The following, from the Missouri Democrat, we believe, describes correctly the circumstances under which President Lincoln received the news of his nomination for President in 1860. We detect in the writer, a former attache of the editorial department of the Journal, who was well acquainted with the facts which he relates:
St. Louis, May 20, 1865:
Editors Missouri Democrat:
Your Springfield correspondent is in error in his statement regarding the way in which our late President received notice of his nomination in 1860. The matter is of small importance, but I think it may as well be stated correctly. Your correspondent says Mr. Lincoln was playing a game of base ball when the telegram notifying him of his nomination was placed in his hands. Permit me to correct him, and place the matter in the proper light.
-Illinois State Journal, June 8, 1865
Now modern scholarship on the subject does not exactly match up with this 1865 account, although the two do share some things in common. Most notably, both agree that it was a person employed by the Journal who gave the telegram to Lincoln. Also, they both agree that Lincoln was not playing base ball when it happened. The major distinction between the two is that modern scholarship supports the idea that the notification took place in Lincoln's law office while this account states that it took place in the offices of the Journal.
The important thing for our purposes is that the Lincoln notification myth, which had been in existence since 1860, was being debunked by 1865, at the latest. Also, since I went through all of this about five years ago at the old site, I thought I'd just rerun the series I did on the Lincoln baseball myth. So, over the next few days, we'll be talking about Abraham Lincoln.