Everybody’s History: Indiana’s Lincoln Inquiry and the Quest to Reclaim a President’s Past
Everybody’s History tells the story of hundreds of Americans in the 1920s and 1930s who worked to write the “missing chapter” in the life of Abraham Lincoln—his years from age seven to twenty-one when he lived on the Indiana frontier. Participants in the “Lincoln Inquiry,” as it was called, were upset with Lincoln biographers who either ignored Indiana or characterized it as a backwoods place that Abraham was happy to escape. To right this wrong, they preserved, researched, wrote, and shared the history of southern Indiana as integral to the life of Lincoln and to the history of the American frontier. Along the way, they engaged most of the state’s historical agencies, competed with contemporary Lincoln biographers, and crossed paths with the Ku Klux Klan. Everybody’s History invites all who are interested in the past to see history as both vital to public life and meaningful to everybody because everybody’s history matters.
Keith A. Erekson. Everybody’s History: Indiana’s Lincoln Inquiry and the Quest to Reclaim a President’s Past. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 2012.