Wednesday, January 13, 2016

A Comparison: D'Aulaire's ABRAHAM LINCOLN 1939 and 2015

On December 1, 2015, Publisher's Weekly ran an article about Ingri and Edgar Parin d'Aulaire's Abraham Lincoln. For its 75th anniversary, it was reprinted with...
... minor modifications to the original art and text to reflect contemporary views about race politics and to reflect historical accuracy, citing two instances in the book, including one of a Native American cowering behind Lincoln, which they fixed to have him “standing erect.” 
That information was provided to Publisher's Weekly by Rea Berg of Beautiful Feet Books. In the "Note from the Publisher" in the back of the anniversary edition, Berg wrote:
"In this special edition we are pleased to present some minor modifications of the original art and text that more closely align to the spirit of Lincoln, the authors and their heirs, and this publishing house."
In addition to the changes to the Native content, significant changes have been made to the text and illustrations of African Americans. In my post, I am sharing the modifications to the Native content on one page (in an early post, I noted depictions of Native content on other pages, but those remain unchanged). As you'll see, I used a yellow highlighter to emphasize changes to the text. I begin with a photo of changes to the illustration on that one page. Later, I'll be back to analyze those changes. The pages in the books are not numbered.

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This page is about Lincoln being chosen to serve as Captain of the Illinois militia. The year (1832) isn't mentioned in the original or the revision, and neither is Black Hawk's nation (Sac and Fox). You can see that the "peaceful old Indian" is standing more upright in the image on the right than he was in the original (on the left). I don't understand what difference it makes to change his posture. Do you?




ORIGINAL (1939)
His tribe had sold the land to the "paleface," but Black Hawk said: "Man-ee-do, the great spirit, gave us the land, it couldn't be sold."
75th ANNIVERSARY EDITION (2015)
His tribe had sold the land to the settlers, but Black Hawk said, "Man-ee-do, the great spirit, gave us the land, it couldn't be sold."


ORIGINAL (1939)
"Sold is sold," said the people of Illinois, and went to war to chase the Indians out.
75th ANNIVERSARY EDITION (2015)
"Sold is sold," said the people of Illinois, and they prepared for war. 


ORIGINAL (1939)
But his soldiers had never taken orders from any man before, and Captain Abe Lincoln struggled hard to make them obey him. That was all the fighting he had. For Black Hawk and his warriors fled before the soldiers.
75th ANNIVERSARY EDITION (2015)
But his soldiers had never taken orders from any man before, and Captain Abe Lincoln worked hard to keep discipline in camp. Struggling with unruly soldiers and battling hungry mosquitoes was all the fighting he had. For almost as soon as it began, the war was over.


ORIGINAL (1939
One day a peaceful old Indian came walking into camp.
75th ANNIVERSARY EDITION (2015)
One day a peaceful old Indian with a safe-conduct pass, came walking into camp...


ORIGINAL (1939)
The soldiers were angry and wanted to kill him, but Abe said, "Anyone who touches him must fight me first." Because Abe was the strongest, they had to obey.
Soon after that, Black Hawk was taken prisoner, and the Indian War was over. 
75th ANNIVERSARY EDITION (2015)
...and the soldiers rushed to kill him. But Abe, glaring at his men said, "Anyone who touches him must fight me first." When some of the men called Lincoln a coward, he responded, "Then choose your weapons!" And the men skulked away in the face of Abe's courage.

1 comment:

K T Horning said...

There was a second edition of this book published in 1957 with completely re-drawn illustrations. Some of the text was changed in that, too. I can't tell from your earlier edition picture if you have the 1939 or 1957 edition.