Researchers working on the Papers of Abraham Lincoln project have found two new Lincoln letters at the University of Alabama:
The first is a letter to Lincoln’s former secretary of war, Simon Cameron, concerning treason cases against prominent Baltimore officials in 1863. The second concerns the use of several thousand Enfield muskets captured from British ships trying to run blockades into the Confederacy in 1862.
“It is amazing that in the 21st century, new Lincoln materials are still being found,” Professor Charles Summersell of the University of Illinois Springfield said in a statement. “Once again, the relentlessly diligent researchers for the Invaluable Papers of Abraham Lincoln have discovered previously unknown material on our sixteenth president.”
A manuscript dealer asked the Papers of Abraham Lincoln staff to make sense of a mysterious Lincoln letter with an unidentified recipient and subject:
Researchers at the Papers of Abraham Lincoln project concluded Lincoln was writing to an ally to ask him to maintain a secret relationship with a political insider during the 1860 election campaign.
Lincoln asked his cohort to “keep up a correspondence” with the person, a phrase that gave researchers their best clue. They ran it through a searchable database of Lincoln’s papers and found several matches.
One was in a letter to Lincoln from fellow attorney and Republican Leonard Swett of Bloomington, Ill.
The two men, it turns out, were conspiring to keep tabs on a New York political figure. The mystery note was Lincoln’s response to Swett’s letter, the researchers surmised.
The subject of the letter was probably Thurlow Weed, a newspaper publisher and politician who ultimately opposed the president’s emancipation policy.
A mysterious letter turned up in 1987 during renovations at Lincoln Home National Historic Site in Springfield, IL. The staff of the Papers of Abraham Lincoln project have now identified the letter’s author: Andrew Johnston, a newspaper editor to whom Lincoln had sent a poem.
The Papers of Abraham Lincoln project has received a grant from Amazon Web Services for $24,000 worth of digital storage. It should come in handy; the project’s collection of master files is so large that it takes up the same amount of digital space as a music file playing continually for 68 years.
Researchers at the Papers of Abraham Lincoln project have verified another new Lincoln document, this time in the holdings of the Bibliotheque de Geneve in Switzerland. The document is a Lincoln endorsement on a letter of introduction by Henry Ward Beecher.
The Papers of Abraham Lincoln Project has done it again. One of the project’s researchers has found an eyewitness account of Lincoln’s assassination by Dr. Charles Leale, the first physician to reach the presidential box after Booth’s shot.
Abraham Lincoln researchers are joining forces with computer science and linguistics expert Patrick Juola to determine the authorship of anonymous newspaper articles possibly penned by a young Lincoln, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:
Mr. Juola has spent the past five years developing J Gaap, or Java Graphical Authorship Attribution Program. The software program identifies patterns in written documents — such as syntax use or repetition of certain words — and can use the information it gains from documents with known authors to determine the authorship of other documents.
Researchers know that Lincoln wrote anonymous contributions to the Sangamo Journal, a newspaper published weekly in Springfield, said Daniel W. Stowell, director and editor of the Papers of Abraham Lincoln Project. The project exists to identify and publish all documents written by or to Lincoln.
But the researchers know that other people also wrote anonymous letters to the paper during the same time period, and there were also readers, including Lincoln, who wrote using pseudonyms.
“The challenge was trying to figure out a systematic way and a more scientific way of determining what Lincoln wrote and what he didn’t,” Mr. Stowell said.
To meet that challenge, he turned to Mr. Juola and his software program.
Mr. Stowell’s team in Springfield has begun compiling and digitizing about 1,000 articles and letters they found in 350 to 400 issues of the Sangamo Journal. They will soon send the digitized newspaper articles to Duquesne, where Mr. Juola’s software will begin to analyze the documents and sort them into three groups: written by Lincoln, not written by Lincoln and authorship unclear.
An assistant editor for the Papers of Abraham Lincoln project has uncovered previously unknown documents relating to Lincoln’s service in the Black Hawk War. The Associated Press has a bit more detail on the discovery.