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ANYONE WRITING on Abraham Lincoln stands on the shoulders of a monumental body of work, including classic volumes by some of our country’s finest historians. I am immensely grateful to the many Lincoln scholars who generously welcomed me into their field, sharing sources, discussing ideas, inviting me to their homes, reading parts of my manuscript, and offering access to their rare collections of Lincolniana. They include David Herbert Donald, Douglas L. Wilson, Thomas F. Schwartz, Frank J. Williams, Harold Holzer, John R. Sellers, Virginia Laas, Michael A. Burlingame, Gabor S. Boritt, James O. Hall, Harold M. Hyman, Philip B. Kunhardt III, Peter W. Kuhnhardt, and Louise Taper.

In the course of the last ten years, I have been guided in my search for primary materials by superb staffs at thirty different libraries. I especially wish to thank the remarkably generous Thomas F. Schwartz, Kim Matthew Bauer, Mary Michals, and John Marruffo at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield, Illinois.

I owe thanks as well to the following: in California, John Rhodehamel and the staff of the Huntington Library. In Illinois, the Chicago Historical Society; the Newberry Library; the University of Chicago’s Special Collections Research Center and Harper Memorial Library; Daniel Weinberg and the Abraham Lincoln Book Shop. In Indiana, the Lincoln Museum. In Iowa, the State Historical Society of Iowa and the University of Iowa Library. In Kentucky, the Eastern Kentucky University Archives. In Louisiana, Judy Bolton and the staff of the Louisiana and Lower Mississippi Valley Collections of the Louisiana State University Library. In Maryland, the Maryland Historical Society.

In Massachusetts, the Boston Public Library’s Rare Book and Manuscript Collections; the Concord Public Library; Harvard University’s Government Documents and Microfilm Collection, the Houghton Library, the Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America, and Widener Library; and the Massachusetts Historical Society. In Missouri, Dennis Northcott and the staff of the Missouri Historical Society; the St. Louis Art Museum; and the State Historical Society of Missouri. In New Jersey, Don C. Skemer and Anna Lee Pauls at Princeton University’s Department of Rare Books and Special Collections.

In New York, the New York State Library; Betty Mae Lewis and Peter A. Wisbey of the Seward House, Auburn; Mary M. Huth and the staff of the University of Rochester Library’s Department of Rare Books and Special Collections. In Ohio, the Cincinnati Historical Society; John Haas and the staff of the Ohio Historical Society; the Ohio State House; and the Western Reserve Historical Society. In Pennsylvania, the Dauphin County Historical Society and the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. In Rhode Island, Mary-Jo Kline and Ann Morgan Dodge of Brown University’s John Hay Library. In Virginia, the Virginia Historical Society. In Washington, D.C., John Sellers, Clark Evans, and the staff of the Library of Congress; Michael Musick and the staff of the National Archives and Records Administration; James C. Hewes at the Willard Hotel; and the staff at the Blair House. And last, Michael Burlingame, who is for all Lincoln scholars a library unto himself, generously sharing his unparalled knowledge of Lincoln while writing his own monumental Lincoln biography.

I owe an immense debt once again to my great friend and indefatigable assistant, Linda Vandegrift, who has worked at my side on all my projects for the past twenty years.

I am grateful to Nora Titone (currently writing what I am certain will be an extraordinary biography of Edwin Booth, actor and brother to Lincoln’s assassin), who did research at Harvard University and in Illinois, the Land of Lincoln. Through our many discussions, she provided invaluable insights into the social, intellectual, and literary milieu of nineteenth-century America.

In Washington, Dr. Michelle Krowl, a brilliant Civil War historian who has published numerous scholarly articles and teaches at Northern Virginia Community College, displayed remarkable energy, intuition, and intelligence in digging through archives and checking source materials at both the Library of Congress and the National Archives.

There are many others who read portions of the manuscript and helped in various ways, including Judith Arnold, Beth Laski, Erik Owens, Louisa Thomas, Chad Callaghan, Michael Goodwin, Lindsay Hosmer, J. Wayne Lee, Phyllis Grann, John Logan, Paul Webb, Kathleen Krowl, Brad Gernand, Karen Needles, and John Hill, and all our good friends at our two favorite watering holes in Concord, Massachusetts—Serafina Ristorante and Walden Grille. To Michael Kushakji, who came to our house day and night when our computers failed, I owe a special debt.

As always, I am grateful to my supportive and enthusiastic literary agent, Binky Urban, and to the men and women at Simon & Schuster who have become almost like family after more than twenty-five years of collaboration: David Rosenthal, Carolyn Reidy, Irene Kheradi, Jackie Seow, George Turianski, Linda Dingler, Ellen Sasahara, Lisa Healy, Victoria Meyer, and Elizabeth Hayes. For a superb job in copyediting the manuscript, I thank Ann Adelman and Emily Beth Thomas. I owe a special thanks to Roger Labrie, who displayed extraordinary grace under pressure while shepherding the book to meet various deadlines in the final stages.

I have long depended on my incomparable editor, Alice E. Mayhew, but never did her massive contributions weigh more heavily than on this book. No editor has a more profound knowledge of Abraham Lincoln. No editor could have given me better advice from start to finish on structure, tone, and language. She is the absolute best in her profession. I shall be forever grateful to her.

Finally, I owe more than I can ever express to my husband, Richard Goodwin, to whom this book is dedicated. He read and edited every single page, from the earliest drafts to the finished product. His passion for the subject of Abraham Lincoln matches my own. I argued with him, debated with him, and ended up usually following his advice. He has thought as deeply about Lincoln as anyone. This book is his creation as much as mine.

Concord, Massachusetts

July 2005

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