Synopses & Reviews
Publication of this long-awaited volume makes available for the first time in complete and accessible form the most important source of information on Lincoln's early life. For twenty-five years after the president's death William Herndon, his law partner, conducted interviews with and solicited letters from dozens of persons who knew Lincoln personally. Up to now, the valuable information he collected has been available only in a microfilm edition in the Library of Congress, of such poor quality that it has been rarely used, particularly since there was no table of contents or adequate index, and in collections at the Huntington Library and the Illinois State Historical Library. The only previous publication of Herndon's materials, more than a half century ago, contains less than 10 percent of the collection and is so unreliable that scholars have hesitated to use it. Douglas Wilson and Rodney Davis have earned the gratitude and admiration of scholars by taking on the daunting task of collating the collections in the three libraries, painstakingly deciphering the all but illegible handwriting of Herndon and some of his informants, and carefully documenting the entire work.