The latest catalog is available in pdf format. You can download it here. It is a work in progress. More items will have links shortly. We are working diligently to get everything here at the site. If you would like to see a photograph of anything, please let us know. We are happy to send photographs of any of our items.
Happy Holidays from the staff at Abraham Lincoln Book Shop, Inc.
Also, we are available for sales assistance and recommendations. Just call the shop at 312/944-3085 or get in touch through email. There are almost 1,000 items here at the website too. We are shipping and providing by-appointment curbside delivery. We are happy to be a part of your holiday season!
This morning the media is all “abuzz” about a certain interloper to last night’s vice presidential debate.
Although much less common than cats on a playing field, the fly is no stranger to photobombing politicians. Even Abraham Lincoln was not exempt. Take a close look at Lincoln’s pant leg to see another fly who earned his own place in presidential history!
Let’s hope that Jeff Goldblum doesn’t show in costume at at the next debate!
If your interested in having your own copy of this photograph, we have several versions available. Take a look.
Abraham Lincoln is one of the world’s most frequent victims of misattributed and inaccurate quotes.
From the popular and folksy “Whatever you are, be a good one”–probably paraphrased and usually attributed to William Makepeace Thackery–to President George H. W. Bush’s repeat of “Here I am-warts and all,” attributed to Oliver Cromwell; it seems everyone wants to get Lincoln in their side. My personal favorite leads off this post.
Our local politicians can’t get it right. Not even our governor is immune.
You’d think someone from The Land of Lincoln, who lives only a few blocks from Lincoln’s Springfield home and has the resources of The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum as well as a being both a Dartmouth and Harvard graduate would know to check his sources!
Take a listen to what our own Daniel Weinberg and another Lincoln scholar had to say about Governor Rauner’s gaffe during a talk with Dave McKinney of WBEZ:
Chicago is all abuzz about the Centennial of Gwendolyn Brooks’ birthday. One of the most highly regarded, highly influential, and widely read poets of 20th-century American poetry, Brooks was a much-honored poet, even in her lifetime, with the distinction of being the first black author to win the Pulitzer Prize.
Born in Topeka Kansas in 1917, she was six weeks old when her parents moved to Chicago. She would remain here until the end of her life. She sounds like many of today’s Chicagoans when she said “I am an organic Chicagoan. Living there has given me a multiplicity of characters to aspire for. I hope to live there the rest of my days. That’s my headquarters.”
Her parents encouraged her writing skills and by the young age of 13 she had published her first poem, Eventide, in a popular children’s magazine, American Childhood. By the time she was 17, the Chicago Defender would be publishing her work regularly.
George E. Kent, critic, and Professor of English at the University of Chicago, said it best when he commented that Brooks occupied “a unique position in American letters. Not only has she combined a strong commitment to racial identity and equality with a mastery of poetic techniques, but she has also managed to bridge the gap between the academic poets of her generation in the 1940s and the young black militant writers of the 1960s.”
Brooks once described her style as “folksy narrative,” but she varied her forms, using free verse, sonnets, and other models. Brooks first collection of poetry, A Street in Bronzeville captures the spirit and the essence of the Bronzeville neighborhood perfectly. A destination for many African-American people during the Great Migration, the neighborhood today includes the Black-Metropolis-Bronzeville District. The heart of the Chicago blues and jazz scene in the early 20th Century, this area includes many buildings included on the National Register of Historic Places, and nine buildings that appear on the Chicago Landmarks list, including the Chicago Defender Building. It is a neighborhood rich with African-American history and culture.
In 1950, Brooks received the Pulitzer Prize for poetry for her book Annie Allen. The poem traces the changes a young woman experiences as she moves from youthful dreams to the reality of married life. We see Annie Allen grow from childhood to womanhood in an atmosphere conditioned by poverty, racial discrimination, parental expectations, and unhappiness.
In 1953, her only novel, Maud Martha was published. It has been called a “fragmented, poetic narrative;” it again traces the life of a woman as she navigates the passage from childhood to adulthood in black Chicago neighbourhoods.
Just as her first poems reflected the mood of their era, her later works mirrored their time and the horror that racism, sexism and indifference brought to the community. The title poem of her book, In The Mecca is a heart-wrenching work that details a woman’s search for her lost child through Chicago’s Mecca Flats. The Mecca Flats was originally a posh hotel for visitors to the World Columbian Exposition, but by 1940 it had become a crowded and dangerous place; that many still called home. A victim of urban renewal, the building was demolished in 1952 to make way for the expansion of IIT.
In 1967, Brooks was commissioned to write a poem for the dedication of Chicago’s Picasso Sculpture, another Chicago institution that is enjoying an anniversary this year.
Brooks continued to work for the rest of her life. Her work matured in the direction of a stronger political stance. Brooks’ poems featured political subjects and figures, such as South African activist Winnie Mandela, the onetime wife of anti-apartheid leader—and later president of the country—Nelson Mandela.
Not just a poet, Brooks was an educator who took her mission seriously. She taught at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, City College of New York, Columbia College of Chicago, Northeastern Illinois University, and Elmhurst College. She was awarded over 75 honorary doctorates during her lifetime and won numerous literary awards.
At the time of her death in late 2000, Ms. Brooks was the Distinguished Professor of English at Chicago State University and the Poet Laureate of Illinois, a position she had held since 1968.
There are many Gwendolyn Brooks Centennial events planned throughout the city this year. The Poetry Foundation has a comprehensive exhibit that includes Brooks’ scrapbooks, personal writings (she was a chronicler of her own life) as well and much correspondence from other African-American poets and publishing houses. Additionally, The Poetry Foundation has commissioned a play on Brooks’ life. Titled No Blue Memories: The Life of Gwendolyn Brooks, it debuts at The Harold Washington Library Center in November. Produced by Manual Cinema-a creative endeavor that is part design studio, part theatre company-the performance combines intricate paper puppetry, live actors working in shadow, and an original score. Other Chicago venues celebrating Brooks include include the Art Institute, The Newberry Library and Harold Washington Chicago Public Library. You can learn more at Our Miss Brooks 100.
Our Author’s Voice network contributed to the celebration. LadyBird & Friends featured a just released version of Brooks’ poem, We Are Shining. This powerful picture book is a celebration of the diversity of our world. Illustrated by Jan Spivey Gilchrist (our guest on the program, below), this life-affirming poem reminds all of us that “Life is for us, and it is shining. We have a right to sing.” We have a very few signed, first edition copies of this fine book available. Order at AuthorsVoice.net.
One of the most rewarding parts of our jobs here are Abraham Lincoln Book Shop is the opportunity to find the right homes for the objects that come through the shop. What’s even more rewarding is learning what happens to these objects after they leave our hands.
Today’s Chicago Tribune brings us news that one of our favorite and most rewarding placements will bring joy to even more people!
While de-camping from our Chicago Ave. shop a two winters ago, we had the opportunity to place a Lincoln bust created my modernist Alphonso Iannelli. Iannelli was a student of Gutzon Borglum and has strong Chicago roots.
From 1912 to 1915, Iannelli designed posters for the vaudeville acts appearing at the Orpheum Theatre in Los Angeles. There he met Frank Lloyd Wright. In 1914, Wright convinced him to come to Chicago to work on the Midway Gardens. Iannelli is the man behind the still-popular Sprites. He designed many of the structures at the Century of Progress Chicago World’s Fair, too.
Later he opened studio with his wife, Margaret in Park Ridge IL. Together, they expanded into commercial design, advertising, product design and architectural interiors. Local venues, including his studio, and two theaters designed by him still stand today. Visitors to Chicago can see his work at the Adler Planetarium; as well as the carving at One Prudential Plaza, on Randolph St.
Alfonso and Margaret were the subject of a well-attended, months-long Messengers of Modernism exhibit at the Chicago Cultural Center in 2013. Our own M. Sylvia Castle, a fan of modernism and Chicago’s role in bringing it to the world, attended the exhibit. Iannelli’s Park Ridge studio was acquired by the Kalo Foundation in 2001. It is now part of The Kalo Arts and Crafts Community House, a well-respected center for silversmithing and other disciplines of The Arts & Crafts movement.
Visiting the exhibit sparked her interest in The Kalo Foundation in Park Ridge, IL. Imagine her surprise when when she saw this membership brochure.
She had been walking past the bust used on the brochure every, single day for years! Daniel Weinberg, the shop’s owner had acquired it from a long-shuttered gallery in Chicago’s Lincoln Square neighborhood.
Sylvia’s regular habit of attending First Fridays, a monthly mass gallery opening the shop’s old neighborhood acquainted her with David Jameson, a dealer in modernist and architectural drawings. Jameson was also an expert in the works of Iannelli. He is the author of Alfonso Iannelli: Modern By Design. It was with David’s help that we confirmed that the Lincoln bust that had for years, welcomed visitors to the book shop, was indeed a modernist treasure.
As we started to pack and ready things for moving out of the old shop it became obvious that the best thing we could do is place as many things as we possibly could. The stress on these objects-the packing, the storing expense and environment, the unpacking-can damage them. We had spoken to the Kalo Foundation previously about the Lincoln bust; but they are a small operation with a limited budget. The move gave us all an opportunity to finally send Mr. Lincoln home to Kalo.
That brings us to today’s news. Thanks to Judy Barclay and the Paris-Chicago Sister City Committee the Iannelli bust is being replicated. The replica travelling to Paris! We are thrilled to play a small role in this success!
In his interpretation of Lincoln, Iannelli has a much different opinion of Lincoln than many of his predecessors and peers. Of the Lincoln art of the day, Iannelli said “I wish they appreciated the depth and the bigness, the loftiness of the character of Lincoln. If they did, how could they put up a building like this to commemorate him?” He was no fan of the Greco-Roman ideal that so dominated public monuments of the day.
Iannelli’s sculpture captures Lincoln as a human and not the godlike image so popular of that era. In a time dominated by formal, Romanesque renderings of Lincoln, this has an evocative, hand-wrought quality seldom seen in the early 20th Century. It is Lincoln at his informal, yet deeply serious and ponderous best. It is the very early modernist, Iannelli, deeply considering and responding to the very modern (for his era) Abraham Lincoln.
Modernism’s objective was to be a great equalizer—to bring beauty and design to the masses. The goal of Emancipation was equality—bringing freedom to the masses. Dying almost a century apart, the two men shared a mission.
Daniel Weinberg talked with Jodi Kanter about her book, Presidential Libraries as Performance. Brian Dirck was scheduled to talk about Lincoln in Indiana, but was unable to attend.
Kanter’s Presidential Libraries as Performance considers the moments in the presidents’ lives the museums choose to interpret, and not to interpret, and how the libraries approach common subjects in the presidential museum narrative—the presidents’ early years in relation to cultural ideals, the libraries’ representations of presidential failures, personal and political, and the question of presidential legacy. Kanter demonstrates how the presidential libraries generate normative narratives about individual presidents, historical events, and what it means to be an American.
Dirck’s Lincoln in Indianatells the story of Lincoln’s life in Indiana, from his family’s arrival to their departure. Dirck explains the Lincoln family’s ancestry and how they and their relatives came to settle near Pigeon Creek. He shows how frontier families like the Lincolns created complex farms out of wooded areas, fashioned rough livelihoods, and developed tight-knit communities in the unforgiving Indiana wilderness. With evocative prose, he describes the youthful Lincoln’s relationship with members of his immediate and extended family. A triumph of research, Dirck cuts through the myths about Lincoln’s early life, and along the way he explores the social, cultural, and economic issues of early nineteenth-century Indiana. The result is a realistic portrait of the youthful Lincoln set against the backdrop of American frontier culture. It is part of the Concise Lincoln Library.
Both titles are published by Southern Illinois University Press. Both are available in 1st edition, signed. Order Now.
February 9, our own Bjorn Skaptason talked to the authors of The Ultimate Guide to the Gettysburg Address. David Hirsch and Dan Van Haften returned to our program with their always fascinating take on Lincoln’s use of Euclid. Their previous work, Abraham Lincoln and the Structure of Reason was the first book in what has become a fascinating and recuring theme.
Abraham Lincoln’s November 19, 1863, Gettysburg Address is generally recognized as one of the greatest leadership speeches ever written. The Ultimate Guide to the Gettysburg Address explains the 272-word speech more thoroughly than any book previously published. With the aid of colorized step-by-step diagrams, the authors deconstruct the speech into its basic elements and demonstrate how the scientific method is basic to the structure of the Gettysburg Address.
Lincoln’s fascination with geometry is well documented. Authors David Hirsch and Dan Van Haften, however, are the first to discover and then demonstrate Lincoln’s use of the six elements of a proposition and then diagram and explain how his in-depth study of geometry helped him compose the Gettysburg Address. The result is a deeper and richer understanding of the Gettysburg Address that was not previously possible. This concise color examination of one of our nation’s most treasured and important speeches is perfect for all ages and especially for those interested in history, the use of language, and logic.