The Contributors' Column

On the next page we print a complete list of the Lincoln documents and memorabilia on which the series of Lincoln articles, now concluded, was based. That series was begun and is finished in the Atlantic in good faith. Certain terms and statements contained in it have been challenged by Lincoln experts. To every such criticism we have been keenly alive. We have felt that judgment upon the series as a whole should be suspended until it could be read in its entirety. Feeling also that the challenges and criticisms it has called forth should likewise be considered in their entirety, we shall await the comment on the current installment, and in a future issue of the magazine will deal completely with the whole matter. Once the Atlantic decided to publish the articles, we thought it necessary to act on two principles: first, that the entire series should be printed, together with all the principal documents on which it was based; second, that all facts of important bearing on the case which came to our notice, no matter how adverse, would be welcomed.

Lest any inference from this discussion seem to reflect upon the owner of this material, it is just to say that Miss Minor has testified to her own good faith through a contract which ensures her return of real value only in case the book is accepted by the public as an important addition to the Lincoln story.

It should hardly be necessary to state that under no circumstances would we have begun the publication of the articles unless we had believed in the genuineness of the original documents. We have striven from the outset, not to prove a theory, but to reach the truth.

For the judgment of Mr. Oliver R. Barrett and Mr. Worthington C. Ford, who have expressed themselves on the subject with great definiteness, we have the regard which we owe to serious and responsible scholars. It is perhaps interesting to mention the attitude of Paul M. Angle, secretary of the Lincoln Centennial Association, who has been conspicuous among the critics of the Minor material. He is the author of a Special Bulletin published with great promptness by his society, which has been given wide publicity in the press. It seems pertinent to quote from a printed statement of Mr. Angle's, to which insufficient attention has been called:—

'I was going at it [the Minor material] in a leisurely way, intending simply to write the editor a letter. But Monday noon Alvin Barrett came in the office. He insisted that I give the story to the press. That's what I had wanted to do, knowing that it would be great advertising for me, and good publicity for the Lincoln Memorial Association. Mr. Hay [president of the Lincoln Memorial Association] had been against it, but Barrett converted him.
Monday afternoon I gave what I had to the local papers and the Associated Press. The local papers played it big, the Journal running it on the first page with a two-inch head. It went out of Springfield, but some Associated Press man in Chicago killed it, afraid of a libel suit. Nevertheless we did get it out East. A friend of Mr. Hay owns the Philadelphia Record. He called him and I wired 1200 words which the Record printed in a big story.
'Since then I've been fortifying and elaborating my proof. I worked Thanksgiving night until 2 A.M. The other papers, afraid at first, are now hot after the story. The New York Times is going to print it to-morrow; the Chicago Daily News and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch to-night. It's the biggest thing that ever happened to me. One doesn't get a chance very often to put the magazine of the country in the frying pan and cook it brown.'

It seems fair that Mr. Angle should have the advertising which means so much to him.

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