Civil War Talk Radio: May 29, 2009

Air Date: 052909
Subject: Looking at People Named After Abraham Lincoln & Questions of Citizenship
Books: Enemies of the Country: New Perspectives on Unionists in the Civil War South
Guest: Professor Robert Kenzer, University of Richmond

Summary: Professor Robert Kenzer discussed David Herbert Donald, naming patterns of those named Lincoln or Abraham Lincoln, and the interesting case of a British woman married to a Confederate soldier.

Brett’s Summary: Most of the first segment was a continuation of Gerry’s last show, which remembered Dr. David H. Donald.  Guest Robert Kenzer also studied under Dr. Donald, and he spoke about his memories of the great Lincoln scholar.

Bob Kenzer has been teaching a course on Abraham Lincoln at the University of Richmond for two years now.  His students can pick a week of Lincoln’s presidency and read all of the primary source material they can find for that particular week.  The goal is to put each week into its proper context.  Kenzer has found that his students in Civil War classes have very different views of the war depending on where they are from.  He next spoke about the tendency of people to name their children after Abraham Lincoln.  He found after searching in census databases in the United States and England that the first name or middle name Lincoln became much more common after the Civil War.  It was extremely uncommon in the antebellum years.  He traced these names up until 1930 and found some fascinating results.

The third segment looks at a British woman, Elizabeth Louis Harris, who married a man who became a Confederate soldier, David Bulloch Harris.  David Harris died of malaria in 1864.  Elizabeth Harris sued the Federal government after the war as a British citizen because Phil Sheridan’s army had burned some of her tobacco.  She lost the suit, which went on well after the war, but she persisted for the rest of her life in trying to get compensated for the destruction.  Kenzer finds this a fascinating topic because Mrs. Harris clearly did not believe she was a Confederate, and considered herself a British subject.  He says it raises a lot of interesting legal questions.

Civil War Talk Radio airs most Fridays at 12 PM Pacific on World Talk Radio Studio A. Host Gerry Prokopowicz, the History Chair at East Carolina University in Greenville, North Carolina, interviews a guest each week and discusses their interest in the Civil War. Most interviews center around a book or books if the guest is an author. Other guests over the years have included public historians such as park rangers and museum curators, wargamers, bloggers, and even a member of an American Civil War Round Table located in London, England.

In this series of blog entries, I will be posting air dates, subjects, and guests, and if I have time, I’ll provide a brief summary of the program. You can find all of the past episodes I’ve entered into the blog by clicking on the Civil War Talk Radio category. Each program should appear either on or near the date it was first broadcast.

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