“What Is Hell To One Like Me...?”

Lincoln’s melancholy is famous. Less well known is that he not only penned thoughts about suicide but published them in a newspaper. Scholars have long believed that the only copy in the newspaper’s files was mutilated to hide those thoughts from posterity. But the composition has apparently always been in plain sight—and unrecognized.

How did such a thing come to be written? How was it lost? Why should we think it has been found? And what does it reveal about its author? Read more »

Lincoln’s Life Preserver

To stave off despair, the President relied on a sense of humor that was rich, self-deprecating—and surprisingly bawdy

A great “intensity of thought,” Abraham Lincoln once counseled his friend Joshua Speed, “will some times wear the sweetest idea thread-bare and turn it to the bitterness of death.” No aspect of Lincoln’s character has become more tangibly real in the literature than his melancholy.Read more »