February 20, 2018

“Lincoln’s Childhood”
– Brian Dirck

February 20, 2018

Abraham Lincoln grew up in southern Indiana, where his childhood years became the stuff of legend, as part of one of the great rags-to-riches stories in American history. What parts of the Lincoln mythos regarding his childhood are true, and what are false? Was he really an entirely self-taught child, reading books on his own by the light of a cabin fireplace? Was he really a frontier farmer and “railsplitter”? What sort of relationships did he have with his family and friends, and what were the hardships and challenges he endured that shaped his later life and personality? We will examine these questions, and look at the trials, difficulties and triumphs of the future Civil War leader as he came of age on the American frontier.

Brian Dirck is a Professor of History at Anderson University in Anderson, Indiana. He received his B.A. in history at the University of Central Arkansas, an M.A. in history at Rice University, and a Ph.D. in history at the University of Kansas. His scholarship has focused on the American Civil War era, in particular the life and career of Abraham Lincoln. He has published and edited several books: Lincoln and Davis: Imagining America, Lincoln the Lawyer, and others. He has also spoken at Harvard University, the National Archives in Washington DC, the Lincoln Forum in Springfield, Illinois, and Gettysburg’s Civil War Institute.