Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book


Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Guy C. Fraker  

Pen Name: None

Genre: History Non-Fiction

Audience: Adult;

Born: 1938 in St. Joseph, Missouri


-- Website -- http://www.lincolnsladder.com/
-- Guy C. Fraker on WorldCat -- http://www.worldcat.org/search?q=guy+c.+fraker


Illinois Connection

Fraker lives in Bloomington.

Biographical and Professional Information

Guy C. Fraker has written extensively and lectures frequently on the Eighth Circuit. He was the consultant on the award-winning PBS documentary, “Lincoln, Prelude to the Presidency,” and co-curated “Prologue to the Presidency: Abraham Lincoln on the Illinois Eighth Judicial Circuit,” a traveling exhibit also on permanent display at the David Davis Mansion, a state historic site in Bloomington. He served as an advisor to the National Lincoln Bicentennial Commission. A retired attorney in Bloomington, Illinois, Fraker is a graduate of the University of Illinois College of Law. He is also a past president of the McLean County Bar Association.


Published Works Expand for more information


Titles At Your Library

Lincoln's Ladder to the Presidency: The Eighth Judicial Circuit
ISBN: 0809332019

Southern Illinois University Press. 2012

Univeristy Press Books for Public and Secondary Schools 2013 edition
Superior Achievement by the Illinois State Historical Society, 2013

Throughout his twenty-three-year legal career, Abraham Lincoln spent nearly as much time on the road as an attorney for the Eighth Judicial Circuit as he did in his hometown of Springfield, Illinois. Yet most historians gloss over the time and instead have Lincoln emerge fully formed as a skillful politician in 1858. In this innovative volume, Guy C. Fraker provides the first-ever study of Lincoln’s professional and personal home away from home and demonstrates how the Eighth Judicial Circuit and its people propelled Lincoln to the presidency.

Each spring and fall, Lincoln traveled to as many as fourteen county seats in the Eighth Judicial Circuit to appear in consecutive court sessions over a ten- to twelve-week period. Fraker describes the people and counties that Lincoln encountered, discusses key cases Lincoln handled, and introduces the important friends he made, friends who eventually formed the team that executed Lincoln’s nomination strategy at the Chicago Republican Convention in 1860 and won him the presidential nomination.

As Fraker shows, the Eighth Judicial Circuit provided the perfect setting for the growth and ascension of Lincoln. A complete portrait of the sixteenth president depends on a full understanding of his experience on the circuit, and Lincoln’s Ladder to the Presidency provides that understanding as well as a fresh perspective on the much-studied figure, thus deepening our understanding of the roots of his political influence and acumen.

Looking for Lincoln in Illinois: A Guide to Lincoln's Eighth Judicial Circuit
ISBN: 0809336162

Southern Illinois University Press. 2017

Winner, ISHS Annual Award for a Scholarly Publication, 2018

For twenty-three years Abraham Lincoln practiced law on the Eighth Judicial Circuit in east central Illinois, and his legal career is explored in Looking for Lincoln in Illinois: A Guide to Lincoln’s Eighth Judicial Circuit. Guy C. Fraker directs readers and travelers through the prairies to the towns Lincoln visited regularly. Twice a year, spring and fall, Lincoln’s work took him on a journey covering more than four hundred miles. As his stature as a lawyer grew, east central Illinois grew in population and influence, and the Circuit provided Lincoln with clients, friends, and associates who became part of the network that ultimately elevated him to the presidency.

This guidebook to the Circuit features Illinois courthouses, Looking for Lincoln Wayside Exhibits, and other Lincoln points of interest. Fraker guides travelers down the long stretches of quiet country roads that gave Lincoln time to read and think to the locations where Lincoln’s broad range of cases expanded his sense of the economic and social forces changing America.


Speaking Engagements

Speaking Engagement Availability (Yes)