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Everybody's History: Indiana's Lincoln Inquiry and the Quest to Reclaim a President's Past (Public History in Historical Perspective) [Kindle Edition]

Keith A. Erekson

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Book Description

Revered by the public, respected by scholars, and imitated by politicians, Abraham Lincoln remains influential more than two hundred years after his birth. His memory has inspired books, monuments, and museums and also sparked controversies, rivalries, and forgeries. That so many people have been interested in Lincoln for so long makes him an ideal subject for exploring why history matters to ordinary Americans as well as to academic specialists.

In Everybody’s History, Keith A. Erekson focuses on the Southwestern Indiana Historical Society—an organization composed of lawyers, historians, collectors, genealogists, teachers, college presidents, and newspaper editors—who joined together during the 1920s and 1930s to recover a part of Lincoln’s life his biographers had long ignored: the years from age seven to twenty-one when he lived on the Indiana frontier. Participants in the “Lincoln Inquiry,” as it was commonly known, researched old records, interviewed aging witnesses, hosted pageants, built a historical village, and presented their findings in public and in print. Along the way they defended their methods and findings against competitors in the fields of public history and civic commemoration, and rescued some of Indiana’s own history by correcting a forgotten chapter of Lincoln’s.

Everybody’s History traces the development of popular interest in Lincoln to uncover the story of an extensive network of nonprofessional historians who contested old authorities and advanced new interpretations. In so doing, the book invites all who are interested in the past to see history as both vital to public life and meaningful to everybody.

Editorial Reviews


This book should be required reading for any public history program as it sheds light not only on the evolution of the field but also on the occasional disconnect between public history and academia. It also acknowledges the rivalries and jealousies that can develop between scholars and between researchers, which is still the case today. --Timothy P. Townsend

This book's great value is in stimulating historians to think about what they do and how and why they do it. . . . Erekson's perceptive monograph makes the Lincoln Inquiry as relevant to the twenty-first century as it was to the nineteenth. --The Journal of American History

About the Author

Keith A. Erekson is assistant professor of history at the University of Texas at El Paso.

Product Details

  • File Size: 8296 KB
  • Print Length: 256 pages
  • Publisher: University of Massachusetts Press (January 31, 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,629,644 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Keith A. Erekson is an award-winning writer, teacher, and historian. He grew up near Baltimore, Maryland, and now lives in El Paso, Texas, with his wife and four daughters. He teaches history at the University of Texas at El Paso where he is the founder and director of the university's Center for History Teaching & Learning. In 2011 the Board of Regents of the University of Texas system awarded him its prestigious Outstanding Teaching Award. He speaks often to public audiences and the media.


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