By Daniel W. Crofts
"The Diary of a Public Man," released anonymously in numerous installments within the North American evaluate in 1879, claimed to supply verbatim money owed of mystery conversations with Abraham Lincoln, William H. Seward, and Stephen A. Douglas--among others--in the determined weeks ahead of the beginning of the Civil battle. regardless of repeated makes an attempt to decipher the Diary, historians by no means were in a position to pinpoint its writer or confirm its authenticity. In A Secession trouble Enigma, Daniel W. Crofts solves those longstanding mysteries. He identifies the writer, unravels the interesting tale at the back of the Diary, and deftly establishes its contents as principally real. in response to Crofts, the Diary used to be now not a diary in any respect yet a memoir, most likely written presently prior to it seemed in print. The mastermind who created it, manhattan journalist William Henry Hurlbert (1827-1895), effectively perpetrated essentially the most tough feats of old license--he pretended to were a diarist who by no means existed. Crofts contends, besides the fact that, that Hurlbert's paintings was once faraway from fictional. Time after time, the Diary introduces fabric almost very unlikely to manufacture in addition to formerly hid details that was once corroborated purely after its ebook. The Diary bristles with particular info concerning the fight to form Lincoln's cupboard and the composition of his inaugural handle. Crofts's cautious research, observed via the total textual content of the Diary in an appendix, bargains a daring new standpoint at the frantic scramble to opposite southern secession whereas heading off the abyss of conflict. Hurlbert, a long-forgotten eccentric genius, emerges vividly the following. half detective tale, half biography, and half an in depth narrative of occasions in early 1861, A Secession drawback Enigma offers a compelling resolution to a permanent secret and brings "The Diary of a Public guy" again into the historic lexicon.
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Additional info for A Secession Crisis Enigma: William Henry Hurlbert and
A notation in Box 39 of the Frank Maloy Anderson Papers, Library of Congress, shows that in February 1930 he was trying to track Hurlbert’s movements during the secession winter. A year and a half later, however, Anderson was so eager to know more about Sam Ward that he sought an interview with Maud Howe Elliott, Ward’s niece. Anderson to Elliott, Aug. 31, 1931, Samuel Ward Papers, Houghton Library, Harvard University. 6. , Sam Ward in the Gold Rush (Stanford: Stanford Univ. Press, 1949). ” The series ended when Ward departed for the seceded states in the company of William H.
4, 1910, Bancroft Collection, Special Collections, Butler Library, Columbia University. On Harvey, see Daniel W. Crofts, “James E. Harvey and the Secession Crisis,” Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography 103 (Apr. 1979): 177–95. For various reasons, Welling, White, and Forney also appeared to deserve scrutiny. Proving Who Wrote the Diary 29 Hurlbert. The results are clear—stylometric evidence “points very strongly” to Hurlbert as the author of the Diary. Extensive samples were taken from articles he wrote for the New York Times in September and October 1862, which described a year he spent in Confederate captivity, and from the account of his travels through Ireland in the late 1880s.
6 To supplement the known facts about Hurlbert’s young life, the historian must also make use of unconventional sources. Three writers who knew Hurlbert—Charles Kingsley, Theodore Winthrop, and Thomas Wentworth Higginson—each used him as the basis for a character in a novel. Their portraits offer many insights into his personality. Published between 1857 and 1869, the three works of creative imagination each provide a distinct angle of vision. Taken together, they suggest that the baffling mix of qualities exhibited by the mature Hurlbert were apparent to discerning observers during the 1850s when the young prodigy first vaulted to attention.
A Secession Crisis Enigma: William Henry Hurlbert and by Daniel W. Crofts