Lincoln’s T-Mails

Last week I wrote about Tom Wheeler’s book “Mr. Lincoln’s T-Mails.” I’m watching Wheeler now on C-SPAN2. He’s sharing the podium with Harold Holzer, author of “Lincoln At Cooper Union.”

The more I hear, the more fascinating the story is. Lincoln is more a myth than a man to most of us. Mostly, we know history through platitudes and broad concepts. Now I’m listening to the minutiae of his public and private life.

“Lincoln was a devotee of changing technology” – Harold Holzer

This is the most amazing part of the story. Lincoln took advantage of the life changing technology available – the railroad, telegraph, telegrams and even photography.

In the mid-1800s, presidential candidates didn’t campaign. Lincoln’s photo was the representation seen by most voters.

How cool is it to know that when you look more deeply at Lincoln, he’s remains as large a figure as he is from a fuzzy distance.

Abe Lincoln – Wired

I often listen to NPR while taking my shower. Today, on Talk of the Nation, Neil Conan spoke with Tom Wheeler who had an op-ed piece in this morning’s Washington Post and who also wrote the book, “Mr. Lincoln’s T-Mails: The Untold Story of How Abraham Lincoln Used the Telegraph to Win the Civil War.”

(I)nsight into our greatest president is possible through the nearly 1,000 messages he sent via the new telegraph technology. These 19th-century versions of e-mail messages preserve his spur-of-the-moment thoughts and are the closest we will come to a transcript of a conversation with Abraham Lincoln. In their unstructured form, Lincoln comes alive.

Are you kidding? Lincoln was our first president to communicate electronically. I guess he really was the Great Communicator.

This made Abraham Lincoln our first president with instant access to information. Imagine how that benefited him as he formulated our political and military strategy during the Civil War?

You owe it to yourself to read the op-ed column.

Oh, and Happy Birthday Abe.

Continue reading “Abe Lincoln – Wired”