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By Harold Holzer

In the course of his 4 years within the White condo, Abraham Lincoln got among 250 and 500 letters a day—not merely correspondence from public officers, political allies, and armed forces leaders yet from traditional americans of all races who by no means knew the president but still felt the urge to proportion their perspectives with him.Harold Holzer, the editor of expensive Mr. Lincoln: Letters to the President, dips once more into Lincoln’s bulging mailbag to gather and annotate a quantity of letters, a lot of them never-before-published, that the yank humans wrote to their president in the course of the Civil War—correspondence that provided compliment, feedback, suggestion, threats, abuse, and appeals for aid and for distinctive favors from women and men through the country.Significantly, this assortment might be extra consultant of the temper of the rustic on the time than Lincoln may have identified; it contains letters from black americans, initially routed to the warfare Department’s coloured Troops Bureau, that Lincoln by no means observed. Ed D. Jennings, who easily sought after explanation of his prestige, writes: "Some Reckon and others wager yet what I desire to recognize is that this, what do you suggest to do with us Col[ore]d inhabitants are we to undergo and our enemies attain or will we gain now i used to be cited a farmer and if i will have a hut in my very own fatherland and a bit support that would suffice me.""At a unmarried reading," Holzer notes in his preface, Lincoln’s employees "might deal with: requests for political appointments (they may perhaps come from an ex-President, a brand new York archbishop, even Lincoln’s personal minister); feedback for the way higher to regulate the battle; requests for autographs, locks of hair, and private appearances; presumptuous political suggestion; rhymes, hymns, epistles—and on one get together, 16 pages of vicious abuse in verse—from beginner poets; and presents and tokens that incorporated foodstuff, drink, garments, photos, and sculptures."Holzer has rescued those voices—sometimes eloquent, sometimes indignant, frequently poignant, now and then poetic—from the obscurity of the records of the Civil conflict. The letters, after all, communicate for themselves, yet Holzer’s advent and annotations offer old context for occasions and folks defined in addition to when you wrote so passionately to their president in Lincoln’s the USA.

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5. Francis B. Carpenter, Six Months at the White House with Abraham Lincoln: The Story of a Picture (New York: Hurd & Houghton, 1866), 281. 6. Ibid. 7. Theodore C. , Abraham Lincoln and His Mailbag: Two Documents by Edward D. Neill, One of Lincoln's Secretaries (St. Paul: Minnesota Historical Society, 1964), 46. Page xxiii Acknowledgments IN UNDERTAKING THIS VOLUME, I have been blessed by assistance, support, and encouragement from friends and colleagues who have earned much more gratitude than I can begin to express.

Brookins, and Dallas R. Lindgren of the Minnesota Historical Society. At the Library of Congress, James R. Gilreath offered the resources of his Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, Civil War Specialist Page xxiv John R. Sellers helped much, Clark Evans provided expert guidance and much forbearance, and Yvonne Brooks provided special help with the William T. Sherman Papers. Larry Hackman, former New York State Archivist, now director of the Harry S. Truman Library in Independence, Missouri, pointed the way to important papers.

Purged once from the White House mailbag, I had unwittingly purged them again a century and a quarter later in assembling Dear Mr. Lincoln. I now had the precious opportunity to correct my mistake. So I returned to the National Archives to begin a search for the earnest letters to Lincoln that had found their way into official government files, presumably unread by the man to whom they were addressed. They had been received at the White House, reviewed by secretaries, and sent on through the bureaucracyformidable even themwhere they were sometimes answered by functionaries, but often merely filed away and forgotten.

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