New Letters and Papers of Lincoln

New Letters and Papers of Lincoln

New Letters and Papers of Lincoln

New Letters and Papers of Lincoln

Excerpt

While they were still secretaries of Lincoln, John G. Nicolay and John Hay conceived the idea of writing his biography. With this end in view they preserved and thus saved from possible loss many papers to which their official positions gave them access. After Lincoln's death they continued to gather material, and succeeded in securing hundreds of letters written during the earlier years of his life.

Some of these letters and papers were printed in their monumental biography, but by far the greater number found no place in that work. It was then that Robert Todd Lincoln wrote Nicolay: 'As you and Colonel Hay have now brought your great work to a most successful conclusion by the publication of your life of my father, I hope and request that you and he will supplement it by collecting, editing, and publishing the speeches, letters, state papers, and miscellaneous writings of my father.' Partly in fulfillment of this request, and partly because they themselves had long planned such a publication, Nicolay and Hay brought out the' Complete Works of Abraham Lincoln.' Published in 1894, it was the first collection of Lincoln letters, speeches, and papers which made any claim to inclusiveness.

This collection, originally issued in two large volumes, is the nucleus around which all later editions of Lincoln's writings have been built. Greatly supplemented, it was reissued in twelve volumes by the Tandy-Thomas Company in 1905. Generally known as the 'Gettysburg Edition of the Complete Works of Abraham Lincoln,' this twelve-volume work remains the most satisfactory edition of Lincoln's writings. Since its appearance, however, many additional letters have come to light. Most of these are to be found in Gilbert A. Tracy's 'Uncollected Letters of Abraham Lincoln,' published in 1917; and in 'Lincoln Letters at Brown,' published by Brown University in 1927.

The present volume is intended as a supplement to these three publications. This purpose has made necessary the inclusion of a number of letters and papers already in print, but . . .

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