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

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.

More than 600 letters and interviews providing information about Abraham Lincoln's prepolitical and prelegal careers are included in this volume, a priceless collection never before available in one place.

Women to whom Lincoln proposed marriage, political allies and adversaries, judges and fellow attorneys, longtime comrades, erstwhile friends--all speak out here in words first gathered by William H. Herndon, Lincoln's law partner, between 1865 and 1890. Historian David Herbert Donald has called Herndon's materials "the basic source for Abraham Lincoln's early years."

Some of those Herndon questioned were illiterate; others could read but barely write. Completion of this undertaking took the editors to three major collections for the mammoth task of transcribing documents that often were nearly illegible.

Invaluable to Lincoln scholars and intriguing to anyone curious about Lincoln and his times, the book 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 and Rodney O. Davis are codirectors of the Lincoln Studies Center at Knox College, in Galesburg, Illinois, editors of the Knox College Lincoln Studies Center Series, and the coeditors of The Lincoln-Douglas Debates: The Lincoln Studies Center Edition and Herndon's Lincoln.

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