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Any recommendations on a book about William O. Stoddard?
08-24-2012, 06:47 PM
Post: #1
Any recommendations on a book about William O. Stoddard?
The man seems amazing: author, inventor, and friend of Lincoln. He worked for Lincoln-and wrote out the first Emancipation Proclamation in 1862. Lived a long life. Is there a standard work on him- or is one of us going to have to write it? Rob, after Sandburg-Stoddard is your next subject! Smile

Bill Nash
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08-24-2012, 06:58 PM
Post: #2
RE: Any recommendations on a book about William O. Stoddard?
Bill,

I don't know of any book on Stoddard, although he certainly wrote a lot of them himself.

As for my next subject, sorry, but if I haven't joined the choir invisible by the time I get Sandburg done, my next project will be a biography of James G. Randall.

Maybe you should give it a shot. Smile

Best
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

I want the respect of intelligent men, but I will choose for myself the intelligent.
--Carl Sandburg
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08-25-2012, 09:05 AM
Post: #3
RE: Any recommendations on a book about William O. Stoddard?
Bill, thank you for mentioning Stoddard. I had no clue as to what he had done with his life prior to your post.
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08-25-2012, 09:26 AM
Post: #4
RE: Any recommendations on a book about William O. Stoddard?
He seems very worthy of a book. He even served in the War himself-and wrote, I believe, two books on Lincoln. Hard to believe he has missed being subject of attention considering his place in history and significant life achievements.

Bill Nash
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08-25-2012, 09:55 AM
Post: #5
RE: Any recommendations on a book about William O. Stoddard?
A lot of it has to do with the vagaries of the moment, Bill. Someone has to be interested in the subject and find a publisher who thinks there would be enough interest to sustain selling enough books to turn a profit. Most people have some familiarity with Nicolay and Hay, but fewer know Stoddard.

Also, one has to factor in the availability of primary material. In doing a quick search on NUCMC for Stoddard, I didn't come up with anything other than some papers in the Burton Historical Collection in Detroit his son had when he wrote a book about his father. Also, Harold Holzer edited a book that was probably also a family reminisce. However, without Stoddard's personal papers readily available, any kind of full life would be difficult to do.

However, I was serious in my comment that maybe it's something you should take up. Interest in a subject is usually the prime for beginning a research project. If you want to do it, I'll be happy to help you in any way I could. You might not get a book out of it, but an article might be very doable.

Best
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

I want the respect of intelligent men, but I will choose for myself the intelligent.
--Carl Sandburg
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08-25-2012, 10:02 AM
Post: #6
RE: Any recommendations on a book about William O. Stoddard?
I saw some interesting letters written by Stoddard in the RTL papers at the ALPL. Stoddard wrote telling about a biography of Mary Lincoln in which he had written one chapter. It appears Robert stopped pubication of the book, and the manuscript (if it still exists) has never been found. It's a very interesting story that I hope to expand upon someday in the future. I would love to find the manuscript - or at least notes from the authors. So far, all I have found is that most of the papers were destroyed. We can thank Robert Lincoln for that action.
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08-25-2012, 10:51 AM
Post: #7
RE: Any recommendations on a book about William O. Stoddard?
Rob: thank you for your offer of assistance. You mention the Burton Historical Collection in Detroit. I spent much time there ten years ago working on my genealogy. Its a place I'm well familiar with. It also has a great statue of Lincoln right insight the Archival Room. The statue was done by sculpture Pelzer and has an interesting history. It was once stolen by vandals and MIA for a few days. It was finally found in the bushes of a local Detroit Public School-with damage. Hilary Clinton and the students of the Detroit Public School System raised funds for the repair work. It was then that it was placed at Burton. At any rate, I think I'll Make it over there in the near future and check out what Burton has. A seed planted?

Bill Nash
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08-25-2012, 10:58 AM
Post: #8
RE: Any recommendations on a book about William O. Stoddard?
Bill,

When you go to the Burton, could you do me a favor and see if they hold any of the papers of a man named Milo Milton Quaife? He wrote a scathing review of Sandburg's Prairie Years for the Mississippi Valley Historical Review. It seemed to me at one point I saw something that showed his papers were located there, but I can't find it anymore and when I check the various sources it doesn't come up anymore.

I would appreciate it very much.

Best
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

I want the respect of intelligent men, but I will choose for myself the intelligent.
--Carl Sandburg
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08-25-2012, 11:33 AM
Post: #9
RE: Any recommendations on a book about William O. Stoddard?
No problem Rob. I thinking in 2 to 3 weeks time I'll get over there.

Bill Nash
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08-28-2012, 07:18 AM
Post: #10
RE: Any recommendations on a book about William O. Stoddard?
Stoddard has another connection of interest to us-he was born in Homer, New York-at about the same time of Francis B. Carpenter. Carpenter made the famous painting of Lincoln signing the Emancipation Proclamation with his Cabinet surrounding him. While Stoddard wrote out the first copy of the document. Apparently, Stoddard had a son, by the way, who lived in Detroit on Webb Street. Back then Webb Street occupants were "well off." i imagine the any papers pertaining to Stoddard in the Burton Library are the result of his son being in Detroit.

Bill Nash
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08-28-2012, 08:11 AM (This post was last modified: 08-28-2012 09:04 AM by RJNorton.)
Post: #11
RE: Any recommendations on a book about William O. Stoddard?
Bill mentioned Francis Carpenter. In his book on pp. 258-259, Carpenter includes one of my favorite Lincoln quotes: "If I were to try to read, much less answer, all the attacks made on me, this shop might as well be closed for any other business. I do the very best I know how - the very best I can; and I mean to keep doing so until the end. If the end brings me out all right, what's said against me won't amount to anything. If the end brings me out wrong, ten angels swearing I was right would make no difference."

An almost identical version was given by Abram J. Dittenhoeffer, a New York lawyer, who claimed to have frequent meetings with Lincoln. In their book, Don and Virginia Fehrenbacher give Dittenhoeffer's version a "D" which means "a quotation about whose authenticity there is more than average doubt."

According to Carpenter, Lincoln uttered the quote in reaction to a verbal attack on him from the Committee on the Conduct of War. Dittenhoeffer's account is that the quote was Lincoln's response to criticism of his reconstruction policy.

I would like to believe this is an authentic Lincoln quote. Has anyone else come across this quote in another source?
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08-28-2012, 02:28 PM
Post: #12
RE: Any recommendations on a book about William O. Stoddard?
Roger, I love that quote and hope Lincoln said it as well. While I was looking up something else, I came across a Stoddard reference in Sandburg's One Volume Edition of Abraham Lincoln. On page 328 of the book, the aftermath of Fredericksburg is talked about. It is mentioned that Lincoln issued an address to the soldiers of the Army of the Potomac to try and encourage them after their defeat in the battle. According to Sandburg, Stoddard then wrote something about Lincoln that we are all familiar with regarding the losses: "We lost fifty per cent more men than did the enemy, and yet there is the sense in the awful arithmetic propounded by Mr. Lincoln. He says that if the same battle were to be fought over again, every day, through a week of days, with the same relative results, the army under Lee would be wiped out to its last man, the Army of the Potomac would still be a mighty host, but the war would be over, the Confederacy gone. No general yet found can face the arithmetic, but the end of the war will be at hand when he shall be discovered." Do we owe this knowledge of what Lincoln said to Stoddard? Or do we have it also from another source?

Bill Nash
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08-28-2012, 02:52 PM
Post: #13
RE: Any recommendations on a book about William O. Stoddard?
Bill,

Don Fehrenbacher gives that quotation a "D" in The Recollected Words of Abraham Lincoln, meaning that more than likely it's dubious. You also might try to find a copy of George Rable's Fredericksburg Fredericksburg, which I happen to have, but my office is serving as a warehouse for stuff going into our master bathroom and I can't get to it. Rable wrote of the battle not only from the military perspective from also from the political, so he may have something.

Best
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

I want the respect of intelligent men, but I will choose for myself the intelligent.
--Carl Sandburg
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08-28-2012, 08:31 PM
Post: #14
RE: Any recommendations on a book about William O. Stoddard?
There are a few books about Stoddard. The most recent, "Lincoln’s White House Secretary: The Adventurous Life of William O. Stoddard," was edited by Harold Holzer (Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 2007). Stoddard's memoirs were published in 1955 as, "Lincoln's Third Secretary: The Memoirs of William O. Stoddard" (New York: Exposition Press). Michael Burlingame edited Stoddard's anonymous writings while in the White House: "Dispatches from Lincoln’s White House: The Anonymous Civil War Journalism of Presidential Secretary William O. Stoddard," (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2002).
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08-29-2012, 06:48 AM
Post: #15
RE: Any recommendations on a book about William O. Stoddard?
Thanks everyone for the book referrals!

Bill Nash
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