Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book


Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  William Henry Herndon  

Pen Name: William H. Herndon

Genre: Non-Fiction

Audience: Adult;

Born: 1818, in Greensburg, Kentucky

Died: 1891 in Springfield, Illinois


Illinois Connection

Herndon's family moved to Illinois in 1820. By the spring of 1821 the family was living in Sangamon County. When William was five, the family settled in the German Prairie settlement located five miles northeast of Springfield.

Biographical and Professional Information

William Herndon was a law partner and biographer of President Abraham Lincoln. He was an early member of the new Republican Party and was elected mayor of Springfield, Illinois.


Published Works Expand for more information


Titles At Your Library

Herndon's Lincoln, Vol. 1: The True Story of a Great Life; The History and Personal Recollections of Abraham Lincoln (Classic Reprint)
ISBN: 1440073368

Forgotten Books. 2017

Excerpt from Herndon's Lincoln, Vol. 1: The True Story of a Great Life The History and Personal Recollections of Abraham Lincoln

A quarter of a century has well-nigh rolled by since the tragic death of Abraham Lincoln. The prejudice and bitterness with which he was assailed have disappeared from the minds of men, and the world is now beginning to view him as a great historical character. Those who knew and walked with him are gradually passing away, and ere long the last man who ever heard his voice or grasped his hand will have gone from earth. With a view to throwing a light on some attributes of Lincoln's character heretofore obscure, and thus contributing to the great fund of history which goes down to posterity, these volumes are given to the world.

If Mr. Lincoln is destined to fill that exalted station in history or attain that high rank in the estimation of the coming generations which has been predicted of him, it is alike just to his memory and the proper legacy of mankind that the whole truth concerning him should be known. If the story of his life is truthfully and courageously told-nothing colored or suppressed nothing false either written or suggested-the reader will see and feel the presence of the living man.

About the Publisher

Forgotten Books publishes hundreds of thousands of rare and classic books. Find more at www.forgottenbooks.com

Abraham Lincoln, Vol. 2 of 2: The True Story of a Great Life (Classic Reprint)
ISBN: 133054062X

Forgotten Books. 2016

Excerpt from Abraham Lincoln, Vol. 2 of 2: The True Story of a Great Life

A law office is a dull, dry place so far as pleasurable or interesting incidents are concerned. If one is in search of stories of fraud, deceit, cruelty, broken promises, blasted homes, there is no better place to learn them than a law office. But to the majority of persons these painful recitals are anything but attractive, and it is well perhaps that it should be so. In the office, as in the court room, Lincoln, when discussing any point, was never arbitrary or insinuating. He was deferential, cool, patient, and respectful. When he reached the office, about nine o'clock in the morning, the first thing he did was to pick up a newspaper, spread himself out on an old sofa, one leg on a chair, and read aloud, much to my discomfort. Singularly enough Lincoln never read any other way but aloud. This habit used to annoy me almost beyond the point of endurance. I once asked him why he did so. This was his explanation: "When I read aloud two senses catch the idea: first, I see what I read second, I hear it, and therefore I can remember it better." He never studied law books unless a case was on hand for consideration - never followed up the decisions of the supreme courts, as other lawyers did.

About the Publisher

Forgotten Books publishes hundreds of thousands of rare and classic books. Find more at www.forgottenbooks.com

Herndon's Lincoln: The True Story of a Great Life
ISBN: 1496165756

CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform. 2014

Abraham Lincoln (1809–1865) is one of the most famous Americans in history and one of the country’s most revered presidents. Schoolchildren can recite the life story of Lincoln, the “Westerner” who educated himself and became a self made man, rising from lawyer to leader of the new Republican Party before becoming the 16th President of the United States. Lincoln successfully navigated the Union through the Civil War but didn’t live to witness his crowning achievement, becoming the first president assassinated when he was shot at Ford’s Theater by John Wilkes Booth on April 14, 1865. In the generation after the Civil War, Lincoln became an American deity and one of the most written about men in history. With such a sterling reputation, even historians hesitate to write a critical word in Team of Rivals Doris Kearns Goodwin casts Lincoln as an almost superhuman puppet master in control of his Cabinet’s political machinations and the war’s direction, juggling the balancing act flawlessly. As a result, Lincoln the man is far less known than Lincoln the myth. William Herndon was Abraham Lincoln's former law partner, and his eponymous Herndon's Lincoln: The True Story of a Great Life is considered the finest and most thoroughly researched biography of Lincoln.


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