Since the assassination of Abraham Lincoln in 1865, there has never been a decade where life and culture in the United States failed to feel and grasp the lasting influence of the country’s 16th president.

However, his chronicles and tale are not always filled with political achievements and emancipations but also unclear narratives sprinkled with revisionism and contention.

The legacy of Lincoln has continued to be revisited and shifted by many different groups of people throughout more than 156 years after the end of his presidency.

Conservatives and liberals, black and white, Southerners and Northerners, religious and secular, the elites and otherwise have all admired and despised something different about Lincoln.

Some argue his long-lasting reputation as one of America’s best presidents is primarily the result of his martyrdom and partly his leadership in preserving the Union during the Civil War.

There have been some 15,000 books written about Lincoln, and that’s not including history textbooks, so chances are you already quite a lot of the man.

In case you are looking for some more, here are ten things you might not know yet.

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10 /10 Beard For Presidential Run

Everyone remembers the Abraham Lincoln almost always sported a beard, thanks to an 11-year-old girl who suggested he grow whiskers for his presidential run.

Grace Bedell of Westfield, New York, wrote to the presidential candidate in October 1860. She said his face was so thin and that whiskers might help improve it.

Copy of the letter and Lincoln’s response is still kept safe now in the Library of Congress. In the letter, Bedell argued that all ladies liked whiskers and would tease their husbands to vote for him.

9 /10 Math Notebook

As a young boy, Lincoln made his math notebook. He grew up on farms in Kentucky and Indiana, with very little time for school. Despite receiving no continuous formal education, he had an appetite for studying.

He often borrowed books and learned the lessons himself. Back in the 1820s, he assembled a math notebook (known as cipher book or sum book) to study fundamental mathematical problems.

In one of the pages, he calculated how much a sum of $38.50 would gain in a year and a quarter, assuming that $100 earned in the same period $3.50 interest.

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8 /10 Not A Terrific Speller

To his private secretary, John Hay, Lincoln wrote “inaugeral” instead of the formal inaugural. Amusingly enough, it was not the only case where he made a similar mistake.

Lincoln routinely misspelled inaugural despite being President and giving inaugural addresses. Even great writers and speakers sometimes make spelling mistakes, so it was not surprising if a president does the same thing.

But then again, for a man who only had a total of only around nine months of formal education, the misspelling was a mere speck of nothing compared to all his achievements.

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7 /10 High-Pitched Voice

No one knows how exactly Abraham Lincoln sounded like. One would imagine his voice as deep baritone or bass simply because of his stature and the power of his written words.

No recording of Lincoln exists; he died 12 years before Thomas Edison came up with the phonograph. Testimonies from people who heard Lincoln speak suggested that his voice was often unpleasant, reedy, and high-pitched.

The voice sounded as if it almost lapsed into a whine, yet nonetheless resonant and capable of reaching massive outdoor crowds without electronic amplification.

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6 /10 Commuted To Work

During the summer, to escape the heat in downtown Washington and the political pressure, Lincoln resided seasonally at Soldiers’ Home (President Lincoln’s Cottage) near Brookland.

It is only about three miles away from the White House, and now you can cover the distance in a couple of minutes through city streets.

Back in Lincoln’s day, it was way out in the country. Of course, unlike what everyone does today, Lincoln commuted to and from work on horseback. Sometimes he rode alone, but his wife wasn’t too happy about it.

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5 /10 Papers In The Hat

Many images and photographs of Abraham Lincoln show him wearing a stovepipe hat.

For the President himself, the cap was more than just a fashion statement. According to his law partner William H. Herndon, the hat also was a receptacle.

Lincoln often stored papers in the hat, so in a way, it worked like a bag too. Each time he came across a plausible idea, he would write it down on a stray piece of paper or envelope then place it inside the lining of the hat.


4 /10 Easygoing Father

Herndon said that Lincoln was the most indulgent parent he had ever known. Lincoln’s sons Willie and Tad lived in the White House, where the father president restrained them in nothing.

He approved a lot of their antics, and they could do as much as they pleased.

According to Julia Taft Bayne, whose brothers played with Willie and Tad, the President enjoyed having the kids around, for they provided distractions from the war.

They keep his mind occupied in things other than the problematic presidency.

3 /10 A City As A Christmas Present

Union General William T. Sherman finally captured the city of Savannah on December 22, 1864, in his famous March to the Sea advance from Atlanta.

Before the capture, the city had been one of few essential ports that remained open to the Confederates.

The general alerted the President about the successful campaign and presented the city with 150 heavy guns and some 25,000 bales of cotton as a Christmas gift.

The President was thrilled about the news and immediately announced it to the nation.

National Museum of American History

2 /10 An Inventor With A Patent

Before Lincoln became the 16th president of the United States, he submitted to the Patent Office a floatation system design to prevent riverboats from getting stuck in sandbars.

He received a patent for it in 1849 while serving in Congress. Although the invention was never manufactured, it made Lincoln the only U.S. president to obtain a patent in his name.

The wooden model he submitted to the office is now kept safe at the National Museum of American History.

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1 /10 Not The Main Speaker At Gettysburg

The star at the dedication of the Soldiers’ National Cemetery in Gettysburg on November 19, 1863, was supposed to be Edward Everett, one of the most highly regarded orators at that time.

He was the main attraction of the occasion to get people to the venue. Abraham Lincoln was invited and spoke for about two minutes or so to give some appropriate remarks.

Everett delivered a two-hour speech, but far more people now remember Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address than they do Everett and his long oration.

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