|About the Book|
Constance Reep Unsworth was an editor and managing editor of the childrens newspaper Weekly Reader for over 30 years. Upon her fathers death, Unsworth found copies of her grandfather Thomas P. Reeps books about Abraham Lincolns life in New Salem,MoreConstance Reep Unsworth was an editor and managing editor of the childrens newspaper Weekly Reader for over 30 years. Upon her fathers death, Unsworth found copies of her grandfather Thomas P. Reeps books about Abraham Lincolns life in New Salem, Illinois, including Lincoln and New Salem from 1918. Realizing the importance of her grandfathers research, she has rewritten and edited Lincoln and New Salem for todays audiences and added an introduction about her grandfather, who was an important Lincoln scholar from 1890 until his death in 1960. The result is the new Lincoln book, Abe Lincoln and the Frontier Folk of New Salem, just published by history and military history publisher Southfarm Press. The village of New Salem, Illinois rose up out of the wilderness, tarried for a while, then disappeared. It was a small village, never housing very many people, and of little account socially and economically. It was like hundreds of other little frontier towns save for one thing: it may have been the most important influence on the character development of one of the greatest men the United States of America ever produced-Abraham Lincoln.Unsworths grandfather, Thomas P. Reep, 1870-1960, was about 20 years old when he began researching Abraham Lincolns life by interviewing people who had actually known Lincoln in the 1830s. Among those he interviewed was William G. Greene who had clerked at a New Salem country store with the future president. Reep, later a prominent attorney in Petersburg, Illinois, was active as a Lincoln historian for decades after he wrote and arranged for the private printing of Lincoln and New Salem in 1918, based on his original research. Many Lincoln historians, including Carl Sandburg, used Reeps research as a basis for their writings about Lincolns life in the 1830s.Abe Lincoln and the Frontier Folk of New Salem (2002) is the only book currently in print that shows photographs of the actual individuals who influenced Lincolns character in the 1830s.Reep was also interested in his familys connections with Lincolns time in New Salem. Both the Reep family and Unsworths grandmothers family, the Shipps, had ties to that period of Lincolns life. Parthena Jane Shipp, whose name was given to her by Lincoln, was Unsworths great grandmother.