Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Anecdotal Lincoln

Paul Selby - Anecdotal Lincoln: Speeches, Stories and Yarns of the "Immortal Abe" (1900)

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Lincolniana is never in short supply as seen by this collection of anecdotes and speeches.  It aims for accuracy and if it's overly respectful ("How Lincoln Earned His First Dollar") that just comes with the territory.  The book was reprinted a couple of years later as Lincoln's Life, Stories and Speeches. Perhaps not directly relevant to this book but I highly recommend Edward Steers Jr.'s Lincoln Legends for a corrective to much general misinformation.

Selby (1825-1913) was a newspaper editor (abolitionist) and later editor of the Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois as the title page points out.  According to Richard Lawrence Miller's Lincoln and His World, in 1853 Selby wrote an editorial accusing a Democratic politician of "misbehavior" so the politician assaulted him and thrashed him with a cane.  Lincoln represented the politician (whose sister knew Lincoln) and criticized Selby for asking $1,000 damages then increasing the claim to $10,000.  Lincoln and the politician lost the case but Selby was awarded only $300.  Selby showed he didn't hold a grudge when three years later he and Lincoln helped form the Illinois Republican party (as told in great detail by Reinhard H. Luthin).