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Grant number: HD-51556-12

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Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation (Springfield, IL 62701-1004)
Daniel W. Stowell (project director)
Patrick Juola (co-project director)
HD-51556-12
[View white paper]
Is That You, Mr. Lincoln?: Applying Authorship Attribution to the Early Political Writings of Abraham Lincoln

The application of several automated authorship attribution tests to determine if Abraham Lincoln may have written anonymous or pseudonymous newspaper articles early in his political career.

The words of the Gettysburg Address and Second Inaugural steadied a nation consumed by civil war and have since encouraged countless millions around the globe in their struggles for democracy and equality; however, Abraham Lincoln did not always write to inspire. Both his contemporaries and subsequent historians have suggested that as a young Illinois legislator, Lincoln frequently wrote vicious, and oftentimes libelous, newspaper articles and published them anonymously or with a pseudonym. Thus far, however, no historian has conducted a systematic search of relevant newspapers or developed a way to identify which articles Lincoln authored. This project proposes a solution. By merging two areas of the humanities, history and linguistics, this project will apply a series of innovative authorship attribution tests to the question of which anonymous and pseudonymous newspaper articles Lincoln wrote early in his career.

Participating institutions
Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation (Springfield, IL) - Applicant/Grantee
Duquesne University (Pittsburgh, PA) - Participating institution
Project fields: U.S. History
Program: Digital Humanities Start-Up Grants
Division: Digital Humanities
Total amount awarded: $57,000
Grant period: 4/1/2012 – 6/30/2013

Funding details
Original grant (2012) $50,000
Supplement (2012) $7,000

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