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Grant number: HD-51556-12

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Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation (Springfield, IL 62701-1011)
Daniel W. Stowell (Project Director: October 2011 to present)
Patrick Juola (Co Project Director: October 2011 to present)

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.

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Participating institutions:
Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation (Springfield, IL) - Applicant/Recipient
Duquesne University (Pittsburgh, PA) - Participating Institution

Project fields:
U.S. History

Digital Humanities Start-Up Grants

Digital Humanities

Total amounts:
$57,000 (approved)
$57,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
4/1/2012 – 6/30/2013

Funding details:
Original grant (2012) $0
Supplement (2012) $7,000