David Herbert Donald

19 05 2009

DonaldScholar and author David Herbert Donald passed on Sunday at the age of 88.  He was the author of what is currently the best single volume biography of Abraham Lincoln as well as a massive two volume study of Charles Sumner and numerous other works of Civil War and American history.  I was a little surprised to see he had a home in Key West – I can’t imagine him juggling torches in Mallory Square, but who knows.

New York Times obit.

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8 responses

19 05 2009
R.I.P. David H. Donald | TOCWOC - A Civil War Blog

[…] to the comments for this post?Email this to a friend?I learned the sad news this morning through several fellow Civil War bloggers that David Herbert Donald, renowned Lincoln scholar, passed away on […]

19 05 2009
John Cummings

I was born in March of 1961, just as the Civil War Centennial was about to pick up steam. I was fortunate to be growing up in a house that brimmed with books, primarily those pertaining to American history. One of the volumes that set in motion my devotion to Civil War history was David Donald’s, “Divided We Fought”. Having such a finely produced collection of images and succinct text was one of the great fortunes of my childhood.

19 05 2009
Rea Andrew Redd

My favorite David Donald book: Liberty and Union. Donald’s Lincoln seemed to be more reactive than proactive. I am enjoying Ron White’s Lincoln quite a bit and would put Stephen Oates’ Lincoln among the top three biographies on Lincoln along side Allen Guelzo’s works and White’s books.

19 05 2009
Harry Smeltzer

I believe Lincoln was primarily reactive. It would take a lot to convince me otherwise.

20 05 2009
Theodore P. Savas

A great man from the old school has left us. His body of work will long survive him, of that I am confident.

May I recommend to you Larry Tagg’s just-released “The Unpopular Mr. Lincoln: The Story of America’s Most Reviled President” (June 1, 2009)? Larry just signed about 100 copies in our office. His is a very interesting and brilliantly written history of the president as seen by those who were his contemporaries. There is a good interview on our site (or will be shortly) at http://www.savasbeatie.com.

Stay well.


20 05 2009
Chris Evans

Thanks for posting. Donald really was one of the best Lincoln scholars. It was interesting to read that he was working on a book about John Quincy Adams and his post presidency career.

8 07 2009
Mark Douglass

I took a course on the Civil War from Professor Donald when I was an undergraduate at Harvard. He was a spellbinding lecturer, unlike so many of my other professors.

8 07 2009
Harry Smeltzer

Thanks for commenting, Mark. I’m flattered that someone who went to Harvard has read this blog. That makes a total of, hmm…let’s see…add the…carry the…yeah, that looks right…a total of one!

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