Ohio History Journal

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Seemingly within moments after the nomination of Abraham Lincoln on

Seemingly within moments after the nomination of Abraham Lincoln on

May 18, 1860, a representative of the Columbus publishing firm of Follett,

Foster and Company, from the Tremont House in Chicago telegraphed

the president-to-be in Springfield saying, "In connection with your debates

with Douglas we have announced your biography. Please designate your

pleasure if any as to who the writer shall be." The same day, the Chicago

Journal's twenty-year-old reporter Horace White, who knew Lincoln per-

sonally, also telegraphed the nominee to say that he would probably do

Follett and Foster's book; but the next day, the Ohio publishers let it be

known that they already had a campaign biography of Lincoln "in press."1

On May 28, they reported that W. D. Howells would be the author and

announced in their current printing of The Political Debates between Hon.

Abraham Lincoln and Hon. Stephen A. Douglas that the Lincoln "Life"

would be issued on June 12. Their earlier "in press" claim probably was

valid to the extent that the company could have had in its composing

room the ready-set texts of several miscellaneous Lincoln speeches which

had not been included in their best-selling Debates.2 And on June 6, a

news item in the Ohio State Journal (Columbus) announced that the forth-

coming volume was to be an "authorized life." The publishers' advertise-

ment the next day explained that the book by "W. D. Howells, Esq." had

been "gathered from the lips" of Lincoln's "intimate friends" but would

not be ready until June 20.

Young Howells

Drafts a

"Life" for Lincoln


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