Journal Article

Method and Memory in the Midwestern "Lincoln Inquiry": Oral Testimony and Abraham Lincoln Studies, 1865—1938

Keith A. Erekson

in The Oral History Review

Published on behalf of Oral History Association

Volume 34, issue 2, pages 49-72
Published in print January 2007 | ISSN: 0094-0798
Published online January 2007 | e-ISSN: 1533-8592 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/ohr.2007.34.2.49
Method and Memory in the Midwestern "Lincoln Inquiry": Oral Testimony and Abraham Lincoln Studies, 1865—1938

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This article narrates the role of oral testimony in the field of Abraham Lincoln studies from 1865 through the 1930s. Collected in the form of letters, affidavits, and face-to-face interviews, this mounting body of "eyewitness evidence" dominated the discourse for two generations and reflective, public practice culminated in the organization of a "Lincoln Inquiry" in the Midwest during the 1920s and 1930s. For a time, practitioners successfully defended themselves against increasing positivist assaults on the credibility of oral testimony. Their interests and efforts resonate with later oral history practice and theory about method, authorship, performance, and memory, and their story highlights the contingency inherent in the development of oral historical practice in America.

Keywords: Oral History; Memory; Abraham Lincoln; Historical Methodology; Eyewitness Testimony

Journal Article.  0 words. 

Subjects: Oral History

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