David Herbert Donald: Books, Lincoln Reconsidered, Biography, Summary


David Herbert Donald (October 1, 1920 – May 17, 2009) was an American historian, best known for his 1995 biography of Abraham Lincoln. His books: https://www.amazon.com/gp/search?ie=UTF8&tag=tra0c7-20&linkCode=ur2&linkId=9e671c3e1728547b902b73369cd818c6&camp=1789&creative=9325&index=books&keywords=David%20Herbert%20Donald

He twice won the Pulitzer Prize for Biography for earlier works; he published more than 30 books on United States political and literary figures and the history of the American South.

Majoring in history and sociology, Donald earned his bachelor's degree from Millsaps College in Jackson, Mississippi.[1] He earned his Ph.D. in 1946[1] under eminent Lincoln scholar James G. Randall at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Randall as a mentor influenced Donald's life and career. He encouraged his protégé to write his dissertation on Abraham Lincoln's law partner, William Herndon. Donald adapted and published the dissertation as his first book, Lincoln's Herndon (1948).[1][2]

After completing his doctorate, Donald taught at Columbia University, Johns Hopkins University and, from 1973, Harvard University. He also taught at Smith College, the University of North Wales, Princeton University, University College London and served as Harmsworth Professor of American History at Oxford University. At Johns Hopkins, Columbia, and Harvard he trained dozens of graduate students, including Jean H. Baker, William J. Cooper, Jr., Michael Holt, Irwin Unger, Ari Hoogenboom and Richard R. John.

Donald served as president of the Southern Historical Association. Donald also served on the editorial board for the Papers of Abraham Lincoln.

In his introduction, Carl Sandburg, the poet and Lincoln biographer, hailed Donald's first book as the answer to scholars' prayers: "When is someone going to do the life of Bill Herndon. Isn't it about time? Now the question is out."

David M. Potter, known as a Lincoln scholar, said Donald's biography of Charles Sumner portrayed, "Sumner as a man with acute psychological inadequacies" and exposed Sumner's "facade of pompous rectitude." Donald's evenhanded approach to Sumner, Potter concluded, was a model for biographers working with a difficult subject. "If it does not make Sumner attractive [the book] certainly makes him understandable."




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