5 tributes to Abraham Lincoln from literary greats

One hundred and fifty years ago today, on April 15, 1865, President Abraham Lincoln died after being shot by John Wilkes Booth the evening before. A century and a half after his death, Lincoln’s legacy includes a huge – and still-growing – body of literature about his life and death. As a central figure in American history, Lincoln has inspired authors in America and abroad. Here, in honor of today’s solemn Lincoln anniversary, are comments from five literary greats about The Great Emancipator. The passages come from “The Lincoln Anthology: Great Writers on His Life and Legacy from 1860 to Now,” published by The Library of America.

1. Nathaniel Hawthorne, writing about Abraham Lincoln

“He was dressed in a rusty black frock-coat and pantaloons, unbrushed, and worn so faithfully that the suit had adapted itself to the curves and angularities of his figure, and had grown to be an outer skin of the man. He had shabby slippers on his feet. His hair was black, still unmixed with gray, somewhat bushy, and had apparently been acquainted with neither brush nor comb, that morning, after the disarrangement of the pillow....”

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