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The Lincoln Autobiography

Despite his loss to Douglas in 1858, Lincoln’s supporters did not give up on him. In fact they began looking ahead two years to the U.S. presidency.

Sharing Lincoln's Life Story

Jesse Fell suggested that Lincoln write an autobiographical sketch so newspaper editors back east could share his life’s story with voters. After all, there were early whispers of Lincoln as a long-shot candidate for president.

Lincoln’s “simple unadorned statement” (as Fell called the autobiography) was sent to Pennsylvania newspaperman Joseph Lewis, brother of a Bloomington newspaper editor.

Lewis used the autobiography to write an article on Lincoln in his weekly paper, the Chester County Times. Versions of Lewis’ article soon appeared in newspapers throughout the North where Lincoln was little known.

Very frequently I have been asked: ‘Who is this man Lincoln, of your state, now campaigning in opposition to Senator Douglas?'
— Fell recalling his 1858 travels through northern states
Newspaper clipping titled

The Lincoln Autobiography.

Newspaper clipping titled

Articles about Lincoln

Can you find the similarities and differences in each of these eastern newspaper articles about Lincoln?

Newspaper article with drawing of men rowing a raft, with details on Lincoln as a candidate.

Raftsman's Journal, May 23, 1860.

Newspaper article with drawing of men rowing a raft, with details on Lincoln as a candidate.
Newspaper clipping from the Vermont Phoenix about Lincoln's life and reputation.

Vermont Phoenix, May 26, 1860.

Newspaper clipping from the Vermont Phoenix about Lincoln's life and reputation.
Newspaper clipping with header 'The Tribune' giving reasons Lincoln should be elected president.

Hornellsville Weekly Tribune, May 24, 1860.

Newspaper clipping with header 'The Tribune' giving reasons Lincoln should be elected president.
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