Documentary Editing, Association for


Date of this Version


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Documentary Editing: Journal of the Association for Documentary Editing, Volume 32: 2011 ISSN 0196-7134


© 2011 The Association for Documentary Editing. Used by permission.


Let me engage in some speculative onomastics. Onomastics is the study of both what a person or a group calls himself, herself, or itself, and what others call that entity. It is the Lincolns’ names for themselves, and what others have called them, that is the main point of discussion for this talk. Many of their contemporaries underwent similar letter-adding or letter-dropping in their names. Again, this will be speculative. I am no more a cultural historian than the next person. Nor have I performed a thorough search of the scholarly literature on either nineteenth-century naming and spelling patterns or gone into semiotic, postmodernist, or phenomenalist theory on why things get done wrong. But I hope that the few small novel points I might make will cause attention to be drawn to some odd treatment the Lincolns have suffered at the hands of their followers.