Abe’s Youth: Shaping the Future President

Since his death, Abraham Lincoln has been celebrated as savior of the Union, proponent for emancipation, president of the United States, and skilled statesman. Although Lincoln’s adult life has been well documented and analyzed, most biographers have regarded his early years as inconsequential to his career and accomplishments.

In 1920 a group of historians known as the Lincoln Inquiry were determined to give Lincoln’s formative years their due. Abe’s Youth takes a look into their writings, which focus on Lincoln’s life between 7 to 21 years of age. By filling in the gaps on Lincoln’s childhood, the authors shed light on how his experiences growing up influenced the man he became.

As the first fully annotated edition of the Lincoln Inquiry papers, Abe’s Youth offers indispensable reading for anyone hoping to learn about Lincoln’s early life.

The book includes a foreword by Lincoln biographer Michael Burlingame and is co-edited by William E. “Bill” Bartelt, a Lincoln historian and retired educator. Bartelt’s books include There I Grew Up, which tells the history of Abraham Lincoln’s Indiana years and helped inspire The Better Angels, a 2014 biographical drama-historical film about Lincoln’s formative years. He is considered the greatest living scholar on Abraham Lincoln’s youth in Indiana.

Media & Public Appearances

  • Books by the Banks (October 26, 2019): We have applied to take part in this year’s Books by the Banks festival in Cincinnati, Ohio. Click here for more details.
  • 2019 Lincoln Day (February 10, 2019): Bill Bartlet is the featured speaker at the annual Lincoln Day program at the Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial. Click here for more details.