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Lawrence Howe <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Mark Twain Forum <[log in to unmask]>
Thu, 29 Jan 2015 13:59:55 +0000
text/plain (77 lines)

You may be right that "pretty much everyone knew about Lincoln's raft trips," but all of the examples you list are presidents whose campaigns were in the era of modern media saturation.  Campaigns in the nineteenth century don't really compare with those we experience now.  And even given that, I'm not sure "everyone knows" that Reagan was a football announcer; it's true that he was, but I suspect that people are more familiar with his early career as a radio broadcaster recreating Cubs games from ticker-tape accounts. 

Is there evidence of how common the knowledge of AL's raft trips was?  


Larry Howe
Professor of English
Chair, Department of Literature and Languages
Roosevelt University

Fulbright Distinguished Chair in American Studies, Syddansk Universitet--Odense, 2014-15
From: Mark Twain Forum <[log in to unmask]> on behalf of Hal Bush <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Thursday, January 29, 2015 7:31 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: Connection between Twain and Lincoln

I think I should clarify something about this topic.  Pretty much everyone
knew about Lincoln's raft trips -- as they knew about him as a "rail
splitter," or they knew that he grew up in southern Indiana, or lost his
mother Nancy Hanks, etc.  Just like everyone reading this knows that Reagan
was a football announcer on the radio and went to Hollywood to star in
movies; or that Clinton grew up in rural Ark. with a single Mom, that he
"did not inhale," and that he shook the hand of Jack Kennedy; or that
Barack Obama had a white mother and and a Kenyan father, spent time in
Indonesia and Hawaii, and that he was a grassroots organizer in Chicago;
etc., etc.  It was not necessary to read a book as a source for any of
these details; they are just sort of in the water of presidential

Twain would NOT have needed to "read a book" to know that AL took raft
trips down the Mighty Mississippi.

On Wed, Jan 28, 2015 at 10:40 PM, Arianne <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> Thanks Barbara.  I really appreciate your knowledgeable tips!
> Chances are Mark Twain read Howell's work, for sure, and Lincoln's raft
> trip might have been mentionied in it, too.  I'll check your archive link.
> Arianne Laidlaw
> On Wed, Jan 28, 2015 at 3:13 PM, Barbara Schmidt <[log in to unmask]>
> wrote:
> > I don't think the fact that William Dean Howells wrote an 1860 campaign
> > biography _Life of Abraham Lincoln_ should be overlooked.  This book is
> not
> > listed in Gribben's _Mark Twain's Library: A Reconstruction_.  However
> in a
> > letter dated 5 Aug. 1876, Howells reminded Clemens: "You know I wrote the
> > Life of Lincoln which elected him."  The text of Howell's book is also
> > available online at
> >
> > Barb
> >
> --
> Arianne Laidlaw A '58

Prof. Harold K. Bush
Professor of English
3800 Lindell
Saint Louis University
St. Louis, MO  63108
314-977-3616 (w); 314-771-6795 (h)