Renowned Lincoln Scholar Richard N. Current Dies at 100

Although hardly a surprise, the news is sad nonetheless. Richard N. Current, author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning study The Lincoln Nobody Knows, died October 26 at 100 — literally a centenarian who cast a giant shadow on Lincoln studies equal to (and often exceeding) that of the late, great David Herbert Donald. Both men dominated Lincoln studies for the sixty years, but Current always struck me as a man who turned the practice of debunking great Americans like Lincoln on its ear by asking the tough questions about the president’s inconsistencies, then concluding most of what we say about Lincoln’s love of liberty was true.  More than his age earned him the title of “the dean of Lincoln scholars” among professional historians. Current also researched the politics and influence of Daniel Webster, contributing to Daniel Webster, “The Completest Man,” one of the best assessments of  The Mighty Dan during the 20th Century. The Washington Post has this excellent obituary.  It is humbling to consider that most of the Lincoln scholars I read as a graduate student are now under the earth. RIP.

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2 Comments

Filed under Commentary, Scholarship and Historians

2 responses to “Renowned Lincoln Scholar Richard N. Current Dies at 100

  1. Marcia Ewing Current

    My thanks for your lovely tribute to my husband Richard Nelson Current.
    Many people like you have written about him, and I think he would be pleased to know that he is still remembered.

  2. paulrhuard

    Mrs. Current, I am deeply honored that you consider my brief comments a fitting tribute to your late husband. In my opinion, “The Lincoln Nobody Knows” remains the best assessment of Mr. Lincoln’s intricate political life and personal contradictions. Good scholarship should never be forgotten, particularly when it is so well-written and obviously timeless in its value. Thank you for visiting my blog. I wish you the very best.

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