Review of The Papers of Abraham Lincoln: Legal Documents and Cases. Edited by Daniel W. Stowell, Susan Krause, John A. Lupton, Stacy Pratt McDermott, Christopher A. Schnell, Dennis E. Suttles, Kelley B. Clausing, and R. Dan Monroe.
Date of this Version
Documentary Editing: Journal of the Association for Documentary Editing, Volume 31: 2010 ISSN 0196-7134
Lincoln’s long career as a lawyer has been as much the subject of winsome anecdote as comprehensive scholarly study—an unhappy balance caused in part by the lack of readily accessible documents bearing on his practice. That problem, however, was remedied in stunning fashion with the publication in 2000 of the massive digital edition of Lincoln’s legal papers, The Law Practice of Abraham Lincoln (LPAL). The LPAL produced more than 96,000 searchable documents spanning over 5,000 cases and nearly 500 nonlitigation activities through the course of Lincoln’s legal career. The present selective letterpress edition in four volumes continues the same tradition of legal and editorial expertise found in the digital edition. Together the two editions should help bring about a great leap forward in Lincoln legal scholarship. With its extensive scholarly apparatus, the letterpress edition in particular provides a unique window onto Lincoln’s daily work as a lawyer.