Book Chat
Land of Lincoln: Adventures in Abe's America
Andrew Ferguson

This chat took place in the Civil War Home Chatroom on 07/06/08 and covered Chapters 5 & 6.

7/6/2008 9:14 pm (et) ks: Tonight we continue our discussion of Andrew Ferguson’s Land of Lincoln: Adventures in Abe’s America.

Chapter 5 - The Magic of Stuff
The chapter deals with collection of “good Lincoln stuff”, otherwise referred to as “Lincolniana” (also called first class, second class, etc.) on to the “not so good stuff” of the forty-eighth or the ninety-second class and beyond. What are your thoughts on the opinion expressed that, when you collect STUFF, the “passion…it’s all right here…you can feel it.”? Does the STUFF have magic?

7/6/2008 9:16 pm (et) ks: Everyone is either madly typing or still shell-shocked from the 4th. ;)

7/6/2008 9:16 pm (et) amhistoryguy: Some people's magic is other people's junk - Some stuff has magic, to some people, IMO.

7/6/2008 9:17 pm (et) mobile_96: To some extent it does. I've collected postage stamps and once you get into specific areas you do Feel some magic, especially when you get into learning about what the stamps represent.

7/6/2008 9:18 pm (et) ks: Well, the item discussed early on in this chapter would sure have the magic for me. Can you even imagine holding a copy of the Gettysburg Address? And how in the world was it left out of the file?

7/6/2008 9:18 pm (et) secret squirrel: I think people must feel they have a piece of history.

7/6/2008 9:18 pm (et) Susansweet: Most of my collections have not been worth much but I still love collecting them.

7/6/2008 9:18 pm (et) mobile_96: One area could be UN stamps, like UNICEF.

7/6/2008 9:19 pm (et) mobile_96: Someone in a hurry to go home, or a worker telling a 'helper' that leaving that folder would be ok, not realizing Which folder was being referenced.

7/6/2008 9:20 pm (et) Susansweet: I have a friend that collects Civil War sabers and guns plus other things that soldiers used. He says it makes him feel close to the soldiers .

7/6/2008 9:20 pm (et) Susansweet: He also feels he is preserving it for the future.

7/6/2008 9:22 pm (et) ks: The only item I have that is actually of the relic nature is a bullet. But knowing that one item was on the battlefield does serve to connect me when I hold it. Any thoughts on the collectors described in this chapter, particularly the one in Beverly Hills...swimming pools, movie stars....? ;)

7/6/2008 9:22 pm (et) mobile_96: Feeling some kind of link is what gets one started in the first place. How deep you go, sometimes depends on how deep the pockets, or how much room you have to assign to it.

7/6/2008 9:23 pm (et) secret squirrel: I think it is great she has the income to buy what fascinates her.

7/6/2008 9:23 pm (et) ks: That lady in CA had very deep pockets. Or at least her husband did!

7/6/2008 9:24 pm (et) secret squirrel: She values the relics; that is important.

7/6/2008 9:24 pm (et) Susansweet: Better she spend her money on this kind of collection than other things she could have spent it on .

7/6/2008 9:24 pm (et) mobile_96: Sure did.

7/6/2008 9:24 pm (et) mobile_96: Was going to comment along that line also Susan.

7/6/2008 9:24 pm (et) ks: I'm sorry if my timing is off. I'm experiencing an odd glitch. Every new post that comes up appears for about a second and then disappears until a new post. Then the new one disappears...

7/6/2008 9:25 pm (et) mobile_96: Only issue I have with her owning it, is Where its being kept, think another state beside Cal. would be safer in the long run.

7/6/2008 9:25 pm (et) amhistoryguy: IMO, a person doesn't have to spend a lot of money to make a connection to history. Go to a local coin store and purchase a coin from about 1862 - hold it in your hand and imagine what it was used to purchase - foods from Sutlers? Paper? Pens? etc etc.

7/6/2008 9:25 pm (et) Susansweet: Why Mobile ?

7/6/2008 9:26 pm (et) amhistoryguy: Did a soldier die with it in his pocket?

7/6/2008 9:26 pm (et) mobile_96: Agree Dave, like my collection of Revenues, with RR cancels, from the CW years.

7/6/2008 9:26 pm (et) colreb44: On this point.. everyone is right is such an individual thing that the value, reasons etc. are for the most part personal choices.

7/6/2008 9:26 pm (et) Susansweet: As safe here as in areas with floods and storms hurricanes.

7/6/2008 9:26 pm (et) ks: I'm not familiar with books by Irving Stone. Was rather surprised to read that what brought so much to life for her was a biographical novel with emphasis on the "lust and the ecstasy". What was the chick lit on Mary and Abe? "Love Is Eternal"?

7/6/2008 9:27 pm (et) mobile_96: Hate to see that collection slide down the hill in a earthquake, mud slide, or go up in flames.

7/6/2008 9:27 pm (et) amhistoryguy: Collecting with an attitude that the person with the most toys wins, is far too common, IMO.

7/6/2008 9:27 pm (et) Susansweet: I read Irving Stone in high school, Got me interested in several historical people.

7/6/2008 9:27 pm (et) ks: Good point, Dave. And that said, I do have a coin from that 1861 (IIRC) that MAP gave me first muster. Usually sits right by the bullet. Usually....

7/6/2008 9:28 pm (et) Susansweet: Could blow away in a tornado more likely too.

7/6/2008 9:28 pm (et) ks: Louise's collection was (is) so extensive, even SHE doesn't remember what all she has.

7/6/2008 9:29 pm (et) mobile_96: I have a 1863 coin that was given to me by a friend from another group.

7/6/2008 9:29 pm (et) mobile_96: KS, not hard to do. considering half her house is Lincoln material.

7/6/2008 9:31 pm (et) ks: Hi Vickie. Glad you could get the hay in and join us. I wanted to ask YOU about the picture on the start of chapter 5. Are those the Toby (sp?) mugs like you collect?

7/6/2008 9:31 pm (et) mobile_96: Coin looks to be either a English, or maybe Canadian penny.

7/6/2008 9:32 pm (et) ks: Other thoughts concerning Louise's collection, her research for the movie, etc?

7/6/2008 9:33 pm (et) Vickie: One is a Lefton Toby mug ,I have 2 for those in Lincoln.

7/6/2008 9:33 pm (et) Vickie: I have the large version and the smaller one too.

7/6/2008 9:34 pm (et) Vickie: the one on the right in the picture is the Lefton.

7/6/2008 9:35 pm (et) ks: Lefton...I assume is a brand name?

7/6/2008 9:35 pm (et) Vickie: Yes, George Z Lefton started the company.

7/6/2008 9:37 pm (et) mobile_96: At least with her research for the movie, some Interesting items got portrayed.

7/6/2008 9:37 pm (et) Vickie: The large mug is just over 5 inches tall and the smaller one is 4 1/2.

7/6/2008 9:37 pm (et) ks: Ferguson states that the demand far outstrips the supply of the GOOD Lincoln stuff and that the response is that the market has expanded the definition of good to those "48th class - 92nd class" items. Any thoughts on this?

7/6/2008 9:38 pm (et) ks: True, mobile. :) And due to her enthusiasm for the human touch, things like Tad's goat were portrayed.

7/6/2008 9:38 pm (et) secret squirrel: That is too much, an original "fake".

7/6/2008 9:39 pm (et) secret squirrel: Can't imagine buying something like that with gas at 4.00 a gallon.

7/6/2008 9:39 pm (et) mobile_96: From collecting stamps, I know about people that collect fakes, so wasn't a Big surprise to me, but thought they might be going a bit overboard.

7/6/2008 9:40 pm (et) ks: SS, I was just about to ask about people's response to reading that the forgeries are part of the Lincoln story, round out a collection and are, therefore, very collectible!

7/6/2008 9:40 pm (et) Vickie: Forgeries or reproductions?

7/6/2008 9:41 pm (et) secret squirrel: I suppose, but I personally can't go there.

7/6/2008 9:41 pm (et) amhistoryguy: With "92" class items, and other classes, is the value the value put on it by the collector, or is the value what someone is willing to pay? Can a "92" class item, become a 22nd class item because someone is willing to pay more for it?

7/6/2008 9:41 pm (et) mobile_96: I have at least 1 fake coil set, and one of my confederate stamps is questionable to being authentic.

7/6/2008 9:41 pm (et) ks: Forgeries...that's according to Frank J. Williams "Frontpage Frank" in the book.

7/6/2008 9:42 pm (et) mobile_96: Still stays a 92nd, but at least is Known to be only a "92".

7/6/2008 9:42 pm (et) colreb44: How can one be sure?

7/6/2008 9:44 pm (et) mobile_96: Have it verified by more than one Expert, with hopes that they aren't fooled also.

7/6/2008 9:44 pm (et) mobile_96: For stamps a panel of experts is used.

7/6/2008 9:44 pm (et) Vickie: Maybe you can never be truly sure.

7/6/2008 9:45 pm (et) mobile_96: Vickie, that's very true.

7/6/2008 9:46 pm (et) colreb44: Yes Vickie , I think that is right.

7/6/2008 9:46 pm (et) ks: Chapter 5 spent quite a few pages on Frank. One of his opinions I found interesting. That was his assessment of Springfield and its "agenda". Remember his stating that "self-aggrandizement. That's what they care about down there more than Mr. Lincoln...". "They think he's all theirs....Lincoln is for everybody!" Reactions??

7/6/2008 9:47 pm (et) Vickie: I think that's silly.

7/6/2008 9:47 pm (et) mobile_96: Not living down there, can't really comment, but.. if true, would think the new Museum would change that Opinion.

7/6/2008 9:47 pm (et) secret squirrel: I understand that feeling. I think any celebrity from LI or NY is my property. but in reality...come on! they don't belong to anyone or any place.

7/6/2008 9:48 pm (et) mobile_96: Or, in the case of Lincoln, to any Time .

7/6/2008 9:48 pm (et) secret squirrel: Yep mobile.

7/6/2008 9:49 pm (et) ks: Silly in that it's not an accurate assessment, or silly that anyone or group of citizens would feel that way??

7/6/2008 9:49 pm (et) Vickie: Maybe they are just proud of the fact they have so many historical Lincoln places.

7/6/2008 9:49 pm (et) ks: I'll add a "yep, mobile" there too. Feel very much that Lincoln does "belong to the ages".

7/6/2008 9:49 pm (et) Vickie: And this Frank sees that as them thinking they "own " Lincoln.

7/6/2008 9:50 pm (et) colreb44: Lincoln is a true American hero, the more i read and study the man, the more i realize just how important it was that he was the President during the Civil War.. that being said.

7/6/2008 9:50 pm (et) Vickie: Silly that it is not an accurate assessment.

7/6/2008 9:51 pm (et) ks: Oh, I'm sure they are. IIRC Frank's reaction was due to the fact that the ALA board elected him (non-Springfielder) as president of the ALA and eventually ejected him in a power play by some "rump group".

7/6/2008 9:51 pm (et) mobile_96: Then again, we weren't privy to what happened in their meeting, Back then.

7/6/2008 9:52 pm (et) colreb44: I would have to say " belong to the ages".

7/6/2008 9:52 pm (et) Vickie: Right mobile who knows why they really ejected him.

7/6/2008 9:52 pm (et) ks: True enough. But membership did double during his tenure and he did bring in Lincoln scholars, increased frequency of meetings, etc. Interesting...

7/6/2008 9:53 pm (et) ks: Anyway... :) Any other thoughts on Chapter 5? I have one more. Our of curiosity, do any of you have something Lincoln in your collections? I have a couple inexpensive drawings that I've picked up and are important to me to display here in the "war room".

7/6/2008 9:54 pm (et) mobile_96: Upsetting the 'ol school program' might have been a cause, If his version is true.

7/6/2008 9:54 pm (et) ks: Reminds me of the accounts we hear about the RT of NY. ;)

7/6/2008 9:54 pm (et) Susansweet: I have a Lincoln snow globe in my collection.

7/6/2008 9:55 pm (et) mobile_96: None here, sure wish I had the old print of Lincoln my dad found, with a signed paper stuck behind the photo.

7/6/2008 9:55 pm (et) ks: Now why doesn't that surprise me? :) What's it look like, Sue?

7/6/2008 9:55 pm (et) amhistoryguy: About 65 Lincoln Books.

7/6/2008 9:55 pm (et) ks: What became of it, mobile?

7/6/2008 9:55 pm (et) mobile_96: Only have a few Lincoln books here.

7/6/2008 9:56 pm (et) Susansweet: I think it has the statue of Lincoln from DC in it although it is an Illinois snow globe.

7/6/2008 9:56 pm (et) ks: Dave...funny, I didn't even think of my books. Collection isn't as extensive as yours. But I have more books on Lincoln than on any other subject. Even more than Star Wars or Star Trek combined! ;)

7/6/2008 9:56 pm (et) colreb44: Books only for me.

7/6/2008 9:56 pm (et) Susansweet: I read Alamanc last night and really enjoyed it . One of the few Lincoln books I have.

7/6/2008 9:56 pm (et) mobile_96: No idea KS, don't know if he sold it, gave it to my brother or......whatever.

7/6/2008 9:57 pm (et) ks: Okay, moving along then. Will post comment on next chapter.

7/6/2008 9:57 pm (et) Vickie: I have a couple plates with Lincoln on them

7/6/2008 9:57 pm (et) Susansweet: I also have a print from the Smithsonian of the photograph of Lincoln that is used for the dollar bill

7/6/2008 9:57 pm (et) ks: Chapter Six - A Sea of Lincolns took us to Santa Claus, Indiana and the ALP (Association of Lincoln Presenters) convention. That got me to wondering about the Lincoln “presenters” we in the group may have seen in person. Actually, I’ve not had the good fortune to see a person doing Lincoln. But, for those who have, was it a “in the presence of the man” kind of experience? And/or what’s your response to those who choose to portray Lincoln?

7/6/2008 9:58 pm (et) Susansweet: I have met several at events at the Lincoln Shrine in Redlands here and at reeactments. One gentleman is really a good likeness.

7/6/2008 9:59 pm (et) Susansweet: Last reenactment he was talking to some people and women who were reenacting Sojouner Truth and Harriet Tubman walked up . That was an amazing moving experience.

7/6/2008 9:59 pm (et) ks: Ack!! Me too, Vickie. And they're right behind me. That was an eBay purchase last year of full set of collector's plates of Lincoln. Beautifully done from Knowles China Co. And we dare not forget PLOoG. My whiskey decanter of Lincoln sits proudly by my personal GGOoG. ;)

7/6/2008 9:59 pm (et) Susansweet: They started singing and clapping and dancing around Abe

7/6/2008 9:59 pm (et) Vickie: I've met one at reenactments around here.

7/6/2008 10:00 pm (et) ks: Isn't that the gentleman who's been a member here, Vickie?

7/6/2008 10:00 pm (et) amhistoryguy: Might have mentioned it before, but I "met" Lincoln early one rainy morning at a reenactment. He asked me to walk with him to get a blanket, and as we walked through the Union camp, soldiers came to attention, saluting as we talked about the 1862 congress. It was absolutely surreal.

7/6/2008 10:00 pm (et) ks: Can only imagine what that was like, Susan.

7/6/2008 10:00 pm (et) Vickie: Yes thata Max.

7/6/2008 10:00 pm (et) Susansweet: One of them is going to be my speaker along with a woman who does Mary Lincoln , she is a decendent of Mary's family.

7/6/2008 10:00 pm (et) Vickie: Abe & the babe.

7/6/2008 10:01 pm (et) ks: And same to you, Dave. What an incredible setting to share with a Lincoln!

7/6/2008 10:01 pm (et) mobile_96: Seen a couple, Max, one in Ohio at the collectors show, that actually looked bored as he walked around.

7/6/2008 10:01 pm (et) Susansweet: I have pictures Ks. if you want me to send one to you.

7/6/2008 10:01 pm (et) ks: Would enjoy that, Susan. mobile, who looked bored? The collectors present?

7/6/2008 10:02 pm (et) Susansweet: Mary and Abe were also at my friend Patrice's birthday party this year . She does Mrs. Lowe reenacting.

7/6/2008 10:02 pm (et) mobile_96: ;-), a few of them, but........yes Lincoln looked very much like he wanted to be somewhere else.

7/6/2008 10:03 pm (et) amhistoryguy: I tried to stump him by mentioning an obscure to most newspaper editor that Lincoln knew, told Lincoln, John Dawson says hi, Lincoln responded with, "Oh yes, John, how are things going for him in Ft. Wayne." Lincoln was dead on, he really knew his stuff.

7/6/2008 10:03 pm (et) ks: How about thoughts on the ALP, or thoughts on the young girl described at the end of the chapter who, upon seeing all the Lincolns asked "Are they crazy men?"

7/6/2008 10:04 pm (et) ks: And I bet he enjoyed that question as much as you did asking it, Dave. ;) His homework had a pay-off.

7/6/2008 10:05 pm (et) mobile_96: Only shows how much history is ignored, or unknown today.

7/6/2008 10:06 pm (et) ks: And do you think these Lincoln presenters are a positive tool in rectifying that situation, mo-beel?? ;)

7/6/2008 10:07 pm (et) colreb44: Yes mobile, that is true.

7/6/2008 10:08 pm (et) mobile_96: Not the way they attacked that group of visitors.

7/6/2008 10:08 pm (et) ks: Myself, was rather taken with the response by the mother of the young girl who asked about the men being crazy. "No, honey, of course not," the mother said. "They just want to be Abraham Lincoln. I don't know why."

7/6/2008 10:10 pm (et) ks: You speaking of the group described in the book who had the tourists outnumbered 3 to 1? Civilians! ...An audience...People who need to know about Abe.

7/6/2008 10:10 pm (et) mobile_96: Which surely doesn't help the young girl figure out if those guys were crazy or not.

7/6/2008 10:11 pm (et) Vickie: It would be very strange to be "mobbed" by a bunch of Abe's.

7/6/2008 10:11 pm (et) ks: I imagine one could easily question the sanity of the group like that. Especially the ones who were there although they couldn't afford a room, slept in their cars and washed up and dressed in the bathroom pre-meeting. That's dedication. obsession or something.

7/6/2008 10:12 pm (et) secret squirrel: And all of them "babbling" at the same time.

7/6/2008 10:12 pm (et) secret squirrel: Obsession. and if it weren't Lincoln, it would be something or someone else.

7/6/2008 10:12 pm (et) amhistoryguy: The question would be more appropriately asked of Mary Todd Lincoln : )

7/6/2008 10:13 pm (et) amhistoryguy: Is She Crazy?

7/6/2008 10:14 pm (et) secret squirrel: Mary Todd? Definitely out there, crazy?? Debatable.

7/6/2008 10:14 pm (et) mobile_96: However, when they are actually working at their Craft, yes, they can help promote study of history, even just a little, to broaden horizons.

7/6/2008 10:14 pm (et) ks: How did you respond to the fact that the Abes don't wish to be known as "impersonators"?

7/6/2008 10:15 pm (et) colreb44: I agree mobile , when they work they can be very useful.

7/6/2008 10:15 pm (et) Vickie: She seemed to have some sort of mental problems.

7/6/2008 10:16 pm (et) secret squirrel: Yes, mental problems, temper problems....

7/6/2008 10:16 pm (et) mobile_96: That they consider impersonators more as show biz, instead of historical re-enactors.

7/6/2008 10:17 pm (et) secret squirrel: I say mental because at one time after Lincoln's death she had a notion that Robert was sick and dying, sent a telegram and took the first train from Fla. to Chicago.

7/6/2008 10:17 pm (et) secret squirrel: But I don't think she was crazy, just spoiled and bizarre.

7/6/2008 10:17 pm (et) ks: Absolutely, mobile. When I read about the Lincolns, I thought of the living historians I've seen most often which are those involved in Bleeding Kansas portrayals up at the fort. When John Brown, Jim Lane, Nathaniel Lyon, James Montgomery, etc. are up there engaging people in discussions of the issues of the 1840s, 50s, 60s, they definitely broaden horizons and get people thinking about things most have never previously considered...and buying BOOKS on the subject.

7/6/2008 10:17 pm (et) mobile_96: They consider themselves Teachers and not Entertainers.

7/6/2008 10:19 pm (et) Vickie: Some of them did not know a lot about Lincoln so they didn't do the teaching/re-enacting thing.

7/6/2008 10:20 pm (et) ks: I don't see how Mary Lincoln could NOT have suffered with emotional problems. Losing her sons, her husband, the incredible strain and criticism endured during the war and afterwards, etc. How incredible it would be to NOT be severely affected by those incidents.

7/6/2008 10:20 pm (et) Vickie: That was kind of odd that someone would "impersonate" Lincoln and not really know much about him.

7/6/2008 10:20 pm (et) mobile_96: Have to admit, I was in stitches during most of this chapter.

7/6/2008 10:20 pm (et) ks: You speaking of people portraying Abe, Vickie?

7/6/2008 10:20 pm (et) ks: Why's that, mobile? :)

7/6/2008 10:20 pm (et) Vickie: Mary was an odd duck way before all those things happened to her.

7/6/2008 10:21 pm (et) secret squirrel: I agree with you ks about Mary.

7/6/2008 10:21 pm (et) Vickie: Yes the people at that convention

7/6/2008 10:21 pm (et) mobile_96: Thought that myself Vickie, seems its something you'd know and understand, not a learn as you go thing.

7/6/2008 10:21 pm (et) ks: I disagree. :) But you know that. Much of what's written speaks positively about her manners, grace, knowledge, etc. She may have been high-strung. But she was a person who suffered as well.

7/6/2008 10:23 pm (et) secret squirrel: High strung i understand. That's me.

7/6/2008 10:23 pm (et) mobile_96: ks, just the vision of that many Lincolns (and Mary's) piled into one small motel, and the way they handled the joking comments.

7/6/2008 10:24 pm (et) Vickie: I think she had a split personality, one min she was charming and the next she was on a rampage, but that's just my thinking

7/6/2008 10:25 pm (et) Vickie: I'd love to talk to Julia Grant about her experiences with MTL :-)

7/6/2008 10:25 pm (et) mobile_96: Vickie, have heard the same thing, now trying to remember the term that was used.

7/6/2008 10:26 pm (et) mobile_96: Bi-polar maybe.

7/6/2008 10:26 pm (et) mobile_96: Not sure if this room is slower than usual, or if its my connection.

7/6/2008 10:26 pm (et) Susansweet: I agree with you Ks.

7/6/2008 10:27 pm (et) secret squirrel: I think Mary didn't have any patience for certain things, like women she thought were flirting with her husband, or after something.

7/6/2008 10:27 pm (et) mobile_96: 1 granddaugher is bi-polar, and looking back at various events over the years, think her mother was also.

7/6/2008 10:28 pm (et) ks: Thinks it's the room, Susan. At least it is for me. Just sent numerous folks in this chat email saying I couldn't post, update or logon. Before this happens again. Homework for next week is chapters 7 and 8.

7/6/2008 10:28 pm (et) Vickie: the room is slow here too.

7/6/2008 10:29 pm (et) ks: Frustrating when technology prevents the continuation of discussion. ;)

7/6/2008 10:30 pm (et) mobile_96: Too true KS

7/6/2008 10:32 pm (et) ks: I've received email responses from others who are also unable to post. Please do share further thoughts if you wish and the room allows. :) Do believe that I'll bid you all goodnight, though. Can't get the log to see what was said during my down period and not updating. Please note homework and THANK YOU for participating tonight.