators by Military Commission” for the Winter 2013 issue of Army History.

The Surratt Society hosted The Lincoln Assassination: More Will Be Revealed, March 15-17, 2013, with Betty J. Ownsbey (“Lockner, ‘Longfellow,’ and Lady Loves: Continuing Research on Lewis Powell”); Thomas A. Bogar, Ph.D. (“Walking Shadows: The Forgotten Actors, Managers, and Stagehands of Ford’s Theatre on the Night of the Assassination”); David Taylor (“Southern Hospitality: The Garrett Family and John Wilkes Booth”); Blaine Houmes, M.D. (“Medical Mysteries of the Lincoln Conspiracy”); Kenneth J. Heineman, Ph.D. (“Tom Ewing, Jr.: The Best Defense is a Strong Offense”); Wesley Harris (“Tools of the Assassins, Part II: Fables, Fallacies, and Fakes”); and Erik Jendresen (“Shooting Lincoln: The Filming of an Assassination”).


The Dean of Abraham Lincoln Studies, Richard Nelson Current, died October 26 at a hospital in Boston.  He was 100.  Matt Schudel wrote in an obituary for the Washington Post on November 4 that, “Rare among academics, Dr. Current was a deft writer whose sensitive, stylish prose appealed to many readers.”  Obituaries for Current appeared in scores of newspapers.  His books include The Lincoln Nobody Knows, the last half of James G. Randall’s fourth volume, Lincoln the President: Midstream to the Last Full Measure, and Lincoln and the First Shot.  In 1998, the Lincoln Forum named its Annual Award of Achievement after Dr. Current.

Cultural historian Jacques Barzun, who wrote dozens of books on literature, philosophy, history and music, including an essay on Abraham Lincoln as prose stylist, about whom he taught at Columbia University, died on October 25.  He was 104.

William A. “Bill” Gladstone died on November 7.  He was 83 years old and a well known Civil War photo historian.  Having collected and sold six collections, he used the funds to acquire African American items.  He believed he may have sold over 5,000 items pertaining to African Americans.

Author’s Note

The Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Foundation and I are endebted to The Abraham Lincoln Library & Museum of Lincoln Memorial University for allowing us to re-publish Lincolniana. I want to thank Thom Bassett, Roger Billings, 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, Mike Marlow, 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.  Harold Holzer and William D. Pederson have been terrific editors for this series. I welcome news concerning Abraham Lincoln.  Please contact me at 300 Switch Road, Hope Valley, RI 02832; fax (401) 364-3642; e-mail