WTF? Author Edits Lincoln

24 01 2011

I enjoy Thomas Lowry’s books.  I think of them as the People magazine of Civil War literature, and not in a bad way.  You can read the books in short bursts, putting them down for a while and returning to them later without losing the “flow” of single narrative works. But this is just too much – via the National Archives Facebook page I learn that Dr. Lowry has admitted to changing the date on a pardon issued by Abraham Lincoln in order to give it more importance than it would otherwise have (though I imagine to the subject of the pardon and his heirs, if any, the importance of said date is secondary).  Here’s the story from a National Archives press release, and here’s a video explaining what happened:

Sure enough, the document is in Basler, on page 298 of Vol. VII, with the correct date.  It’s been there since 1953.  Can this be any more blatant?  And how could it have been missed by NARA and Lincoln scholars for thirteen years?  While Dr. Lowry no doubt deserves the approbation sure to be heaped upon him, there are a lot of other folks who look foolish right about now.

This will of course call into question the accuracy – the honesty – of all Dr. Lowry’s work.

Update – denials from the doctor here.  Thanks to Kevin.