Abraham Lincoln First Technology President

Did you know Abraham Lincoln was the first technology president?

In 2017, we were lucky enough to visit both the Lincoln Memorial in DC and the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield, Illinois.

Growing up in Danville, Illinois my home was only a few blocks from the office of President Lincoln’s law partner, Ward Hill Lamon.

As one of the Vermilion County Museum student volunteers, I loved walking visitors up the stairs to the Lincoln Room. Going behind the red velvet rope, I stood in the same room where Lincoln slept. As I retold the story, over and over again, of how Lincoln addressed a crowd from the balcony in his stocking feet, I grew closer to the legacy.

In 2009, I wrote . . .

While there’s lots of talk about our new president being the first to bring technology into White House communications, maybe this reference really belongs to President Obama’s role model, Abraham Lincoln.

Here’s a brief clip from author Tom Wheeler’s site about his book, Mr. Lincoln’s T-Mails: How Abraham Lincoln Used the Telegraph to Win the Civil War . . .

“The Civil War was the first ‘modern war.’ Abraham Lincoln became president of
a divided nation during a period of both technological and social revolution.
Among the many modern marvels was the telegraph, which Lincoln used to stay
connected to the forces in the field in almost real-time. No leader in history
had ever possessed such a powerful tool. As a result, Lincoln had to learn for
himself how to use the power of electronic messages. Without precedent to guide
him, Lincoln developed his own model of electronic communications — an approach
that echoes today in our use of email.”

One last thing I’d like to share . . .

Here at home, we have a rare copy of Ida M. Tarbell’s The Life of Abraham Lincoln, written in 1895. Our copy is from 1900. “Drawn from original SOURCES and containing many SPEECHES, LETTERS and TELEGRAMS hitherto unpublished, and illustrated with many reproductions from original Paintings, Photographs, et cetera,” says the intro on the faceplate.

The preface to Volume II’s appendix [pages 265-459] states, “The following Letters, Telegrams and Speeches of Abraham Lincoln have been collected by the author in the course of the work of preparing this Life of Lincoln. None of these documents appear in Lincoln’s ‘Complete Works’ edited by Nicolay and Hay or in any other collection of his writings.”  The first telegram is dated August 10, 1883;  the last is dated April 11, 1865 only 4 days before his passing.

After reading about Wheeler’s take on Lincoln’s telegrams, I’m anxious to page through my 118 year old book as a reference for expedient email communication.

If you’re wondering about Ida M. Tarbell . . .

Known for her exposes of corporate America, particularly Standard Oil, along with her Lincoln biographies, Ms. Tarbell was a newspaper and magazine writer as well as an editor, a lecturer, and a muckraker.

“Imagination is the only key to the future. Without it none exists – with it all things are possible.”  Ida M. Tarbell

What’s your Lincoln story?

Thanks for reading!

Barbara Rozgonyi, 4D Imagemaker

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