Some comments on Lincoln’s writing habits…




I had posted this information at the online Lincoln Discussion Symposium back in June 2013. I found Robert Todd Lincoln’s comments most interesting. Where else could we have learned this kind of stuff about Lincoln but by his son? Enjoy!


From the book A Portrait of Abraham Lincoln in Letters by his Oldest Son- edited by Paul Angle:

Robert Todd Lincoln wrote in a letter dated June 18, 1918 to a Mr. Markens about his father’s writing habits:

“…As to the pens he used, I cannot actually remember, but in early life he must have used quills, as everyone did in our part of the country. In later life he used steel pens entirely, and the character of the pen he used is sufficiently shown in the writing itself. He was a very deliberate writer, anything but rapid. I cannot remember any peculiarity about his posture. As to dictation, I never saw him dictate to anyone, and it certainly was not his practice to do so. He seemed to think nothing of the labor of writing personally and was accustomed to make many scraps of notes or memoranda. In writing a careful letter, he first wrote it himself, then corrected it, and then rewrote the corrected version himself. You must remember that there were in those days practically no private stenographers. I do not recall having seen any letter written by Nicolay or by Hay which was personally signed by him.”
Robert T. Lincoln

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