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What did Lincoln read?
07-05-2013, 10:54 AM (This post was last modified: 07-05-2013 11:22 AM by Donna McCreary.)
Post: #1
What did Lincoln read?
In another thread, we discussed Lincoln's fondness of reading. I thought I would give the topic its own discussion. Here is a great quote I found from the New York Evening Post, May 23, 1860:

"I found Mr. Lincoln living in a handsome but not pretentious, double two-story house . . . The library, I remarked on passing particularly, that I was pleased to see long rows of books, which told of scholarly tastes and culture of the family."

This website has a list of books owned by the Lincolns before they moved to Washington.

http://www.nps.gov/history/history/onlin...iond-e.htm
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07-05-2013, 12:48 PM
Post: #2
RE: What did Lincoln read?
Donna, do you have Harry Pratt's The Personal Finances of Abraham Lincoln? If so, on pp. 180-181 there is a large list of book purchases for the White House library made by both Abraham and Mary. Examples: Mary bought a book titled "History of Birds" for $.63. She also bought a set of Shakespeare for $12.00. Abraham bought a volume of Mrs. Sigourney's poems for $1.25.
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07-05-2013, 05:48 PM
Post: #3
RE: What did Lincoln read?
In 2007 in the Journal of the Abraham Lincoln Association, Robert Bray published a 54 page paper called "What Abraham Lincoln Read." He followed the path of Don and Virginia Fehrenbacher by giving grades to various books that Lincoln may or may not have read. Here is the link.

http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&...5608,d.eWU

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Rob

Abraham Lincoln in the only man, dead or alive, with whom I could have spent five years without one hour of boredom.
--Ida M. Tarbell
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07-05-2013, 09:00 PM (This post was last modified: 07-05-2013 09:01 PM by Donna McCreary.)
Post: #4
RE: What did Lincoln read?
(07-05-2013 12:48 PM)RJNorton Wrote:  Donna, do you have Harry Pratt's The Personal Finances of Abraham Lincoln? If so, on pp. 180-181 there is a large list of book purchases for the White House library made by both Abraham and Mary. Examples: Mary bought a book titled "History of Birds" for $.63. She also bought a set of Shakespeare for $12.00. Abraham bought a volume of Mrs. Sigourney's poems for $1.25.

Roger, yes, I have seen this list. I listed the link about books they Lincolns owned in Springfield because that is their personal library. Books purchased in the White House were purchased for the White House library - people other than the Lincolns read them. Mary was also fond of giving books as gifts. After Lincoln's death, Mary purchased serveral sets of Shakespeare's works.

I have always been fascinated by what Mary read. As a fan of the writings of Lord Byron, I was thrilled to see that Mary purchased a volumn of his works for the White House. I hope she read them!

(07-05-2013 05:48 PM)Rob Wick Wrote:  In 2007 in the Journal of the Abraham Lincoln Association, Robert Bray published a 54 page paper called "What Abraham Lincoln Read." He followed the path of Don and Virginia Fehrenbacher by giving grades to various books that Lincoln may or may not have read. Here is the link.

http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&...5608,d.eWU

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Rob

Thanks for posting this one Rob. I was looking for it and could not find it earlier.
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07-06-2013, 07:56 AM
Post: #5
RE: What did Lincoln read?
(07-05-2013 05:48 PM)Rob Wick Wrote:  In 2007 in the Journal of the Abraham Lincoln Association, Robert Bray published a 54 page paper called "What Abraham Lincoln Read." He followed the path of Don and Virginia Fehrenbacher by giving grades to various books that Lincoln may or may not have read. Here is the link.

http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&...5608,d.eWU

Best
Rob

Rob,

First of all I hope this finds you continuing to recover and doing well. Thanks for attaching the Bray article. I misplaced a copy years ago, and it is nice to have it back in my files.

All the best,

Joe
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07-06-2013, 08:27 AM
Post: #6
RE: What did Lincoln read?
Joe,

Thanks for the kind words. I have just one more week of cardiac rehab and then I'm through with all the medical annoyances that have attached themselves to me.

Many people are unaware of this, but it was Bray who accused Stephen Oates of plagiarism against Benjamin Thomas. I never felt that Bray proved his case.

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Rob

Abraham Lincoln in the only man, dead or alive, with whom I could have spent five years without one hour of boredom.
--Ida M. Tarbell
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07-07-2013, 08:13 PM
Post: #7
RE: What did Lincoln read?
Rob,

Bray couldn't prove his case because it had no merit. Oates published a well written rebuttal to those accusations. It's hanging out on the internet out there somewhere. Oates' bio on Lincoln was top notch.

Craig
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07-07-2013, 08:20 PM
Post: #8
RE: What did Lincoln read?
For all those interested. (I agree, Craig).

Best
Rob

http://hnn.us/articles/658.html

Abraham Lincoln in the only man, dead or alive, with whom I could have spent five years without one hour of boredom.
--Ida M. Tarbell
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07-09-2013, 09:38 PM
Post: #9
RE: What did Lincoln read?
(07-07-2013 08:20 PM)Rob Wick Wrote:  For all those interested. (I agree, Craig).

Best
Rob

http://hnn.us/articles/658.html

Burlingame repsonded to Oates on here:

http://hnn.us/articles/648.html

I was never a big fan of Oates on Lincoln personally. This has nothing to do with the plagerism charge, because I really don't feel qualified to judge it.

I don't think he did the depth of research in his biography and his "Behind the Myths" books to really classify him as a great biographer of Lincoln like James Randall, Benjamin Thomas, Richard Current, Michael Burlingame, and David Donald.

If one takes him as a popularizer of Lincoln, that is different, but I think Ronald White's and Richard Carwardine's books are better.
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07-27-2013, 05:41 PM
Post: #10
RE: What did Lincoln read?
(07-05-2013 05:48 PM)Rob Wick Wrote:  In 2007 in the Journal of the Abraham Lincoln Association, Robert Bray published a 54 page paper called "What Abraham Lincoln Read." He followed the path of Don and Virginia Fehrenbacher by giving grades to various books that Lincoln may or may not have read. Here is the link.

http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&...5608,d.eWU

Best
Rob
Does any similar list or article exist about what Abraham Lincoln might have seen performed onstage (plays and operas)?
As for the operas, these were alledgedly performed by New York opera companies that toured to Washington. Where did they perform? At Ford's, Grover's or both? (Or elsewhere?) (I would really like to know what size those orchestras were.)
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07-27-2013, 06:24 PM (This post was last modified: 07-28-2013 11:36 AM by LincolnMan.)
Post: #11
RE: What did Lincoln read?
I remember one of the last things the Lincolns attended was The Magic Flute, March 15, 1865-in Washington. I don't remember the place.

Bill Nash
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07-27-2013, 06:41 PM (This post was last modified: 07-28-2013 11:28 AM by L Verge.)
Post: #12
RE: What did Lincoln read?
In searching, I found references to the Lincolns attending Faust at Grover's Theatre and another opera at Ford's. I also found this great site: http://www.abrahamlincolnsclassroom.org/...9&CRLI=109 with a great deal of history about Lincoln and his love of music - from Ward Hill Lamon's singing to high opera.
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07-28-2013, 04:06 AM (This post was last modified: 07-28-2013 04:19 AM by Eva Elisabeth.)
Post: #13
RE: What did Lincoln read?
Laurie, I especially enjoyed this story on your site:
'
"He has but just seated himself when a harsh, croaking voice in the middle aisle, loud enough to be heard all over the house, exclaims: 'He hasn't any business here! That's all he cares for his poor soldiers!' There was a second of angry silence. Voices all over the house cried: 'Put him out! Put him out!' Above all this clamor the wrathful note of a German soldier was heard, shouting; 'De Bresident has a right to hees music! He is goot to come! He shall haf hees music! Dot is vot I shay! He shall haf hees music!'"

Bill, I think at that performance he said about the leading female singer's large flat feet that "the beetles would not have much of a chance there"? (to Col. Wilson).

According to historian A. Guelzo, Lincoln attended the opera in Washington nineteen times. Other operas I found out were Gounod's "Faust", Weber's "Freischütz", Flotow's "Martha", Bellini's "Norma" and Donizetti's "Fille du Régiment". And a musical play called "Gamea or the Jewish mother".

But I didn't find anything about the places (or the size of the orchestras).
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07-28-2013, 11:38 AM
Post: #14
RE: What did Lincoln read?
(07-28-2013 04:06 AM)Eva Elisabeth Wrote:  Laurie, I especially enjoyed this story on your site:
'
"He has but just seated himself when a harsh, croaking voice in the middle aisle, loud enough to be heard all over the house, exclaims: 'He hasn't any business here! That's all he cares for his poor soldiers!' There was a second of angry silence. Voices all over the house cried: 'Put him out! Put him out!' Above all this clamor the wrathful note of a German soldier was heard, shouting; 'De Bresident has a right to hees music! He is goot to come! He shall haf hees music! Dot is vot I shay! He shall haf hees music!'"

Bill, I think at that performance he said about the leading female singer's large flat feet that "the beetles would not have much of a chance there"? (to Col. Wilson).

According to historian A. Guelzo, Lincoln attended the opera in Washington nineteen times. Other operas I found out were Gounod's "Faust", Weber's "Freischütz", Flotow's "Martha", Bellini's "Norma" and Donizetti's "Fille du Régiment". And a musical play called "Gamea or the Jewish mother".

But I didn't find anything about the places (or the size of the orchestras).

Pretty "high-brow" entertainment for the self-educated Lincoln (some might say).

Bill Nash
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05-05-2014, 12:51 AM
Post: #15
RE: What did Lincoln read?
What did Lincoln read? Well, a lot of things. The one I'm thinking about now is the poem Mortality by William Knox. Lincoln knew it by memory- which means, I suppose, that he also read it many times.
The poem is especially on my mind as three people that I've known for a long time passed way this past week- none of them related to me. Life truly is short and to be valued for every heartbeat we have.

Bill Nash
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