I’m so excited to see this Adalbert Volck exhibition, which I mentioned in a previous update. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, of all papers, has this excellent biography of the man. (But, surprisingly, none of his cartoons.)
Volck lived nearly 50 years after the war’s end, dying in Baltimore in 1912. In a letter to the Library of Congress, which had acquired some of his etchings, Volck said a few years before his death that his “greatest regret ever was to have aimed ridicule at the great and good Lincoln.”
His remorse isn’t surprising. By the turn of the 20th century, the passions of the war years had cooled. Lincoln had become a symbol of national unity — the man who saved the Union. And many preferred to forget the unsettling role of race and slavery in bringing on the conflict and in the Reconstruction years that followed.