Blog—Where I fill in the Blanks

Meet me at TLA 2018!

I look forward to a school visit in Arlington the day after Easter, followed by three days at the Texas Library Association conference in Dallas. I’ll be schmoozing as many librarians and educators as possible during that time. If you will also be at TLA, please introduce yourself. Here’s my schedule:


Lincoln—Character Education

As a teenager, Lincoln studied an arithmetic book that survives today and is now part of the Herndon-Weik Collection. In the bottom left corner of one page, there is a faded verse that Lincoln wrote. A reproduced enhanced version is below. It seems Lincoln recognized his rascally tendencies at a young age. What a great way to spark [Read More]


A reading of an 1890 Account of the Lincoln-Shields Duel

In 1890, John George Nicolay and John Hay— President Abraham Lincoln’s secretaries, published the ten-volume biography: Abraham Lincoln: A History, which you can see on Archive.org here.  You can hear a Librivox reading of the chapter related to the Lincoln-Shields duel and the two other challenges it sparked here.  Be aware that this reading is 18-minutes long. [Read More]


James Shields & His Working Relationship with Lincoln Before & During Civil War

To set up the events that later transpired between Lincoln and Shields, without turning this post into a tome, I hope you will forgive my necessary jumps in time and assumptions of knowledge below. Bear with me. James Shields- Where’d he come from? James Shields was born in Dungannon, Ireland. His 1840 U.S. Citizenship application [Read More]


Lincoln—Two Duels Sparked by the Lincoln-Shields Duel

Participating in duels in any role was a risky business in Lincoln’s day. Just as the tension between two opposing sides of a boxing match, a football game, a political debate today could lead to physical brawls, for the men acting as seconds to the dueling principals, the volatile and combative atmosphere could spell trouble. [Read More]