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What are the important questions surrounding Lincoln?
09-02-2012, 08:55 PM
Post: #1
What are the important questions surrounding Lincoln?
I'm curious as to everyone's ideas for the questions surrounding the life of Lincoln which remain in question or doubt. For example:

1. What of Lincoln's religious views?
2. What of Ann Rutledge?
3. What of Lincoln's genealogy?
4. What of his marriage?

You get the idea. Tell me what you think? After some responses, I'll get a little more detailed as to why I'm asking this.

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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09-02-2012, 11:11 PM
Post: #2
RE: What are the important questions surrounding Lincoln?
I have a confession to make. I read the Wiki entry on "Lincoln and Religion" to refresh my memory and get more details on the subject.

I have wondered if there was a part of the younger Lincoln who was agnostic about religion after wrestling with the issue as an interesting intellectual exercise. But the ambitious young politician knew it would be political suicide to kick sand in the faces of the electorate by mocking their most cherished beliefs.

If true,the joke was on Lincoln. Many a politician has dreamed of what he would do as president but no one has ever imagined themselves as president waging war against a portion of his own people.

Facing the catastrophe of such a war seems to have made Lincoln a much more conventional 19th century Christian. His rhetoric in the 2nd inaugural about submission to the will of God would be profoundly offensive to modern secularists if uttered by a modern president. It is fascinating to see the influence of the King James Bible on Lincoln's prose style.
Tom
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09-03-2012, 04:01 AM (This post was last modified: 09-03-2012 04:05 AM by RJNorton.)
Post: #3
RE: What are the important questions surrounding Lincoln?
Rob, I will comment on the paternity question. I think an excellent source on that is William E. Barton's book entitled "The Paternity of Abraham Lincoln." It examines in great detail all of the various rumors - (1) that Lincoln was the son of Abraham Enlow, a farmer from Hardin County, Kentucky; (2) that Lincoln was the son of George Brownfield, another Hardin County farmer; (3) that Lincoln was the son of Abraham Inlow, a miller from Bourbon County, Kentucky; (4) that Lincoln was the son of an alleged foster son(named Andrew) of Chief Justice John Marshall; (5) that Lincoln was the son of Abraham Enloe of North Carolina; (6) that Lincoln was the son of John C. Calhoun of South Carolina; and (7) that Lincoln was the son of Martin D. Hardin of Kentucky.

After examining all the evidence on these 7 fathers, Barton concludes there is no question Thomas Lincoln was the true father of Abraham Lincoln.

Perhaps the Abraham Enloe of North Carolina story is the one that receives the most attention. According to David Herbert Donald, in his highly-rated "Lincoln," the popular but false North Carolina legend as well as all others have long ago been "exploded" by professional research. It is "utterly groundless" according to Donald.
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09-03-2012, 08:27 PM (This post was last modified: 09-03-2012 08:28 PM by Rob Wick.)
Post: #4
RE: What are the important questions surrounding Lincoln?
What I'm trying to do with this is to help me figure a plan of attack for my Tarbell book. If all I do is provide a narrative of how Tarbell wrote the McClure's series and then her books, it's going to get boring pretty quick. What I'm thinking about doing is comparing how she approached various questions of Lincoln's life and what her influences were, and at some point compare how she fared against what we know today. I'm thinking that the first three or four chapters would include analysis of certain questions interspersed with the narrative of how things flowed regarding the series and the early books. In other words (just as an example) one chapter could talk about Tarbell's quest to study Lincoln's genealogy while another chapter would cover Lincoln from the Indiana years up to his adulthood and another chapter would then talk about how Tarbell handled the Ann Rutledge evidence, etc. I would also write about Tarbell and Lincoln's assassination likely from the perspective of her search for information about the Dramatic Oil Company and tie that in with her upbringing in the oilfields of Pennsylvania and her series on John D. Rockefeller.

I want to make sure that I have all the questions figured out, so I don't miss something important. That's why I need everyone's help to come up with ideas that I might consider.

Thanks

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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09-04-2012, 06:44 AM
Post: #5
RE: What are the important questions surrounding Lincoln?
What made Tarbell want to do a book about Lincoln in the first place? What was she telling that others had overlooked or not emphasized? What made her book different?

You may have already planned this, but a background chapter about her and her times.

So when is this "Old Enough To Know Better" supposed to kick in?
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09-04-2012, 08:49 AM
Post: #6
RE: What are the important questions surrounding Lincoln?
Actually, Tarbell didn't. She was in Paris, sending back items to McClure's and she wanted to work on French history. McClure basically begged her to come back and to coordinate his idea of making McClure's into a "Lincoln Bureau" with first-hand accounts from people who knew Lincoln, and then that would become McClure's series. Within a few weeks, McClure realized that wouldn't work and convinced Tarbell to write it. From there, she was hooked.

Thanks, Gene. That definitely will be part of it.

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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09-04-2012, 09:57 AM
Post: #7
RE: What are the important questions surrounding Lincoln?
Rob, didn't she have a series of meetings with Robert Lincoln? Could you do a whole chapter, or perhaps a section of a chapter, on that topic? I would think her meetings with Robert might be an interesting item to include.
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09-04-2012, 10:52 AM (This post was last modified: 09-04-2012 10:54 AM by Rob Wick.)
Post: #8
RE: What are the important questions surrounding Lincoln?
Roger,

She met with RTL in the home of a friend in Chicago named Emily Lyons. From her autobiography All In the Day's Work:

When she [Lyons] learned that I was interested in new material on Lincoln she said at once: "Come to Chicago. I'll see that you meet Robert Lincoln, and I'll see that he gives you something." Too good to be true. But Mrs. Lyons kept her promise when I reached Chicago on my first expedition, producing Mr. Lincoln at once.
"Now Robert," she ordered as she filled our cups, "I want you to give her something worth while."
To be drinking tea with the son of Abraham Lincoln was so unbelievable to me that I could scarcely take note of his reply. I searched his face and manners for resemblances. There was nothing. He was all Todd, a big plump man perhaps fifty years old, perfectly groomed, with that freshness which makes men of his type look as if they were just out of the barber's chair, the admirable social poise of the man who has seen the world's greatest and has come to be sure of himself; and this in spite of such buffeting as few men had had--the assassination of his father when he was twenty-four, the humiliation of Mary Lincoln's half-crazed public exhibition of herself and her needs, the death of his brother Tad, the heartbraking necessity of having his mother committed for medical care, and more recently the loss of his only son.


Later she writes

I devoured him with my eyes. He was very friendly. To Mrs. Lyons' order to do his best for me he laughingly replied, "Of course if you say so, Emily." But he went on to say he was afraid he had little that would help me. Herndon had taken all his father's papers from the law office. I think he used the word "stolen," but I am not sure; at least I knew he felt they were stolen. He had protested, but was never able to get anything back. As for the Presidential period, all the correspondence was packed away in Washington, but it had been fully used by Nicolay and Hay. However, he had what he believed to be the earliest portrait made of his father--a daguerreotype never published. I could have that.
I held my breath. If it was true! I held my breath still longer when the picture was finally in my hands for I realized that this was a Lincoln which shattered the widely accepted tradition of his early shabbiness, rudeness, ungainliness. It was another Lincoln, and one that took me by storm.


Here is the subject file in Tarbell's papers on RTL, which include letters to him from Tarbell and from him to Tarbell.

It will definitely merit a major portion of an early chapter, Roger. Thanks!

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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09-04-2012, 11:51 AM (This post was last modified: 09-04-2012 11:52 AM by RJNorton.)
Post: #9
RE: What are the important questions surrounding Lincoln?
(09-04-2012 10:52 AM)Rob Wick Wrote:  However, he had what he believed to be the earliest portrait made of his father--a daguerreotype never published. I could have that.
I held my breath. If it was true! I held my breath still longer when the picture was finally in my hands for I realized that this was a Lincoln which shattered the widely accepted tradition of his early shabbiness, rudeness, ungainliness. It was another Lincoln, and one that took me by storm.

I know Robert gave a c.1847-1849 for this daguerreotype because he thought it was taken during the time of his father's term in the House of Representatives. He thought it was taken in Washington or possibly even in St. Louis. I just checked Tarbell's book, and she says "about 1848." However, the consensus among most historians is that it was taken in c.1846 by a daguerreian named Nicholas H. Shepherd in Springfield. No matter what, it is my humble opinion that this is indeed the earliest Lincoln photo, although other folks have made different claims about this.
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09-29-2012, 08:54 AM (This post was last modified: 09-29-2012 09:06 AM by emma1231.)
Post: #10
RE: What are the important questions surrounding Lincoln?
(09-04-2012 11:51 AM)RJNorton Wrote:  
(09-04-2012 10:52 AM)Rob Wick Wrote:  However, he had what he believed to be the earliest portrait made of his father--a daguerreotype never published. I could have that.
I held my breath. If it was true! I held my breath still longer when the picture was finally in my hands for I realized that this was a Lincoln which shattered the widely accepted tradition of his early shabbiness, rudeness, ungainliness. It was another Lincoln, and one that took me by storm.

I know Robert gave a c.1847-1849 for this daguerreotype because he thought it was taken during the time of his father's term in the House of Representatives. He thought it was taken in Washington or possibly even in St. Louis. I just checked Tarbell's book, and she says "about 1848." However, the consensus among most historians is that it was taken in c.1846 by a daguerreian named Nicholas H. Shepherd in Springfield. No matter what, it is my humble opinion that this is indeed the earliest Lincoln photo, although other folks have made different claims about this.

A very nice man -- a stock broker by profession --by the name of Albert Kaplan found a dag around 1977 that looked to him like Lincoln, circa 1845 ( ? ). He was convinced it was Abe, and that God had brought him to the dag. He spent untold hours and money amassing historical background and the opinions of photo history experts to bolster his firm belief. He was never able to get the Lincoln community (us) to accept the contention that his dag is the earliest known picture of Abe. He now lives in Vegas, and he is still trying to convince the world, after thirty-five years, that it's the 16th President. Nobody can convince him otherwise. We are friendly, and speak to ea. other once every two or three years, and he knows I don't think it's Lincoln. What amazed me about a year or two ago was that his agent sent it to the people who were going to reprint Sandburg's Lincoln in a new large format with both b & w and color pictures. I think it may have been Barnes & Noble. They actually contracted for the use of the Kaplan dag in the book and included it, with a caption stating that it is the earliest known picture of Lincoln!

Sorry I didnt give my name. The message about the Kaplan dag comes from me, Richard Sloan
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09-30-2012, 05:23 AM
Post: #11
RE: What are the important questions surrounding Lincoln?
Rob: actually the question that has captured my attention my whole life (and with countless others also) is, simply, "Who was he?" I know that doesn't pertain to what you asked on this thread. Like you've indicated on other threads on this forum-Lincoln is unknowable. There's the Sandburg Lincoln, but there are also many other "visions" of who he was. In the end, each of us decides who he was and what he was like.

Bill Nash
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09-30-2012, 08:39 AM
Post: #12
RE: What are the important questions surrounding Lincoln?
Bill,

That's actually something that Tarbell has thought about in both her published work and the unpublished letters. She was often called upon to provide a message for the country on Lincoln's birthday, and she often wrote about who she believed him to be. Thanks!

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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09-30-2012, 07:42 PM
Post: #13
RE: What are the important questions surrounding Lincoln?
A question similar to this is, "What would Lincoln, himself, like to be remembered for?"
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