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Author Michael Burlingame
Michael Burlingame
Author Interview

Abraham Lincoln: A Life

Michael Burlingame, author
Abraham Lincoln: A Life
December 2008; 2 volumes, 2024 pages, hardcover

Pull up a chair as we discuss America's most remarkable president and the making of a comprehensive biography. This is a rare opportunity to learn from one of the world's foremost Lincoln scholars. Michael Burlingame, who brings an encyclopedic knowledge to his subject, offers this two-volume work for every serious reader, teacher, student, and researcher.

At the time of this interview, Michael Burlingame was the Sadowski Professor of History Emeritus at Connecticut College. He has earned the reputation as a researcher-of-researchers and author or editor of 11 previous Lincoln titles, listed at the end of this article. His engaging writing style and seemingly inexhaustible discoveries of new Lincoln materials have made him a legend in Lincoln circles.

Abraham Lincoln: A Life Publication of Abraham Lincoln: A Life coincides with the bicentennial of Lincoln's birth, but long after the official events are a memory, this biography will carry the Lincoln story to new generations. Burlingame retells this dramatic life account using resources which early biographers could not even dream of: the unprecedented research from recent years. The result is so monumental that we talk about it at the dinner table as his magnum opus.

In the interview that follows, you'll catch a glimpse of the biography-in-the-making, as well as a many-sided Lincoln: the poor farm boy with a punitive father, the circuit-riding lawyer who took surprising cases, the shrewd politician with a controversial wife, the weary president with death at his doorstep.

ALO: Why does Abraham Lincoln interest you?

Michael Burlingame: It's partly because of my great-grandfather's cousin, Anson Burlingame, who was President Lincoln's minister to China. He was a Massachusetts anti-slavery congressman who was mysteriously defeated for re-election in 1860. Lincoln appointed him first to Austria-Hungary but was turned down because he was too liberal, so Lincoln sent him to China.

Also, I grew up in Washington, D.C., where I saw the Lincoln Memorial, Ford's Theatre, the Capitol, and White House. All that was part of my childhood landscape. Then I had a particularly influential teacher when as a freshman in college: David Herbert Donald. I was the only freshman to take his Civil War course and attended the class he gave twice a week as well as a small-group discussion he led.

I got to know him very well and he had me out to his house often. Then he made me his research assistant and I became something of a protege. When he left Princeton after my sophomore year I stayed on until graduation and went to Johns Hopkins to work with him on a Ph.D. So he was my mentor throughout the 1960s, and of course is an eminent Lincoln authority. All those things combined predisposed me to be a Lincoln person.

ALO: When did you develop a Lincoln focus in your studies?

Michael Burlingame: I began to do this in 1984. I was teaching at Connecticut College in New London where I spent my entire academic career. There wasn't much emphasis on publication then, but I got an overwhelming urge to write a book on Lincoln, which 10 years later became The Inner World of Abraham Lincoln. I thought that that would be that, but I discovered so much new information about Lincoln in my research that I was astounded.

I assumed when I began work on The Inner World of Abraham Lincoln that everything important about Lincoln -- what he'd written, what he'd said, and what people said about him -- had long since been unearthed and published and would be available in books and articles. But when I began to do research in original, unpublished material, I found a wealth of new information, so I started to share that by publishing various editions of primary materials.

I thought someone ought to do a new cradle-to-the-grave biography of Lincoln in detail, taking advantage of this new information, plus the material from the Lincoln Legal Papers Project, and the like. I looked around and thought maybe James McPherson would do this or Gabor Boritt, or Mark Neely -- any number of eminent historians -- and no one seemed willing to undertake such a project, so I thought, "I'll do it myself."

ALO: How many years did it take to finish the biography?

Michael Burlingame: I signed a contract with Random House in 1997 and submitted the final corrections to Johns Hopkins, the press that I switched to, in September 2008, so it was 11 years.

ALO: Did you complete it so quickly because of your previous research?

Michael Burlingame: Yes, that helped a lot. Having written The Inner World of Abraham Lincoln and edited so many collections of Lincoln primary source materials gave me a pretty good head start. Also, a very generous philanthropist offered to underwrite my research so I could retire from teaching early in 2001 and devote full time to the book. I was making progress while I was still teaching but not enough to reach the publication deadline.

ALO: As you progressed, did you change any research methods?

Michael Burlingame: One thing that happened was that the Internet became so much more useful between 1997 and 2008. It was particularly helpful in checking the accuracy of quoted material from books and articles. In the old days you would have to go to the library, get the book off the shelf, turn to the page, read the whole page, and make sure you hadn't made a mistake in transcribing it. Now you just type in the passage, hit Google Books and -- bam! there it is! So that made life a lot easier. And of course to have the Lincoln papers online, word-searchable and checkable against the photos of the original documents, was an absolute godsend.

But what the Internet is not good at is manuscript collections in general. The Lincoln papers are an exception. It's easy to find the letters Lincoln wrote; they're all published. It's easy to find letters written to him; they're at the Library of Congress Lincoln Papers. Finding letters about him is the real trick. It requires going all around the country, spending a great deal of time in Springfield, in Washington, and then traveling to Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Ohio, Michigan, Virginia, and all over. I've done an awful lot of that research. Those manuscript collections are not likely to be online.

Newspapers were extremely valuable and important. One thing I discovered in writing about Lincoln's presidency was that historians have tended to use the New York newspapers on the reasonable assumption that they had the biggest budgets and biggest staffs and therefore the most thorough coverage. But in fact, if someone from, say, Iowa -- a congressman, or senator or general or whoever -- sees the president and comes out of the White House, he's not necessarily going to talk to a reporter from the New York Herald or New York Times or New York Tribune. He's going to talk to someone from the Des Moines Register or whatever because those were his friends.

So you have to read all those papers, in addition to the New York papers. It's very tedious. You sit in front of a microfilm reader and keep turning the crank and looking every day at the Washington correspondence. But if you do you find a lot of new information; much of the new information in my book has come from newspapers. I hope soon to do a book called What Lincoln Said According to Civil War Newspapers. It's an extraordinarily rich source of information.

It's not as good as finding new Lincoln letters, of course, but if somebody comes out of the White House, talks to a reporter and the next day it shows up in the paper, at least it has the great advantage of being contemporary. If it seems to fit with everything else we know about Lincoln, it's a very valuable piece of information. There are some of those statements in the Fehrenbachers' book, Recollected Words of Abraham Lincoln but very few. They're at the beginning, listed under Anonymous. The problem with digitized newspapers, which are great in some ways, is that if you type in "Lincoln" you get thousands of hits; if you type in "president" you get tens of thousands of hits. It's better to go through a paper day by day and not rely on the digitized versions.

ALO: What are some other new sources you found?

Michael Burlingame: One of the most fascinating discoveries I made was a speech Frederick Douglass gave in New York City on June 1, 1865, the last day of mourning for Lincoln. It took place in Cooper Union, the premier site for public speeches. In it he said that Abraham Lincoln was emphatically the black man's president, the first to recognize his rights as a man and a citizen. But everyone who writes about Lincoln and race cites the speech Douglass gave in 1876 when he said Abraham Lincoln was preeminently the white man's president and blacks were only his stepchildren.

I checked the 1865 speech in Frederick Douglass's papers and saw the manuscript, which is online now. Then I checked the five-volume edition of Douglass's speeches published by the Yale University Press and didn't find it. I was quite shocked. So that was really a dramatic find. Now James Oakes, whose book on Lincoln and Frederick Douglass came out a year or two ago, does mention the speech. It took a long time before someone made sure the larger public knew about it.

Then I found another speech in the Douglass papers from December 1865 in which he says that when Lincoln called for black voting rights in his April 11, 1865 speech, many of us were skeptical because of the limited nature: voting rights were to go only to soldiers who served in the army and the "very intelligent," by which we assume he meant the literate, but we should have recognized that Abraham learned his statesmanship in the school of railsplitting. To split a rail you take a wedge and insert the thin edge into the log. Then you drive home the thick edge with a maul, and we should have known that once Abraham Lincoln inserted the thin edge of the wedge, he would be sure to drive home the thick edge. Douglass appreciated more fully what that limited black voting right speech actually portended.

ALO: Didn't you also find some anonymous Lincoln writing?

Michael Burlingame: Yes. That's another book I want to do: Lincoln's Anonymous and Pseudonomous Journalism. We know from William Herndon, Lincoln's law partner, and James Matheny, one of the groomsmen at Lincoln's wedding, that Lincoln wrote for the Springfield, Illinois, newspaper: the Sangamo Journal, later called the Illinois State Journal. He wrote hundreds of pieces but nobody I'm aware of has ever has systematically tried to identify them.

I have identified what I think are 200+ articles in the 1830s and 1840s. There are more in the 1850s. You can't prove beyond cavil that these are by Lincoln but we know he wrote the second Rebecca letter, which led to the near-duel initiated by James Shields. We're pretty sure he wrote the letter signed by "A Conservative," which ridicules his rival Stephen A. Douglas. There are a few others that most scholars would agree are Lincoln's. There are about a dozen that are reasonably well established as Lincoln items, although they don't bear Lincoln's name.

You can detect within those pieces certain qualities of style and tone and thrust. Then you can say if that's true then a few more of these are by him, which expands the base you use to compare the others. Gradually, through that technique, I've been able to identify at least 200 pieces. Now I can't say for absolute certain these were by Lincoln but it seems highly likely. In the biography I had to use a rather clumsy locution in citing these pieces, such as "the Sangamo Journal ran a piece probably by Lincoln," so it's a rather awkward stylistic challenge.

Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln
Library of Congress

But particularly in the 1830s and 1840s we don't have speeches by Lincoln except for a handful: the Temperance speech, Lyceum Address, Banking speech, and Congressional speeches. We don't really know what Lincoln said when he campaigned for office. We know the statement he made at the beginning of his legislative campaign but not what the speeches were. The Democratic papers all said Lincoln gave a terrible speech and nobody was impressed and the Whig papers said he gave a great speech and everyone was impressed.

If I'm right, some of these pieces really do illuminate some of his arguments in behalf of the banks and tariffs and canals and railroads and the like. Many are very low-road political abuse of Democrats, very sarcastic and crammed with ridicule and sarcasm. Lincoln didn't invent that form of political discourse, but he was particularly good at it.

ALO: What impact did the Lincoln Legal Papers have on your work?

Michael Burlingame: It helps a great deal to be able to talk about Lincoln's law career with some certainty. We now can describe the nature of his practice: what percentage of his cases were involved in debt collection (a very large percentage), what percentage were murder, divorce, property, and so on. To explain Lincoln's law practice in general, it's extremely helpful. The big drawback of the Lincoln Legal Papers is that there are only two full transcripts of any trials showing what Lincoln actually said in court.

For other cases, we have his pleading that he wrote out but we don't know what he actually said in court itself, except in these two instances: the Rock Island Bridge case and Peachy Quinn Harrison case. What we'd all love to have is the full transcripts in each case, but we can speak with some authority about Lincoln's law career, which was not possible before. There's a very fine book by Mark Steiner called An Honest Calling: The Law Practice of Abraham Lincoln which I relied very heavily on when I discussed Lincoln as a lawy,er.

One of the most interesting things about Lincoln's law career is the Mattson Slave Case, in which Lincoln represents a slaveholder. People have been shocked: how could a man who really abhorred slavery lend himself to such an enterprise? Mark Steiner points out that at the time, lawyers in Springfield didn't have the luxury of picking and choosing clients. If you wanted to put food on the table, you took every client who came along. That was the way Lincoln operated.

He represented a slave who was being held against her will and got her freedom, and he represented a slaveholder. Then, by the same token, he represented railroads which were being sued by farmers and others, and represented farmers who were suing railroads. In malpractice cases he would represent doctors being sued by patients and patients who were suing their doctors. So the fact he defended a slaveholder as well as a slave is more of a commentary on the nature of the law and how it was practiced in Illinois than on Lincoln's personal ideological ideals.

ALO: What are some other things that would surprise people?

Michael Burlingame: There was a theme that was in my first book, the The Inner World of Abraham Lincoln, but it's more prominent in the biography: how awful the marriage was. The stories of Mary Todd Lincoln and how badly she behaved in treating Lincoln was truly dismaying. She physically abused him. She embarrassed him time and again by accepting bribes and kickbacks and by overspending and padding expense accounts and payrolls and accepting commissions for pardon brokering. The evidence for this is overwhelming and is going to shock some people.

Also I discovered evidence that Mrs. Lincoln suffered from PMS, according to the Dean family who lived across the street. I found a letter written to Ida Tarbell by the son of that family. When he was a boy the Lincolns moved into the neighborhood and his mother took it upon herself to socialize Mrs. Lincoln into the neighborhood. He remembered hearing his mother and her lady friends talking about Mrs. Lincoln's outbursts of temper and hysterics. The women said her behavior was not a constant feature of daily life but tended to come in monthly cycles. He said he did not understand that but as he grew older he did and shortly after Lincoln died he went to Herndon and told him this is what his mother and her friends believed. Herndon told him he believed that and Lincoln did, too. It's pretty clear Mary Todd Lincoln was manic-depressive and I'm not the first to make that diagnosis. There's a fairly strong link between manic-depression and PMS.

ALO: Will Mary Lincoln authors find this a bit jarring?

Michael Burlingame: Oh, absolutely. In the case of some writers, the basic problem is not doing the research. You have to go into a lot of different sources, but once you do the research and get into the papers and archives and manuscript collections, there's an abundance of information. I discovered this a long time ago when I began original research at Brown University.

I had drafted The Inner World of Abraham Lincoln based on published sources, but on the very first day of original research in unpublished sources, I discovered an interview John Nicolay conducted with Orville Browning. This didn't show up anywhere in the Nicolay-Hay biography of Lincoln. In it, Browning says that Lincoln used to tell him in the White House about his domestic troubles. He was constantly afraid his wife would do something to humiliate him publicly. Now there's an interesting piece of information. So I started to investigate the misconduct she was engaged in.

There are new Benjamin Brown French papers that came to the Library of Congress fairly recently. In one of those letters he compares Mary Lincoln to a hyena. I found that Dr. Robert K. Stone, the Lincoln family physician in Washington, called her a "devil." Nicolay and Hay referred to her as "her Satanic majesty." So all these people in the White House are testifying to this -- it's not some conspiracy by male chauvinist historians. A lot of the criticism of Mrs. Lincoln and her ways comes from women of her time -- journalists and the wives of public officials. The evidence was overwhelming that the marriage was exceedingly woe-filled.

And if you don't tell that story, if you sweep it under the rug, then you miss an important element of what Lincoln had to deal with during the war. Not only did he have difficult generals, congressmen, senators, cabinet members, newspaper editors, and office seekers to deal with -- on top of that, instead of a comforting haven from the brutal world, it was even worse at home. It makes the sorrow he had to deal with throughout the war even more poignant.

Mary Lincoln
Mary Lincoln
Library of Congress

I hasten to add that Mrs. Lincoln is more to be pitied than censured. She didn't ask to have her mother die when she was six. She didn't ask to have her father remarry shortly thereafter to a much younger woman. She didn't ask to have her stepmother treat her as some stepmothers do, like an undesirable. She didn't ask to have three of her four children die before they reached adulthood. She didn't ask to have her husband murdered at her side at the peak of his influence. She had a great deal to cope with. I think a lot of her problems were inherited. Mental instability was a feature of many people in her family -- brothers, sisters, nephews, nieces, uncles, cousins.
ALO: Would you say the White House years were grief-filled?

Michael Burlingame: As is well known, Lincoln was prone to depression, and there was plenty to be depressed about during the war, particularly on the heels of Union defeats. The ever-growing casualty list was a tremendous burden. The grief that Lincoln felt not was only because of all the soldiers who were killed and the widows and orphans, but also his own grief at losing his 11-year-old son Willie. Willie was a source of great comfort to him because he thought like him, had his values, temperament, and sense of humor. Lincoln knew the special joy that can come to a parent who has a child just like him or her. To lose Willie in 1862 was particularly crushing.

His oldest son Robert was off at Harvard College. His youngest son Tad was a lovable little boy but he was learning disabled and simply not Willie. Then Mrs. Lincoln was a source of embarrassment and trouble, so to lose Willie was a real blow. But Lincoln had a kind of surrogate son in the White House who offset some of this grief, and that was John Hay. I think Hay was the son he really would like to have had. He was so clever and so quick, so smart, so literary, and so capable that Lincoln derived enjoyment from Hay and to a lesser extent, Nicolay, Stoddard, and the others.

ALO: Speaking of Hay, do you still maintain he authored the Bixby letter?

Michael Burlingame: The overwhelming evidence points to that. Hay told half a dozen people that he wrote it. He pasted a copy of it into a scrapbook of his own writing. He used words like "beguile" and "assuage" regularly in it, which never showed up in Lincoln's writings. When you put all that together it seems virtually irrefutable that Hay was the author and Lincoln signed it. It's a beautiful letter, but it just doesn't sound like Lincoln; it's not Lincoln's "voice."

It was written at an extremely busy time at the White House. A fellow in New York who was the head of the Lincoln-Johnson committee in the 1864 campaign writes in mid-November to say they were having a banquet and wanted Lincoln to write a toast. Hay writes back and says that Lincoln really wanted to write the toast instead of having me do it but the crush of business around here is so great he just didn't have a chance. This was right at the time the Bixby letter was written.

On the same day the Bixby letter was written, a letter is written to John Phillips, a centenarian in Massachuetts who voted for Lincoln. A copy of that, too, is pasted into John Hay's scrapbook. It was the sort of thing you would expect a secretary to write. Lincoln did write very moving letters of condolence -- to the parents of Elmer Ellsworth and to Fanny McCullough, but those letters have a very different feeling, stylistic pattern, and tone from the Bixby letter.

ALO: What about the letter which surfaced in Texas?

Michael Burlingame: That's clearly a copy. The actual letter appeared only in a newspaper. The original was given to the widow Bixby by the Adjutant General of Massachusetts, William Schouler. The letter went to the governor's office in Boston where it was turned it over to Schouler, who asked Lincoln to write it in the first place. He hands it to Mrs. Bixby, who was a Confederate sympathizer, and who tears it up in a rage. She'd been raised in Richmond and ran a whorehouse in Boston, so she was a disreputable character. She lied about losing five sons when she lost only two and was trying to cheat the government out of money.

The manuscript of the letter has disappeared. What we have is the newspaper copy. Anybody could copy that out and forge Lincoln's handwriting. There are at least two known attempts to forge the letter and sell it. So the one in Texas would be a copy of some sort. It's highly unlikely it came from the White House; they had a very irregular system of copying letters. There were no letterpress copies of Lincoln's letters. If Nicolay copied a Lincoln letter he would write "True Copy. John G. Nicolay" on it.

ALO: Lincoln had a distrust of biographies. What would he think of Abraham Lincoln: A Life?

Michael Burlingame: I hope he'd be pleased. I've tried to be as honest and candid as possible. The thing he objected to in biographers, if Herndon's memory is accurate, is that they tended to have nothing to say about the flaws, that all the subjects were perfect characters. There is a feeling in some circles that if you criticize Lincoln as I do, as being a political hack in his twenties and thirties, that that is unfair or denegrating Lincoln. Or if you say that he had a terrible relationship with his father, that it's a libel on Lincoln.

But he did have a terrible relationship with his father and there's overwhelming evidence of that. There's also overwhelming evidence that his father was not a member of the bourgeoisie but was something of a shiftless ne'er-do-well. If you say Lincoln had a terrible marriage, for which there's abundant evidence, that's denegrating Lincoln. I certainly admire Lincoln, but I'm also willing to go where the evidence leads ... including that he really did love Ann Rutledge. I've tried to put together an objective, warts-and-all biography and hope Lincoln would be pleased by it.

ALO: You say that history is "psychology teaching by examples." How does that relate to Lincoln?

Michael Burlingame: If you study history in general, what you often find is that individuals and groups and nations don't behave in a way designed to maximize their safety or prosperity. They seem to act in ways that don't make sense if you believe that people are rational pursuers of their own self-interest. There are so many aspects of our lives that are influenced by unconscious psychological forces that most historians tend to shortchange.

The most conspicuous example in Lincoln's case was that he hated slavery because of the way his father treated him, which was like a slave. His father rented him out to neighbors and he would work all day in the hot sun and get paid 25 cents and then have to turn that over to his father. When Lincoln comes to denouce slavery, he emphasizes, to the virtual exclusion of every other argument, that it's an outrage to work all day while someone else derives all the profit.

That argument had a special resonance for Lincoln because he experienced it. He unconsciously identified with the slaves and his father with the slaveholders. That isn't the complete explanation, of course. Lincoln had a very sensitive conscience, probably from birth. That can't be explained psychologically. On top of that was a pattern of being rented out to neighbors with his father taking all the earnings.

ALO: Are there still some things you wish you knew?

Michael Burlingame: I would love to know how he truly felt about his father. I wonder how he felt after being yanked out of school and rented to neighbors. I would really like to know what he did plan to do about black sufferage. We know that he was going to introduce it in Louisiana. By the way, there is something in the public record that is not well understood: that Abraham Lincoln was murdered because he called for limited black sufferage.

It was not because he issued the Emancipation Proclamation or endorsed the Thirteenth Amendment, but because on April 11, 1865, John Wilkes Booth heard his speech which said that some blacks should be allowed to vote. Booth then turned to his accomplices, Lewis Payne and Davy Herold, and said, "That means nigger citizenship. That's the last speech he's ever going to give. I'm going to run him through." Three days later he shot him. Lincoln was as much a martyr to black civil rights as Martin Luther King or Medgar Evers or others from the 1960s.

ALO: What has attracted people to Lincoln over the years?

Michael Burlingame: Character and personality. He's so admirable and approachable and lovable. We have plenty of admirable characters in American history like George Washington and Thomas Jefferson but they're not lovable in the way Lincoln was. He had a kind of humanity and humor and earthiness that appeals to people emotionally as well as intellectually. We all know he was extremely important historically because of what he accomplished and the victory in the war and what a brilliant writer he was.

One of the things I emphasize in my book is that Lincoln has traditionally been regarded as an inspiration because he rose above poverty to become famous. Although that's true what I find particularly meaningful is that he not only overcame economic poverty but also emotional poverty.

To come from a background where he really suffered from emotional malnutrition (his baby brother dies, his mother dies when he's nine, his father'is unsympathetic and beats him, his older sister dies, his sweetheart dies, he has a terrible marriage, two of his children die, he suffers career failures, and has a difficult midlife crisis), and yet he overcomes all that to become not only famous but profoundly psychologically whole and mature, balanced, and a model of moral clarity with unimpeachable integrity. I think that there's hope for all of us.

ALO: Is there life after A Life for you?

Michael Burlingame: First, I have to do a one-volume abridgement of the book. Then I have about 10 more Lincoln editorial projects, some of which I began when I signed the contract to do the biography: Lincoln's anonymous journalism, Lincoln's words according to the newspapers of the war era, Tarbell's informants, a new edition of Henry Whitney's biography of Lincoln, Barton's informants, a new edition of Lincoln on the eve of '61 from Henry Villard, Lincoln in Indiana, Lincoln in Kentucky, and recollections of people that appeared in the Chicago Times-Herald.

There also will be an online version of Abraham Lincoln: A Life, which will contain all the footnotes in it; there wasn't enough space in the printed edition for them. Also, when corrections need to be made or new information comes to light, it can be added.

It's a great honor and privilege to work with Lincoln because he's so honorable and so admirable and so warm. He's such a good companion.

Related Books

  • Burlingame, Michael, editor. Abraham Lincoln: The Observations of John G. Nicolay and John Hay. Southern Illinois University, 2007.

  • Stevens, Walter B.; Michael Burlingame, editor. A Reporter's Lincoln. Bison Books, 1998.

  • Burlingame, Michael, editor. At Lincoln's Side: John Hay's Civil War Correspondence and Selected Writings. Southern Illinois University Press, 2000.

  • Burlingame, Michael, editor. Dispatches from Lincoln's White House: The Anonymous Civil War Journalism of Presidential Secretary William O. Stoddard. University of Nebraska Press, 2002.

  • Burlingame, Michael and Ettlinger, John R. T., editors. Inside Lincoln's White House: The Complete Civil War Diary of John Hay. Southern Illinois University Press, 1999.

  • Burlingame, Michael, editor. Inside the White House in War Times: Memoirs and Reports of Lincoln's Secretary. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2000.

  • Thomas, Benjamin; Michael Burlingame, editor. "Lincoln's Humor" and Other Essays. University of Illinois Press, 2002.

  • Burlingame, Michael, editor. Lincoln Observed: The Civil War Dispatches of Noah Brooks. The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1998.

  • Burlingame, Michael, editor. Lincoln's Journalist: John Hay's Anonymous Writings for the Press, 1860-1864. Southern Illinois University Press, 1998.

  • Burlingame, Michael. The Inner World of Abraham Lincoln. University of Illinois Press, 1994.

  • Burlingame, Michael, editor. With Lincoln in the White House: Letters, Memoranda, and Other Writings of John G. Nicolay, 1860-1865. Southern Illinois University Press, 2000.

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