Leave it to the TheNew York Times to dig up an old Whitman notebook filled with imagined conversations with a president, nautical metaphors and even a few sketches of the versifier himself — drawn by someone else.
"Walt Whitman and Abraham Lincoln never spoke to one another in real life, except perhaps the briefest exchange of pleasantries. But on this page of Whitman’s pocket notebook, written sometime during the fall and winter of 1860-61, their imagined conversation begins.
After leaving one leaf of his notebook blank, Whitman scribbles these mystical thoughts on religion, here and on a second page (not shown). They may or may not have been intended as part of his “dialogues” with Lincoln.”
A fascinating blog post connecting U.S. Grant with A.J. Drexel — penned by my friend and colleague Rob Sieczkiewicz, who serves as archivist for Drexel University.
Just a taste: “During his presidency, Grant regularly came to Philadelphia to seek Mr. Drexel’s advice on financial matters; indeed he offered Mr. Drexel a post in his cabinet as Secretary of the Treasury, but Mr. Drexel declined. Although Grant is known for going bankrupt at the end of his life and dying penniless, for most of his retirement he lived in comfort, having entrusted the management of his investments to A.J. Drexel.”
When considering Civil War spectacles, it is perhaps ironic that the man who did more than any other American entrepreneur to create the immense popularity of pince nez glasses and their successors, Oxfords – John Jacob Bausch, an immigrant from Germany who arrived in the United States with the superior manufacturing techniques of the Old World in his brain – and his company – Bausch & Lomb – should also be largely responsible for the most significant advances in spectacle design of the mid-19th century.
A massive disconnect with the styles and engineering of spectacles of the immediately preceding period is clear to even a casual glance. The spectacles of Benjamin Franklin’s and George Washington’s times featured round lenses to the exclusion of nearly any other shape, and the double-hinged flat strap temples that tied around the head or secured to the powdered wigs of 18th century “fashion plates”. Antique eyeglasses from the Civil war era have a very different arrangement.
The lenses of Civil War spectacles were almost all either oval or an elongated octagon (a horizontally stretched rectangle with the corners cut off). Round lenses from the time of Gettysburg and Bull Run are very rare indeed. The temples also have a very different look. Most of these changes can be traced by inference to Bausch & Lomb, who owned a large market share in spectacle sales as well as being the undisputed kings of pince nez, soaring in popularity thanks to wartime conditions.
Wheatfield in Which General Reynolds Was Shot, July 1863. Albumen print; 6 x 8 ⅜ in. Attributed to Egbert G. Fowx (born ca. 1821). The famous Civil War photographer Mathew Brady is the man standing at the fence. Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens.
The title is the only clue to the import of this solemn painting, a prelude to the end of the Civil War. Seated in the after cabin of the Union steamer River Queen are Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman, Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant, President Abraham Lincoln, and Rear Adm. David D. Porter. Less than a week before the fall of Petersburg, Virginia, the four men met to discuss the nature of the peace terms to follow. Read more here.