James Daugherty has turned his pen to the greatest American of them all: Abraham Lincoln, sixteenth President of the United States of America. His book is the people's Lincoln, Lincoln the man—seen through the clear eyes of an artist and poet, American to the bone.
It is a story to set the blood tingling and fill the heart with sorrow and glory, to set the footsteps of the mind on leaf-fallen Kentucky ground, on Springfield's pavements, and down the hurried streets of Washington in the spring rain.
It is the picture of a tumbling, surging young nation with the pioneer states knocking at the door, the era of the coonskin cap and the French brocade. Across its broad canvas pass the lynx-eyed backwoodsmen, the crinolined belles of the plantation South, the slick politicians of wartime Washington in the eighteen-sixties, the desperate fighters in blue and gray. It is the sound of battle, and the bands playing "Dixie," and the march of tired feet and the trumpets calling.
It is Lincoln as his contemporaries saw him, as we might see him now. He stalks through these pages with his gangling humorous ways like a well-beloved friend.
Here is young Abe drifting down the Mississippi to fabulous New Orleans, Lincoln the lawyer with his feet on the green baize table, Old Abe "The Rail Splitter Candidate" drawling his way through the smoke-clouded Republican Convention of 1859, Lincoln the Statesman speaking to immortality across the stricken field at Gettysburg: Abraham Lincoln, standing six foot four, with the incredible wisdom of greatness in his homely face.
These are pictures and words with a driving vitality, a book for young and old alike, for all Americans living democracy's battle today.
The drawings are a result of years of study of the many portraits of Lincoln, and of the rich photographic material of the period. Before attempting the final illustrations, Mr. Daugherty made countless sketches and working drawings of Lincoln in his many moods: the young man, the husband and father, the bearded man with the tired eyes and the mobile mouth.
The illustrations are true lithographs, done on stone. First a key drawing was made, and then another for the brown modeling which adds richness to the black and white.
By a difficult technical process necessary for retaining the delicate tone values of James Daugherty's work, the finished lithographs were transferred from the original stones to large zinc printing plates. These were run on a high speed offset press to produce the finished pictures as you see them in these pages.
—From the dust jacket
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