Cover for WILSON: Herndon's Informants: Letters, Interviews, and Statements about Abraham Lincoln. Click for larger image

Herndon's Informants

Letters, Interviews, and Statements about Abraham Lincoln
Awards and Recognition:

Winner of the Abraham Lincoln Institute Book Award given by the Abraham Lincoln Institute of the Mid-Atlantic.

The collected, annotated accounts of Lincoln's early life

Now available in paperback, Herndon's Informants collects and annotates more than 600 letters and interviews providing information about Abraham Lincoln's prepolitical and prelegal careers. Some of the people Herndon questioned were illiterate. Others could read but barely write. The editors' undertaking took them to three major collections for the mammoth task of transcribing aged documents that often were barely legible.

A priceless resource for scholars and anyone curious about Lincoln and his times, Herndon's Informants includes an introduction, scholarly annotations, a registry of the informants, and a detailed topical index.


"[Wilson and Davis] have done a service of inestimable value to historians by the complete, accurately transcribed, indexed, and annotated edition of the written accounts of Herndon's interviews with 264 people. . . . It is a monumental achievement of scholarship. That is true not simply because of the editorial skill and effort required to complete it, but mainly because this material is the basis for most of what we know about the first half of Lincoln's life."--James M. McPherson, New York Review of Books


Douglas L. Wilson is the director of the Lincoln Studies Center at Knox College, in Galesburg, Illinois. Rodney O. Davis (d. 2019) was co-director of the Lincoln Studies Center at Knox College. They are the coeditors of Lincoln’s Confidant: The Life of Noah Brooks, Herndon on Lincoln: Letters, Herndon’s Lincoln, and The Lincoln-Douglas Debates. Terry Wilson is Assistant in Reference and Special Collections, Knox College Library.

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