Tony Kushner and Sarah Vowell »

Kudos to Andrea Simakis for providing this very extensive recounting of a recent talk by two unusual Lincoln biographers: The Lincoln screenwriter Tony Kushner, and the hipster historian Sarah Vowell, author of the hilarious and weird, Assassination Vacation. I’m hoping to find some video from this event, but if that fails at least I have […]

Fake news almost destroyed Abraham Lincoln »

From the “What goes around, comes around” files, this reminder that the morass of fake news in which we currently swim is not a new phenomenon. Abraham Lincoln was more than just a foe of slavery. He was also a mixed-race eugenicist, believing that the intermarriage of blacks and whites would yield an American super-race. […]

The Peacemakers »

It’s the 150th anniversary of the River Queen conference, which – of all the great events and happenings from 1860-1865, is the one I most wish I could witness. Sherman in all his glory reunites with his elevated friend Grant. Sherman also meets Lincoln the reelected for the first time in 4 years, after getting […]

Abraham Lincoln’s second inaugural address »

“At this second appearing to take the oath of the Presidential office there is less occasion for an extended address than there was at the first. Then a statement somewhat in detail of a course to be pursued seemed fitting and proper. Now, at the expiration of four years, during which public declarations have been […]

Finer words were rarely spoken »

The approaching sesquicentennial of the Second Inaugural, well, inaugurates a month and a half of momentous and bittersweet events, and closes out the 150th celebrations.  March 4th, April 3rd, April 9th, April 14th, May 9th.  We can relive the dates and realise how quickly the war drew to a close, after decades of its gathering storm.  Sadly, […]

The girl who grew Lincoln’s beard »

The story of Grace Bedell’s letter to Lincoln is famous, of course, but I think this is the first time I’ve ever seen the contents. It’s delightful to think of Lincoln growing his iconic beard after laughing himself silly at the advice of this little spin doctor. I have got 4 brothers and part of […]

Civil War Commemorations »

Some special events to consider, for those in the area or willing to travel to partake! In Dearborn, MI, the Henry Ford Museum is having an assassination commemoration, with Doris Kearns Goodwin speaking.  I got a laugh out of the pricing tiers, which include balcony seats and general floor admission, but no options for participants […]

Leo Tolstoy’s Love Letter to Lincoln »

Following up on that ripples-in-the-pond thought, I’ve always found this one of the weirdest stories in the Lincoln realm: Tolstoy’s encounter with the chieftain of a remote Caucasus tribe who was obsessed with the Great Emancipator. Of all the great national heroes and statesmen of history Lincoln is the only real giant. Alexander, Frederick the Great, […]

‘The Widow Lincoln’ at Ford’s Theatre »

How is Ford’s Theatre marking the sesquicentennial of Lincoln’s assassination?  It’s staging a play about Mary Lincoln.  Hope the Secret Service are keeping the Obamas far, far away from this one. The moment is just one of many pathos-crammed sequences in “The Widow Lincoln,” the doleful historical monument of a play at Ford’s Theatre. Written by […]

Lincolniana Auction »

There was an important auction this week of Lincoln and assassination memorabilia. I was surprised by this discrepancy: The lock of hair, taken by Surgeon General Joseph K. Barnes shortly after Lincoln was shot by John Wilkes Booth, sold for $25,000. An 1861 letter written by Booth to a friend boasting about his career and […]