For author Richard Lawrence Miller, it’s all Abe all the time

From The Telegraph (Macon, GA):

The weigela bushes outside the home of Richard Lawrence Miller sport purple blossoms. There’s a front porch with a glider, which sways now in a mild breeze.

But Miller, greeting a visitor, doesn’t linger here.

His mind is elsewhere – back in the late winter of 1850. In Springfield, Ill….

Miller’s second volume, “Lincoln and His World: Prairie Politician, 1834-1842,” documents Lincoln’s actions in local and state politics.

The excitement here, one Lincoln scholar says, is in reconciling the younger, ambitious Lincoln with the later Great Emancipator.

“Lincoln’s start in politics was not always a very edifying spectacle,” says Douglas Wilson, co-director of the Lincoln Studies Center at Knox College in Galesburg, Ill. “There was a lot of primitive character assassination, a lot of dirty tricks. They played the race card shamelessly.

“Lincoln was a part of all that.”

Miller has documented Lincoln’s actions, Wilson says, by reading the microfilm of newspapers published not only in Springfield, the state capital, where Lincoln moved in 1837, but across Illinois.

“He has dug out that which was always available, but the excavation of which was so tedious that most researchers didn’t consider it worthwhile, mining all of that low-grade ore,” Wilson says.

“But Miller has done it, and he has proved what Lincoln scholars keep saying but none of them really believe, and that is, ‘There is always something new to find.’ ”

Rodney Davis, the other Lincoln Studies Center co-director, has his own memory of that newspaper microfilm, having worked with it years ago.

“But what Miller has done has absolutely put my work to shame,” he says.