John and Nancy Wilson submitted this review of Fred Reed's new book, Abraham Lincoln - Beyond the American Icon. Thanks!
ABRAHAM LINCOLN - Beyond the American Icon
Author Fred Reed
Foreword by Q. David Bowers
Whitman Publishing, LLC, Atlanta, GA, 2013
Reviewed by John and Nancy Wilson, NLG
Abraham Lincoln – Beyond the American Icon by well-known and respected author Fred Reed, with a foreword by Q. David Bowers follows closely on the heels of his 2009 award winning reference Abraham Lincoln: The Image of His Greatness. This 2013 Hardcover reference has 464 pages and over 1400 full color images. The Fred Reed collection contains 4000 Lincoln items, many of which have been reproduced here. The cover of the book has a vivid and very famous image of Abraham Lincoln done by Artist Cathee A. “Cat” Clausen. Quoting Q. David Bowers Foreword, “The present book is indeed comprehensive; it would be a rare find indeed to locate a significant image of Lincoln as a product advertisement, medal, civic monument, or other manifestation not known to the author.”
The Introduction has the author’s thoughts and reflections on Lincoln, other personalities of the time, and highlights from the many different things you will find in the five chapters. We think that you will find a lot of useful information on Lincoln that won’t be found anyplace else. Why would anyone do another Lincoln book and quoting Fred Reed, “Simply put, it is because I still have Abe-eagerness in my sinews, and my publisher thinks our public still has Abe-receptivity, too?” Fred goes on to say, “this new work has entirely new text, and all new illustrations, and the emphasis has shifted. Its predecessor book was more heavily slanted toward Lincoln the man and Lincoln the ideal-the Mythmaking phase of the story. This book is more heavily slanted toward Lincoln the idol and Lincoln the icon-the branding phase.” We especially liked the timelines the author used in all the chapters.
Chapter 1. Abraham Lincoln: 1809 – 1865. From his early years to the day before he was assassinated, this book chronicles the important parts of his life. There are pictures of ephemera, tokens and medals, U. S. Currency & Coins, broadsides, pins, ribbons, stock certificates, tintypes, scrip, cartoons, periodicals of the time, seals, and letters. There is even an illustration of a check Lincoln signed on April 13, 1865, the day before he died.
Chapter 2. Lincoln the Ideal: 1865 – 1909. This chapter chronicles the important events from 1865 to 1909. Many pictures of Lincoln and items used during that period are shown. A Lincoln card was engraved & printed by the Treasury Department in 1866. In 2012 the Bureau of Engraving & Printing produced a Souvenir Card using that same portrait. At the top of the Lincoln card there is a small eagle which was engraved by Henry Gugler. The head of the eagle is turned backwards and when inverted the vignette resembles the head of a jackass. This eagle is on the $10 United States Notes of Series 1869 to 1880. There is also an illustration of NY collector Andrew C. Zabriskie’s 1873 catalog of medals struck honoring Lincoln. Only 75 copies were produced. The 1868 illustration of Alexander Hay Ritchie’s famous engraving of Lincoln’s deathbed scene will also be found in this chapter.
Chapter 3. Lincoln the Idol: 1909 – 1959. 1909 was the centennial celebration of Lincoln and the author covers some of the events and items that were produced including the 1909 (Lincoln’s birth year) Lincoln cent. It was interesting to read that the Lincoln cent idea “was conceived by Lincolnphile Republican U. S. president Theodore Roosevelt as a daily reminder of the nation’s indebtedness to the nation’s savior.” Also quoting the book “As a young boy, Teddy witnessed the Lincoln funeral procession up the city’s Broadway from the window of his grandfather’s mansion.”
One of the more interesting illustrations has an enlargement of the reverse of the Lincoln cent with the name Brenner appearing. The mint stopped the presses and later the initials V.D.B. (Victor David Brenner) were used and his last name disappeared. Many other great illustrations depicting Lincoln are found in comic books and matchbook covers and other items up to gold medals. On January 2, 1959 the U. S. Mint started striking Frank Gasparro’s Lincoln Memorial on the reverse of the cent.
Chapter 4. Lincoln the Icon: 1959 – 2009. “No U. S. presidential portrait in history has been more widely duplicated and dispersed than Anthony Berger’s February 9, 1864, photograph known as O-92, except for the Washington portrait on the dollar bill and the Lincoln profile on the cent.” This O-92 image of Lincoln is prominently illustrated. Sculptor Marcel Jovine was the creator of a rectangular plaque for the 125thanniversary of the American Numismatic Society in 1983. The reverse of Jovine’s medal illustrates the stylized process of reducing Brenner’s Lincoln cent design to coinage-die size. The version depicted was used in 1982 on the obverse of Chet Krause’s aluminum medal marking the 30thanniversary of his weekly coin tabloid, Numismatic News. Many more pages of illustrated collectibles will be found depicting Lincoln. Many of them we would consider available and inexpensive.
This period has several different movies that had Lincoln a part of them. In one of the illustrations you see twenty-third century ship’s captain James T. Kirk (William Shatner) meeting his boyhood idol, 19th century U.S. president Abraham Lincoln, played by Lee Bergere. The chapter covers other movies and plays regarding President Lincoln. In the timeline of events, we found on September 12, 2007 a link to the George Eastman House, Rochester, NY, “the great repository and museum of photographic history, posts a short podcast to YouTube, entitled Abraham Lincoln Plate Negative.” You can learn about the plate and view the podcast at:
Chapter 5. Lincoln the Immortal: 2009 and Beyond. The author states “Old habits die hard in regards to paper money.” Since their appearance on U.S. Paper Money in 1869, Lincoln consistently appeared on notes of $100, $500, $1, and (most famously) $5 bills for a period of 131 years. During the Civil War Lincoln appeared on U. S. fractional currency. Two other photos in this chapter show the author Fred Reed with his first edition of Lincoln at conventions. The timelines of Lincoln events in the chapter end with a February 2012 comment on “The Ford’s Theater Center for Education and Leadership” opened across from the famous Ford’s Theater and next door to the Petersen House.” “Construction for this facility started in July 2010.” If you go to Washington, DC this would be a great place to visit. We think that everyone will enjoy reading this book and viewing the many illustrations in it.
The Notes follow, and the Bibliography will help numismatists, historians and collectors find out sources for their research on Lincoln. About the Author, Photo Credits and the Index close out this finely done book on one of our most popular Presidents.
The Whitman press release said regarding this second Lincoln image book (or sequel) by Fred Reed, “Plus more award-winning analysis and commentary.” We think that any reader of this Lincoln book will appreciate greatly the author’s expertise on the subject of Lincoln. No one could have done this reference better than Fred Reed. The book is a must for any numismatist (collector or dealer), historian, researcher, library or just any person who cares about one of our most famous Americans, “Abraham Lincoln,” – bar none.
The author’s vast knowledge and love of Abraham Lincoln, his great care with detail writing the book, along with his immense collection illustrated throughout make this book an excellent source of information. If you just want the book for yourself or a friend, a coffee table decoration or to use to catalog your collection of Lincoln memorabilia the selling price of $29.50 is a real bargain. We also think this book will be a candidate for book of the year at the NLG function at this year’s ANA World’s Fair of Money. For information on purchasing this reference you can contact: Whitman Publishing LLC, 3101 Clairmont Rd., Suite G., Atlanta, GA. 30329, Phone Number (800) 546-2995 or
Wayne Homren, Editor
The Numismatic Bibliomania Society is a non-profit organization
promoting numismatic literature. See our web site at coinbooks.org.
To submit items for publication in The E-Sylum, write to the Editor
at this address: firstname.lastname@example.org
To subscribe go to: https://my.binhost.com/lists/listinfo/esylum
Copyright © 1998 - 2020 The Numismatic Bibliomania Society (NBS)
All Rights Reserved.
NBS Home Page
Contact the NBS webmaster