Lincoln Signature Discovered In Clinton Library Book
From Illinois Public Radio - News Local/State - August 05, 2014
Lincoln Signature Discovered In Clinton Library Book
By Charlie Schlenker
A book that Abraham Lincoln read and signed has lingered long unrecognized on the shelves of the Vespasian Warner Public Library in Clinton.
James Cornelius, Curator of the Lincoln Collection at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library in Springfield, says this is an important addition to the understanding of Lincoln's intellectual foundations.
Cornelius said Lincoln rarely signed books.
"Really, there are so many books out there with Lincoln's forged signature on the title page," he said. "(Many) are forgeries. So this is really exciting to us, to find something like this."
The 700 page book, "The Types Of Mankind," used the then new discovery of Neanderthal man to falsely argue that different races formed at different times and places, so slavery was justified - since Africans and Native Americans were not "fellow men."
Cornelius said this also gives further evidence that Lincoln was a good lawyer because he took the time to think about opposing beliefs to counter them rationally.
"And this book is full of his opponents' arguments in Stephen Douglas's whole idea and half the people in the country that negroes and caucasians were not really the same kind of people."
In addition to insight into Lincoln's intellectual history, the copy of "The Types Of Mankind" affirms modern society in a small way.
"It has been out there in a public library for all these years," he said. "Some people probably noticed it when they checked out that book from Clinton, Illinois, and it never got stolen. This is a wonderful testament to the basic honesty of people, I think."
Lincoln's writing identifes the book as belonging to Clinton Attorney Clifton Moore.
Cornelius said a possible explanation is that Lincoln borrowed the book when the two contested an 1855 libel case in DeWitt County. It concerned a man whose brother-in-law was putting it about town that he was black. Lincoln won the case.
Lincoln may have wanted to make sure the book went back to Moore when he won the Presidency.
A piece of Hollywood is coming to Illinois early next year. Filmmaker Steven Spielberg is sending props and sets from the movie “Lincoln” to be part of a new exhibit at Springfield’s Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum.
Steven Spielberg's film Lincoln introduces moviegoers to a different element of the 16th President's character. Behind the myth, he was a political animal. The movie displays Lincoln in his final days, fighting for passage of the 13th Amendment the the U.S. Constitution, which outlawed slavery. It's easy to remember President Lincoln as a larger-than-life figure. But this film reminds us that, while he was a legendary President, he was also a man. And that man started his professional life as an attorney in Central Illinois. We'll discuss Lincoln's time in the region, and the man behind the myth, with Lincoln historian Steve Beckett, Chair of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum Advisory Board, and Guy Fraker, author of the book Lincoln's Ladder to the Presidency.
As a lawyer traveling Illinois’ Eighth Judicial Circuit, Abraham Lincoln made two simultaneous journeys. He gained respect as a skilled attorney and mesmerizing speaker, but he also built a political base and refined his views on the important issues of the day, many of which he would face in the White House.
His experiences from 1837 to 1860 on muddy roads, in homes of friends and in courtrooms on the circuit guided him when he became president. WILL-TV’s Lincoln: Prelude to the Presidency tells the story of the cases he tried and people he met during this critical period of his life.
“That’s where he really got a sense of the various kinds of problems people faced,” said historian Doris Kearns Goodwin, one of the experts featured in the documentary. “He got a sense of the exuberance of their dreams and their hopes. In a certain sense, I think it was the root of his political education.”
Reenactments of Lincoln as you’ve never seen him before: defending a slaveholder trying to reclaim a slave named Jane Bryant and her children; brandishing a sword on the banks of the Mississippi River at dawn before being talked out of fighting a duel; and crossing the prairie reading a book atop his horse, Old Tom.
Interviews with experts, including Doris Kearns Goodwin, Edna Greene Medford and Orville Vernon Burton, who describe how the circuit built the skills Lincoln used as president.
Available from American Public Television
Producer, writer: Alison Davis Wood
Co-producer, director: Tim Hartin
Co-producer, editor: Colin Hartin
Subject matter expert: Guy Fraker
Executive producers: Henry Szujewski, Steve Drake
Silver Telly Award
DVD purchase for individual viewers, call 1-800-528-7980
Lincoln: Prelude to the Presidency was made possible by contributions from the Illinois Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission; Country Financial; the University of Illinois College of Law; the Monticello Chamber of Commerce; the Office of the Chancellor, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; the Illinois State Bar Association and the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library & Museum.