Some idiot “historian” has been making waves on the Internet this week, claiming he uncovered a patent Lincoln made for a paper version of Facebook. Naturally, I clicked with interest, but knew at first sight it was a hoax. No pictures were printable in 1843, and the reference to Lincoln “sons” when only Robert was born by that point.
The whole Springfield Gazette was one sheet of paper, and it was all about Lincoln. Only him. Other people only came into the document in conjunction with how he experienced life at that moment. If you look at the Gazette picture above, you can see his portrait in the upper left-hand corner. See how the column of text under him is cut off on the left side? Stupid scanned picture, I know, ugh. But just to the left of his picture, and above that column of text, is a little box. And in that box you see three things: his name, his address, and his profession attorney.
The first column underneath his picture contains a bunch of short blurbs about what’s going on in his life at the moment – work he recently did, some books the family bought, and the new games his boys made up. In the next three columns he shares a quote he likes, two poems, and a short story about the Pilgrim Fathers. I don’t know where he got them, but they’re obviously copied from somewhere. In the last three columns he tells the story of his day at the circus and tiny little story about his current life on the prairie.
Some of the comments compare this kind of hoax to Lincoln’s “tall tales” (apparently mistaking Lincoln for Mark Twain), but the difference is, Lincoln’s jokes were actually funny.