I DID NOT KNOW Benjamin P. Thomas except through his writings. When he died, he was at work on a biography of Edwin McMasters Stanton, and I undertook to complete it. I soon learned that my task was more difficult in some ways than initiating a book alone. A man who was not at hand to counsel me or to argue with was my co- author.
But co-author he has been. In the notes, outlines, and chapter drafts that he had assembled, Mr. Thomas had partially shaped elements of the story he wanted to tell. He had built from the rich resources of his prodigious research, drawing from the years of thought and study that he had devoted to the Lincoln theme, enlivening all with the warmth of his large heart and brave imagination.
To be sure, we disagreed on many matters. He had touched on themes that I decided to pass over, just as I opened up channels of inquiry that he might have ignored. As this work progressed, however, I found to my pleasure that Mr. Thomas and I had achieved a partnership, and I received an education at his gentle hands.
I am honored at this association with Ben Thomas, and I hope that he would have approved of what I have done with our Stanton. Of course I accept full responsibility for this book, but I gratefully acknowledge his contributions to its conception and completion.
Across the country, busy librarians and archivists searched their collections for useful material and made it available to us. The foot. notes will indicate the extent of our obligations to university and private libraries and historical societies, and agencies of the states and of the national government. They will not, however, note the many persons who spent time and energy checking leads that did not bear fruit but whose efforts were nonetheless important. To all these men and women, to the personnel of the Interlibrary Loan office at
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Publication information: Book title: Stanton:The Life and Times of Lincoln's Secretary of War. Contributors: Benjamin P. Thomas - Author, Harold M. Hyman - Author. Publisher: Knopf. Place of publication: New York. Publication year: 1962. Page number: vii.