Shryock Essay Medal Winners

Chapter 1


Andrew Shryock and Daniel Lord Smail

History is a curiously fragmented subject. In the conventional disciplinary structure of academia, the study of the human past is scattered across a number of fields, notably history and anthropology but also folklore, museum studies, philology, and area-studies programs. Together, these fields constitute a dense layer cake of time. The bottom layer, by far the thickest, is grounded in deep time. The deep time of a discipline is not a specific date range or era: it is simply the earliest period to which the discipline pays attention. Among archaeologists and human evolutionary biologists, deep time is represented by the paleoanthropology of the simple societies of the Paleolithic, from the earliest known stone tools (dated to 2.6 Ma) to the very recent past. Among historians, an analogous distinction is made between the study of the ancient and the medieval world. Though the two sets of eras are dramatically offset in absolute time, each provides the bedrock that supports disciplinary narratives. The middle layers of the cake are given over to the archaeology of complex societies and, among historians, to the study of "early modern" societies. On the very top is a veneer of modern frosting. Seldom more than a few centuries deep, this upper layer is what attracts the interest of most fields of contemporary historical research and almost all fields of cultural anthropology.

The entire span of time may come together in teaching: in the grand sweep of general anthropology, say, or in survey courses of world history. In their own research, however, most scholars limit their work to a single chronological layer and feel ill-equipped to move beyond this layer. In the great age of historico-anthropological writing of the nineteenth century, authors like Auguste Comte, Karl Marx, Herbert Spencer, Lewis Henry Morgan, and Edward Tylor ranged across vast reaches of human history, producing conjectural arguments characterized by spectacular vision and very little in the way of hard evidence. Today, the pattern is reversed. As methods of analysis improve and knowledge of the recent and deep past rapidly accumulates, the division of intellectual labor has become exceedingly precise. Conjecture and grand vision have given way to hyperspecialization, an intensified focus on ever-smaller units of time and space, and a pervasive reluctance to build analytical frames that can articulate deep history and the recent past.

A century ago, modern historiography was built on the scaffolding of progress, a story line rooted in the rise of civilization and the break with nature that supposedly took place some five thousand to six thousand years ago. This narrative enshrined a triumphalist account of human achievement. In the words of an observer from the 1920s, history describes "the processes by which the chaotic chatter of anthropoid apes has been organized in the wonderful fabric of human speech." It offers a panoramic vision of man "in every stage of his long climb up from his feeble and brutish beginnings."1 The imagination of the age was suffused with sentiments that today seem almost unbearably trite. Cringing at such naivetÈ, we congratulate ourselves on having purged our anthropologies and histories of this exuberant evolutionism. But the congratulations are premature. The belief in human exceptionalism that drove earlier models of history still shapes narratives of progress, which are now told using the vocabulary of political modernization, economic development, and cultural emancipation from past prejudices. When telling these tales, we sometimes reverse the moral charges of the narrative of progress. We celebrate the merits of the simple and traditional and note the obvious dangers in the modern and complex. This stopgap solution does not eliminate the underlying problem. It leaves in place the idea that human evolution (or the emergence of culture, or the growth of historical consciousness) entails, for good or ill, an ever-increasing mastery of culture over nature, of cultivation over mere subsistence, of civilization over mere habitation. Seeing the humanity of others means recognizing their historical movement toward various forms of mastery, even if the movement is modest and still in its formative stages.

In the wake of the Darwinian revolution, the problem of human origins was transformed from a matter of speculative philosophy into a scientific research program. This transition, which required a radical reassessment of the older, biblical cosmology, was initially made intelligible by linking it to ideas of progress that proliferated during the Enlightenment. Over the course of the twentieth century, which witnessed two world wars and the collapse of the European colonial order, historians and anthropologists grew increasingly skeptical of Enlightenment ideas, and Victorian-style social evolutionism was rejected as a justification for racism, class privilege, and global imperialism. In cleansing historical and cultural analysis of their nineteenth-century ideological baggage, most of the high modern (and postmodern) versions of cultural anthropology and history turned their backs on the deep human past, leaving problems of evolution to the archaeologists, paleontologists, and historical linguists.

The frame of history does not belong to the discipline of history alone. It is shared by all the social sciences and humanities. For this reason, the dramatic foreshortening of time has consequences that are felt across the academy. Whole stretches of the layer cake of human history no longer count as history per se. We configure them instead as biology, prehistory, or natural history. Moreover, the problem of human exceptionalism, which is still firmly rooted in the idea of human mastery over nature, has not been successfully questioned on either side of this divide. Evolution, understood as a tale of progress, has had an oddly divisive effect. It has blocked the last 6,000 years to analytical approaches based on natural selection, which supposedly deny the uniqueness of human cultures. It has blocked the preceding 6 million years to approaches based on contemporary historiographical methods, which supposedly cannot by applied to worlds that are not fully cultural, or not part of literate civilization.

The goal of this book is to remove the barriers that isolate deep histories from temporally shallow ones. These barriers have a complex history of their own, but they need not dominate future studies of the human past. Moving them aside solves multiple intellectual and political problems, and this renovation project is not as difficult as it might at first seem. The necessary analytical tools already exist. Some, like genetic mapping and radiocarbon dating, are recent innovations; others, like genealogies, bodily analogies, and predictive modeling, are older than written history itself. The gap between deep and shallow history, we believe, can easily be bridged; indeed, great efforts must be exerted simply to keep the gap in place. What motivates these efforts? How did they develop? And why do so many scholars think it is important to keep prehistory in its place?

Time's Straitjacket

The fragmentation of historical time is not inherent to the study of the past. It was produced by highly contingent historical trends that were triggered and amplified by the time revolution of the 1860s, when the short chronology, which envisioned a world roughly 6,000 years old, was abandoned as a geological truth, and human history began to stretch back into a limitless time before Eden.2 Before the 1860s, the human and the natural sciences had constituted a single field of inquiry. This field was framed by religious tradition and organized in accord with the universalizing framework of the Book of Genesis, in which history and geology are coeval. Knowledge production in all the societies of the Jewish, Christian and Muslim worlds was contained within this totalizing model of creation.

Following the time revolution in Europe, however, this unified vision of human history fell apart. The chronology of the past fractured at precisely the point where human prehistory was being grafted onto ancient and modern history, which now seemed chronologically recent. By all appearances, a history long beholden to scriptural understandings of time was incapable of absorbing the fact of deep time. It is not difficult to find nineteenth-century historians who circled the wagons around the short chronology and declared the new, bottomless time to be anathema. Because respected scientists such as Georges Cuvier and Louis Agassiz refused to accept the new timeline, it is hardly surprising that many rank-and-file historians also proved skeptical-or, in some cases, openly resistant.3 But reaction to the time revolution was generally more complex. A short chronology is not, in fact, intrinsic to the cosmology of the religions of the Near East. The authors of Genesis measured time as a succession of life spans and genealogies; the New Testament and Qur'an are devoid of what we would now call calendar dates. The short chronology was in fact an artifice retroactively imposed upon scriptural traditions. This retroactive dating occurred as generations of Jewish, Christian, and Muslim chroniclers struggled to bring sacred texts into alignment with the solar and lunar calendars they had created to keep track of ritual obligations and to record the movement of creation through time. Ironically, it was the careful work of premodern and early modern historians, not the teachings of the prophets, that gave Abrahamic chronology its brittle precision, a level of detail that could date the first day of creation to the eve of Sunday, October 23, 4004 BC. This brittleness would cause it to snap when placed under stress by the intellectual trauma of the time revolution.

In a larger sense, however, the demise of the short chronology made no difference to practicing historians. In the decades following the Darwinian turn, there were historians who looked with curiosity at the strange new terrain on the other side of Eden, and, later, historical visionaries who advocated for a reunion of deep time with history.4 Yet the gap grew so wide that it became nearly unbridgeable. Lacking written texts, practitioners in the emergent fields of archaeology and paleoanthropology had to develop new methods of inquiry designed to tease meaning out of scattered evidence and refractory sources. The new discipline of history, in turn, adhered to the very chronology that historians had fashioned for themselves in their vain attempts to apply a chronology to the Bible. As later chapters show, the questions that historians of the nineteenth century asked about the origins of human languages, races, agriculture, cities, and nations were often defined in specific relation to the Book of Genesis. This is hardly surprising. The European scholars best suited to become academic historians when the discipline arose in the nineteenth century were heavily invested in intellectual traditions anchored in a biblical worldview, to which a long pedagogical tradition had added Greek and Roman learning. It is hard to imagine the works of such luminaries as Leopold von Ranke or Jacob Burckhardt outside this milieu.

Yet neither inertia nor the prestige of older intellectual traditions can explain how time got bound up in the straitjacket created by disciplinary history at the beginning of the twentieth century. The decision to truncate history was a deliberate intellectual and epistemological move, bound up with the fate of the discipline itself. By the late nineteenth century, the proud new discipline of history was shouldering its way into the academy; and to justify its presence, the field adopted as its signature methodology the analysis of written documents. "No documents, no history," as Charles Langlois and Charles Seignobos declared in their 1898 manual of historical study, probably the most important of its kind.5 The methodology they advocated sought to assess human intentions as revealed in textual evidence. Their peers used the manual to train students in the art of ferreting out the truth that lies behind the creative omissions and downright fabrications intrinsic to historical documentation. Humanity's deeper history had no documents of this kind. This critical absence of data made a deep history of humanity methodologically unthinkable.

Oddly enough, this epistemological package was also gradually accepted by cultural anthropologists, whose chronologies tend to contract whenever they attempt to historicize their discipline. The classic instance is Europe and the People without History, in which Eric Wolf tried to pry anthropology out of the ethnographic present in which he believed it was hopelessly stuck.6 To bring "the people without history" into the domain of proper history, Wolf portrayed European expansion as a global interaction of human populations organized by kin-ordered, tributary, and capitalist modes of production. Wolf was not especially interested in how the kin-ordered and tributary modes had emerged in deep time; instead, he wanted to know how these modes of production were taken into a world system dominated by capitalism. As a result, although Wolf's historical analysis is based on social forms that developed sequentially over tens of thousands of years, it is limited to roughly the last five centuries. The evidence he used to historicize the world's ahistorical peoples would satisfy the criteria devised by Langlois and Seignobos, and Wolf was unapologetic about the resulting Eurocentrism of his project. What one learns from "the study of ethnohistory," he noted, "is ... the more ethnohistory we know, the more 'their' history and 'our' history emerge as part of the same history."7

Wolf's intent was not to cut ethnography off from its deep historical roots but rather to open it up spatially. Yet his eager embrace of a history based on textual evidence led immediately to temporal foreshortening, and his five-hundred-year frame is in fact vast when compared to the studies his work inspired. It is now virtually axiomatic that any anthropological approach advertising itself as "historical" will focus on the recent past. Its subject matter will be modern or postmodern, colonial or postcolonial. Rarely is this focus perceived as narrow. It is seen as vital, and engagement with events and societies located before European expansion, before textual evidence, is often considered politically irrelevant unless such events and societies can be interpreted-and some poststructural theorists would argue that they can only be interpreted-through intellectual lenses crafted during the great shift to colonial and postcolonial modernity. Otherwise they are best left to classicists, medievalists, and Orientalists. If the past in question predates the emergence of literate state societies, it falls under the jurisdiction of archaeologists and biological anthropologists, whose methods of inquiry are scientific, not historical. This pattern is visible across the academy, and attempts to disturb it quickly generate resistance on all sides.

Man against Nature

Why does disciplinary history, as a set of methods and motivations, so predictably conform to this epistemological grid? The blame lies with a commitment to human exceptionalism, a sensibility that survived the Darwinian revolution largely intact. As creation gave way to nature, the assumption that humans are part of nature, and that human systems are natural systems, slowly took hold in the biological and behavioral sciences. Among historians and cultural anthropologists, however, the equation of cultural systems with natural ones has never been easy, nor has it been easily historicized. Both difficulties, we believe, are related to the lingering power of the metaphors that dominated history writing in the nineteenth century. The human story, in this worldview, is centered on the conquest of nature and the birth of political society. A passage from one of the works of the great French historian and archivist Jules Michelet (d. 1874) captures the logic perfectly: "When the world was born there began a war that will last until the world's end, and this is the war of man against nature, of the spirit against the flesh, of liberty against determinism. History is nothing but the story of this endless conflict."8

The claim made here was hardly new. The Judeo-Christian tradition has long celebrated human stewardship over nature. What gives Michelet's remark special poignancy is the fact that, even in his own day, there was a growing awareness that geological time was far older than human time and that human time itself might be deeper than hitherto imagined. A quarter of a century later, human time was known to be long indeed, and by the last quarter of the nineteenth century, the history of humanity threatened to merge insensibly with natural history. In this changing context of time, the need to mark the break between animal and human took on special urgency. Michelet, whose opinions on this matter reflected those of his day, had already divined the solution to the conundrum. Animals live in harmony with nature. Humans, by contrast, are at war with nature. In the pious bromides of early-twentieth-century science writing, evident in a 1912 work immodestly called The Conquest of Nature, "barbaric man is called a child of Nature with full reason. He must accept what Nature offers. But civilized man is the child grown to adult stature, and able in a manner to control, to dominate-if you please to conquer-the parent."9 In this act of emancipation, in this shift from passivity to agency, history itself was created.

The conquest of nature, in turn, was tightly linked to the origins of political society. In the social thought of the eighteenth century, the natural unit had been the family-or, for some, the solitary individual. Everything humans had built on top of this natural substrate, and especially the newly insistent nation-states of nineteenth-century Europe, could be treated as historical artifices and therefore beyond nature. The history that came into being, and loudly proclaimed its own objectivity, was in many ways an apology for nationalism.10 The new history was for the nation-states of late nineteenth-century Europe what the Torah was for the kingdom of David: a genealogy (fictitious or otherwise) designed to anchor the imagined community in the past, give it legitimacy, and lend weight to its grievances and aspirations. It is thanks to the nation-building enterprise, in fact, that we have medieval European history, for few nations (with tragic and bloody exceptions, including Napoleonic France and Hitler's Germany) sought to identify explicitly with the empires or city-states of antiquity. If the task of history was to provide the ontogeny of a single nation, that is to say a description of how the nation was born and came, through many travails, to adulthood, there was little use for Greece or Rome-outside Greece and Italy, of course-except in the lingering sense that classical antiquity belonged to a privileged Western heritage that justified the superiority of Occidental empires. Even less use was there for the periods and social forms that predated the ancient world, except to provide a holding tank for all that was not civilized or part of the modern story-what Michel-Rolf Trouillot calls "the savage slot," a time and space set aside for the world's backward and non-Occidental peoples.11 As subsequent chapters show, this worldview was heavily influenced by the ideas of Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, a philosopher of history who, like his near-contemporary, Michelet, saw the human story as one of hard-won progress, as a steady movement out of a state of nature into political agency and awareness.

In the twentieth century, disciplinary history began to roam well beyond the limits of the nation-state. Historians took up the history of ideas, civilizations, and economics. In addition, disciplinary history began to tackle subjects rigorously excluded from the history of nations: family, women, peasants, workers, and eventually the non-West, nonwhites, the alternatively sexual, and the differently abled. Yet history written in the Hegelian mode has had the last laugh. The history of the disempowered could have proceeded by denying agency to white male Western heteronormative political actors, the God-substitutes excised from history by Charles Darwin. But it did not. Instead, the new history has proceeded by attributing agency to subalterns located in every branch of the human family. The universal attribution of agency has become a recipe for historical research, as scholars, trapped in Hegelian logic, create new subjects by incorporating ever more voices.

Politically, the consequences of this trend have been enabling. Where the straitjacketing of time is concerned, however, the consequences have been otherwise. In the hopes of granting speech and agency to those on the receiving end of European history, we have transformed the world's subalterns into characters of a suspiciously uniform type. The very people whose inclusion was meant to be a triumph of diversity have been homogenized by theory. The accelerating pace of agency attribution, moreover, has led many into the mistaken belief that agency itself is a creation of modernity. Hegel had attributed agency to progressive males all the way back to the origins of the state. This was the whole point of his formulation: to replace divine providence and the guiding hand of God with the far-seeing vision of wise leaders. Hegel, in other words, never escaped the instincts of sacred history; he just knocked the agent in chief down a peg. But here is the rub: the extension of agency to modern subalterns is meaningless if modernity itself was created by the powerful men of the past. To evade this paradox, one could deny Hegel's bias and extend agency to all past actors. But what if this gesture is practically impossible? What can one do if the vast majority of premodern historical sources were generated by the very men whose thoughts and deeds they typically celebrate? Given this paradox-a paradox that historians generated for themselves by adopting for their discipline a textual methodology-it is enormously tempting to pretend that the remote past belongs to nature, to a cultural reality that cannot be fully historicized, and thereafter to ignore it.

As a result of this bind, the great questions that used to cut through the layer cake of time are not being asked. Instead, historians and cultural anthropologists turn their attention to the world around them, treating it as a secular creation even newer, empirically, than the sacred world of Genesis. In recent decades, the short chronology of disciplinary history has continued to shrink. As measured by professorships, course offerings, dissertation topics, and publications, the weight of knowledge production in cultural anthropology and history is now solidly centered in the centuries after 1750, as it is in the other human sciences.12 One measure of the erosion of historical time can be found in the tendency among historians to add metaphors of birth, origins, or roots to book titles and arguments. Use of this metaphorical complex has accelerated in the last two decades. If we could track the average birth date proposed in this burgeoning array of titles, it would in all likelihood be moving closer and closer to the present day.

The Grounds for Making a Deep History

The prospects for a reunion of the short and long chronologies within the human sciences seem rather grim, and it would be simple enough to frame this volume as a nostalgic story of loss and what might have been. Yet now, 150 years after the time revolution, the elements and frames necessary for writing a deep history of humankind may finally be falling into place. The field of big history, led by David Christian and Fred Spier, has already shown how the wholeness of time can be woven into a compelling historical narrative.13 Thanks in part to the biological turn, scholars in all fields are now feeling the pull of humanity's deep past. They fret about chronological constraints and issue calls for "evolutionary politics," "evolutionary economics," or evolutionary studies of the law.14 These approaches hold promise; however, many of them have adopted a form of analysis centered on the postulate of an evolved human psychology that shapes behavior in the present day. The logic deployed is distinctly reminiscent of the logic of the orthodox, Augustinian version of Christian theology, which also proposes the existence of an abiding human psychological condition that has profound latter-day effects: original sin. Though the neo-Augustinian trajectory of evolutionary psychology evokes the past, it does not provide a history. The two are very different things. When the past is simply a repository of the "natural," it is not a historical past: it is instead a mythical or cosmological past, providing yet another mirror in which humanity can search for its own reflection. Such an understanding of the past has no room for contingency, no room for change, no way to understand the path-dependent nature of variation within systems.

It is difficult, though, to blame the purveyors of these models. Providing the missing history is the job of anthropologists and historians, not psychologists or behavioral social scientists. The chapters in this volume are designed to supply the historical frames that are, for now, absent in the new evolutionary approaches. Despite the apparent hegemony of Darwinian evolution among the educated classes, a great deal of unfinished business remains. The soft social sciences and the humanities have never really come to terms intellectually with human evolution. Early attempts to bring Darwinian models into social thought produced Victorian disasters. But the accumulation of knowledge about the human past has become so impressive that a rapprochement is needed. The natural-selection paradigm has enabled us to generate highly nuanced understandings not only of how the hominin lineage has evolved but also of how human social forms and cultural capacities have developed over long stretches of time. Many of the analytical techniques employed by archaeologists, evolutionary ecologists, and paleoanthropologists can in fact be applied to ancient and contemporary societies alike. In the anthropological sciences since the nineteenth century, the study of kinship and language has linked the short and long chronologies, and new fields, such as genomics, now allow analysts to move across great distances in time and space, following lines of genetic transmission that link living humans to ancestral populations. Absolute and relative dating techniques that first emerged in the 1950s have become increasingly precise and reliable, as have the transregional chronologies and models of long-term trends (from the development of toolkits to the transcontinental migrations of early humans) that have been worked out using these dating techniques. In short, the means to reconnect short and long histories have been in place for many years.

Meanwhile, historians have gradually abandoned the idea that the only thing to do with written sources is to sift through them in search of the motives and intentions of their authors. The skills necessary for data mining (and for reading between the lines) are now routinely taught. That unabashedly fictional sources can count as legitimate historical data is widely accepted as self-evident; few historians today find it necessary to defend the notion that literary texts serve as repositories of social logics.15 Histories can be written from every type of trace, from the memoir to the bone fragment and the blood type. Moreover, the ongoing merger of history and social science has produced an intellectual world in which most scholars realize that intentions are social products, and the grounds for their production are largely beyond the control of individuals and their desires. In this realization, the methodological distinctions that once separated history from anthropology and archaeology all but disappear.

Yet translation problems remain. Scholars who study the deep past-let us call them paleohistorians for convenience-face numerous challenges when presenting their work to scholars who focus on more recent periods. These challenges include the unhelpful assumption that the deep past is best understood in relation to a fixed human nature or universal behavioral tendencies (such as "economizing," "rational choice," or "kin selection"). Also troublesome is the belief that certain cultural forms, such as "ethnicity," are quintessentially modern and that similar processes of group identification are not found in the past. Paleohistorians do daily battle with the assumption that human prehistory is marked by long periods of behavioral fixity and cultural stasis, not variety and change. In addition to these problems of misunderstanding, paleohistorians contend with difficulties inherent to their own practice. The amount of material stuff available for analysis decreases dramatically as they move back in time, a trend that generates both recognition and bafflement. Often, it is not clear what ancient human artifacts signify. Is the design scratched into a piece of bone "symbolic"? Of what? Might it be a product of boredom? Might the symbol be apparent to us, but perhaps not to the maker of this ancient object?

Also, paleohistorians must be alert to powerful notions of progress and primitivism that color their work and determine how their findings are received and put to use in wider intellectual circles. The idea that the deep human past is best treated as a variant of biological science or natural history, and that evolution describes a strictly biological process rather than a social or cultural one, is another problem that arises in the field. Yet even developments as basic as bipedalism, hairless bodies, or concealed ovulation are implicated in complex assumptions about social life. Finally, paleohistory needs narrative and reconstructive storytelling. However much we may complain about the coercive, streamlining qualities of historical narratives, they do convey information in vivid and compelling ways. Paleohistory attracts the talents of numerous science writers: this fact reflects both the mass appeal of the field and its inaccessibility and overspecialization. A judicious use of narrative is needed to bring paleohistorians into dialogue with social science and humanities scholars.

The histories we present in this volume are meant to resolve some of these translation problems. They draw on the resources of all fields of history and anthropology to present a broad-spectrum history of hominins-that is, of humans and their immediate ancestors. For reasons of convenience, this history begins about 2.6 million years ago, when our hominin ancestors began to use tools that would later enter the archaeological record; but we also situate human bodies and social forms in the larger context of primate evolution, using genetic, bone, and behavioral evidence to extend our analytical reach back 6 to 8 million years, when our ancestors diverged from the ancestors of modern-day chimps and bonobos. Despite its immense time depth, the ensuing history is surprisingly similar, in substance, form, and trajectory, to the histories framed by the short chronology, with these exceptions: first, earlier periods feel stretched out by comparison to later ones, and the study of deep history emphasizes trends and processes more than events and persons. Second, the historical processes with which we engage, often enough, are not strictly calendrical: they have a logic that transcends the time and place of concrete example. Third, the arguments presented here, although evidentiary, are seldom dependent on what historians have typically considered evidence-namely, written texts. A deep history of this kind is thick with culture and epigenesis, even as it acknowledges the crucial role of biology, which is consistently woven into our accounts of human change over time. The result is an engagement with the human past that, instead of reinstating the old Hegelian distinction between natural and cultural existence, overturns the static imagery deployed in the nineteenth and twentieth century to deny historicity to the deep past.

Patterns and Frames

If this volume can lay claim to innovation, it will lie not in matters of theory or method but in the realm of imagination. What we intend to provoke in the chapters that follow is a shift in sensibilities, and our principal tool is the reframing of intellectual practices that have been prematurely sorted into separate boxes. These practices can be thoroughly reconfigured, even unified, when they are situated within much larger spatial and temporal frameworks. The novelty at stake is best expressed as one of scale, of the level at which a story can be imagined and then told using methods and assumptions already available to scholars who study the movement of humans through deep and shallow time. To create this more broadly encompassing field of analysis, we have constructed our own master narrative. It unfolds in four parts, each of which addresses, from different angles, the patterns and frames of a deep history.

The first, called "Problems and Orientations," includes the arguments developed in this introduction, which stress the importance of deep history as an intellectual project, showing how the short and long chronologies of the human past came apart and have been kept apart by disciplinary practice. After explaining the time revolution of the nineteenth century, we suggest that historians have not yet adjusted their thinking to the reality of a deep past, and we consider the effects, desirable and problematic, of making such an adjustment now. In chapter 2, "Imagining the Human in Deep Time," we attempt to reconceive the human condition as a hominin one-that is, one that includes all the species in the genus Homo that are ancestrally as well as collaterally related to Homo sapiens. The logic that makes Neanderthals and other early hominins visible to a deep history is the same logic that has made subalterns everywhere visible to modern historical praxis. We ask what new methods and intellectual habits must be developed to deal with the immense variations in time and space that form the backdrop of hominin, as opposed to strictly human, history. We develop several orientations and base metaphors that resurface throughout the book: kinshipping, exchange, extension, hospitality, and genealogy. These concepts have always been historical in orientation and application; they can be used to create links to the past and, quite literally, to travel through time.

In the second part of our story, "Frames for History in Deep Time," we explore three frameworks in which new and old intellectual problems can be examined. Specifically, we show how humans use bodies, environments, and languages to situate themselves in deep and shallow time. Each frame consists of social technologies that facilitate human inhabitation of and movement through space. In chapter 3, "Body," we suggest that the human form is both an objective and subjective system, a historical trace and an ongoing historical project. The body connects us viscerally to the past; it is a living medium of ancestry and relatedness. In response to the suggestion that the ancient hominin body is a natural body, unlike the culturally constructed body of modernity-a suggestion that mirrors the narrative arc of creationism-we propose two alternative claims. First, throughout its existence, the hominin body has been shaped by tools, social relations, and other elements of something we typically call "culture." Second, the epigenetic forces characteristic of the modern world sculpt the body in unintended ways. Our phenotypes, thanks to their plasticity, are continuously molded by the environments we inhabit, even if that molding is not always expressed in the genome.

In chapter 4, "Energy and Ecosystems," we pursue the idea that ecosystems shape and constrain our histories, and that human intentions cannot fully explain, and often obscure, this process. The lines we customarily draw between natural and cultural systems prevent us from understanding how these spheres constitute each other. Although we have no interest in disputing the human impact on the environment that is so profound a feature of modernity, we do contest two closely related assumptions: first, that these ecosystemic effects are unique to humanity, reflecting its mastery over nature; and second, that significant effects emerged only in recent centuries. Reframing the terms of discussion, we show how major trends in ecosystemic change are influenced by coevolutionary spirals-feedback loops and conjoined patterns of cause and effect-that can be traced deep into the Paleolithic. We return to the spiral in later chapters (notably chapter 9), employing it as a key narrative device for the writing of deep histories.

In chapter 5, "Language," we show how the discovery of genealogical relationships between human languages, past and present, has played a central role in scientific and humanistic attempts to explain deep history in the modern era. The image of the tree was central to nineteenth-century philology, and it is endlessly recycled in genetic and historical linguistic research today. Alongside this powerful frame, we explore the metaphor of the web or net. Webs direct our attention to exchange, a process crucial to the development of human languages and to recent attempts to simulate the origins of language. Because language, the body, and ecosystems are intellectual frameworks still capable of producing and organizing vast amounts of research, the three essays in this section establish the utility of deep-time perspectives for contemporary work across the human sciences.

In our third set of essays, "Shared Substance," we explore topics that have long been treated as necessary to human survival: food and kinship. These topics are of special interest to us because, as cultural systems, they create bodies, ecosystems, and languages over time. They have also left material traces-indeed, some of the oldest available to us, namely genes and isotopic data-that enable us to reconstruct events that occurred in the remote past. In chapter 6, "Food," and chapter 7, "Deep Kinship," we show how ancient forms of shared substance, and habits of sharing generally, are in fact highly adaptable processes that reveal striking transformations in what can be understood as human. Because we share our interests in eating and relating with our primate cousins, the essays in this section allow us to situate human histories within larger taxonomic contexts. We demonstrate how humans have used food and kinship to create worlds that, by comparison with other primate standards, are highly dependent on an awareness of past and present. As social projects, these shared substances are media of "kinshipping," a tactic for moving through time and space that requires networks of relationship and exchange. We argue that because kinshipping allows us to communicate across distances and to reconnect after absences, it is one of our most basic tools for making history.

In our final set of essays, "Human Expansion," we deal with a complex array of problems created and solved by the rapid spread of humans into multiple physical and social environments. In chapter 8, "Migration," we chart the most literal of expansions: the movement of hominins around the globe. This process was enabled by the cultural toolkits hominins developed in response to their own mobility in and beyond Africa. Movement and innovation were interrelated. The settling of Asia, Australia, Europe, and the Americas brought the extension of social networks, changes in foodways, and adaptation to new ecosystems. These changes played out differently in different eras of hominin evolution. Among modern human populations, who colonized the Earth in less than fifty thousand years, the effects of movement varied greatly depending on whether the new terrain was empty of other humans, whether related hominin species or other humans had to be displaced, and whether human populations were dislocated, subordinated, or reconnected within expanding social systems marked by political and economic inequality. Exploring how alternative modes of dispersal, displacement, and diaspora have affected human movement across deep time, we also show the remarkable extent to which mobility has shaped the frameworks in which deep history can be imagined.

In chapter 9, "Goods," we study the expanding array of material objects used to connect distant populations and build complex interactive networks. Goods are made and circulated in human economies, but the goods themselves reshape their makers, triggering feedback patterns that resemble coevolutionary spirals. These spirals contain histories precisely because their effects on the human body, languages, and ecosystems leave multiple traces. Connecting these traces and arranging them in narratives is crucial to the work of deep history. Finally, in chapter 10, "Scale," we consider the scalar leaps that have punctuated human history, including rapid population growth and the growing size and intricacy of human social formations. Like the other chapters, "Scale" is highly integrative. Showing how deep historical analysis can effectively bridge short and long chronologies, we redirect our key arguments to the task of dissecting one of the dominant metanarratives of the modern age: the belief that human development is progressive, cumulative, and directional and leads inevitably to social hierarchy and larger political institutions. This narrative of increase is itself a product of the historical trends analyzed throughout the volume, and we conclude by subjecting it to a rigorous critique-not a rejection, but a recontextualization-based on insights that arise when critique is undertaken at levels of significance and at scales that only deep historical frameworks make possible.

Metaphors for Deep History

This interpretive journey entails broad syntheses of major trends in the natural and human sciences. We do not, however, intend these essays to be encyclopedic. Although our team of writers includes three historians, two cultural anthropologists, a linguist, a primatologist, a geneticist, and three archaeologists, we realize that the areas of scholarship we cover in this book are vast and constantly expanding. We cannot produce full coverage; we can only inspire curiosity. We also understand that the subjects we have chosen for scrutiny are not the only or even the best domains for illustrating the promise of a deep historical perspective. Much more could be said about climate, music and art, religion, law and violence, technology, and sex. This volume does not exhaust the possibilities: it offers some and hopes to suggest more.

The principal goal of this book, then, is not to achieve encyclopedism but to propose a new array of base metaphors for the writing of deep history. Metaphors are necessary to the making of good historical arguments. They determine the shape of historical trajectories as well as the subjects and the silences of such arguments. The strategic use of new metaphors can thus lead, as Richard Dawkins and J.R. Krebs put it, to "new and productive habits of thought about old and familiar material."16 The writing of deep histories requires analytical frames that do not resort to narratives of ontogeny ("the birth of the modern"), genesis ("something new under the sun"), or original sin ("stone-age brains in twenty-first-century skulls").17 These are powerful metaphors, and in the hands of skilled authors, they generate exciting perspectives on the past. But the history they lead us to imagine is often flattened and foreshortened; it is a history that cannot generate sustained interest in the deep past.

We propose a different array of governing metaphors. When skillfully deployed, analytical devices such as kinshipping, webs, trees, fractals, spirals, extensions, and scalar integration can help us better comprehend the immensity of human time and the dynamic of connectedness that both propels and constrains change. Kinshipping, for instance, offers ways to connect across time and space. It surmounts the metaphor of ontogeny, which describes the life history of an organism: that story necessarily begins at the moment of conception or birth, whether the birth of a nation or of a political idea. What comes before is analytically invisible or fundamentally different. By contrast, kinshipping is possible only if (and only because) a formative relation preexisted and continues to define the new and particular. It has no point of origin. Likewise, the coevolutionary spiral, which envisions two genealogies entwined and feeding off each other, displaces metaphors of genesis, revolution, and the biblical Fall. Notions of the latter sort predispose us to exaggerate the singularity of historical events and to downplay the many ways in which change builds on itself. The idea of the fractal, of patterns that are replicated at every level of magnification, helps us discern how dramatic changes seem unique only if we restrict ourselves to a single level of observation. The fractal, and the imagery of ever-smaller scales it evokes, suggests that leaps are always built on other leaps. Like kinshipping and spiraling, fractal patterns draw us ceaselessly into the past. They explain why changes in the things we can measure, such as gross population, population density, and energy consumption, do not have to be large to be profound. If we can generate a transdisciplinary discussion of these base metaphors and the other tactics we have proposed for reconnecting short and long chronologies, then current research will fall into place within new narrative frames. The frames themselves will help generate new research endeavors.

Our agenda is critical of well-established trends in how historians and cultural anthropologists concentrate their analytical efforts in space and time. We hope this critical stance is not interpreted as a claim for the superiority-intellectual, moral, or political-of temporally deep history over the historical study of recent times. An argument of that sort would be about as compelling, and convincing, as the claim that a history of the fifteenth century is better, and more profound, than a history of the seventeenth century because it is two hundred years older. What we insist on, by contrast, is a revamped historical imagination that sees deep and shallow history as analytical contexts that can endlessly reshape each other once they are allowed to speak to each other. If historians of the seventeenth century claimed that a history of the fifteenth century was not possible, we would suspect that something was amiss. Yet statements of this kind have come between deep and shallow history for almost two centuries now. They have produced short and long chronologies, natural and social sciences, and, in the end, an unhelpful excess of mutual incomprehension. It is time to close the gap.

Few Lincoln collectibles turn up more often in the online auction market than a medallion of the president that the Illinois Watch Company of Springfield awarded, beginning in 1924, to the winner of the Lincoln Essay Contest in hundreds of high schools across the land. The face of the medal featured the image of Abraham Lincoln, while on the back was inscribed the name of the winner and date of the award—but not the name of the company ( Figure 1). Although the company's name had been included in the design of the medallion, it was expunged before the die was "sunk." Behind this change lay the artist's objection to the "advertising intent" of the watch company.[1] Other participants in the project were vexed and puzzled by this objection, but they eventually capitulated and the matter was forgotten. Yet it exemplifies the persistent belief that Lincoln has been over-commercialized.

The officers of the watch company, from its formation in 1870, had cherished their links to Lincoln. The first president was John T. Stuart, Lincoln's first law partner. In 1878, when the company was reorganized and renamed a final time, Jacob Bunn Sr., Lincoln's Page  [End Page 36] banker,[2] became the president. When he died in 1897, Jacob Bunn Jr. took the helm.

The Bunns were not hesitant to associate the Illinois Watch Company and its pocket watches with Lincoln. In 1885, for example, the company sponsored Springfield, Ill. and Lincoln Souvenir, a portfolio of views of the town, including the Illinois Watch Company as well as the Lincoln landmarks. [3] Publications of the company routinely noted its proximity to the Lincoln Tomb. The foot of Monument Avenue, leading to the tomb in Oak Ridge Cemetery, rested on North Grand Avenue between First and Second streets; the company was located just blocks away on the northeast corner of Ninth and North Grand.

In 1907 the company introduced the "A. Lincoln" watch, the only watch it ever offered in three different sizes. The Lincoln watch was a great success, the company making 102,095 of them by 1928, when the Bunn family sold the enterprise to the Hamilton Watch Company. The A. Lincoln was a quality watch, most versions of which were nearly as expensive as the "Bunn Special." The prominence of the Bunn family, at least in Springfield, gave the company's top line of watches a certain cachet, without impinging upon the reputation of the Lincoln watch. [4] The Lincoln watches, regardless of size, remain collectible—and confusing. Because the signature A. Lincoln is engraved on the plate supporting the mechanism inside the watch, owners of the watch have frequently asked if it was at one time owned by the president. On one such occasion, his son, Robert Todd Lincoln, replied: "I can only say to you that I know nothing of such a watch as you describe. I think I know that Page  [End Page 37]

Figure 1a. The Illinois Watch Company of Springfield, Illinois, distributed thousands of medals in its Lincoln essay contest, beginning in 1924. The medal, cast in bronze, measures about three inches in diameter, large enough to be called a medallion. Page  [End Page 38]

Figure 1b. Inscribed on the back of the typical piece was the name of the winning student and the year of the contest, sometimes including February 12th. This particular medallion, however, was presented to a judge of the competition, Abraham Lincoln Marovitz (1905–2001). Named for the president by his Lithuanian parents, Marovitz in the 1920s served as an office boy in a Chicago law firm, took night classes at the Kent College of Law, and, when old enough to be eligible for admission to the bar, became an assistant state's attorney in Cook County. Only later, after serving in the Illinois Senate and U.S. Marines, did he become "Judge Abe" by reason of his election to the Superior Court of Cook County (1950) and his appointment to the U.S. District Court for northern Illinois (1963). His chambers became a shrine to Lincoln, filled with books, prints, and sculpture, all of which, including his medallion as a young "judge," were donated to the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum. Page  [End Page 39]

my father was the owner of two gold watches only, and they are both now in my possession." [5]

The watch company distributed a medalet and chain, to serve as a watch fob for the Lincoln watch. On the front was a profile of the president, with his name and dates on the circumference. On the back, between an eagle and a Roman fasces—or bundle of rods—was written in capital letters, Illinois / Watch Company / Springfield / Makers of the / A. Lincoln / Watch. B. L. (Bela Lyon) Pratt, a leading Boston sculptor, designed the medalet, which was only about one and a quarter inches in diameter. The piece, although too small to be precisely rendered, was exceedingly popular. The watch company distributed hundreds of medalets both with and without its A. Lincoln watches.[6]

Beginning in 1913 the company also distributed a lithographic portrait of Lincoln on canvas. This print included an embossed, circular stamp in the lower right corner, with the words Illinois Watch Co. Springfield on the circumference and The Lincoln Watch in the Page  [End Page 40] middle, all in capital letters. Placed in a gesso- and gilt-covered wood frame (about 11-by-14 inches), the print (about seven-by-ten inches) was produced by a lithographic process that made it appear as if it were an oil painting. The company sent its lithograph of Lincoln to dealers across the land for display next to Illinois watches, a promotional effort that reinforced the company's use of Lincoln. [7]

It was but a small step from Lincoln paraphernalia that advertised the A. Lincoln watch to an essay contest that would associate the Lincoln name and image with the company's entire stock. By implication, each watch was as reliable and as steadfast as the Savior of the Union, each timepiece as honest as Honest Abe. Moreover, the essay contest was a popular vehicle of civic education in the Progressive era, and no president more fully embodied the American creed than Lincoln.

Jacob Bunn, president of the Illinois Watch Company, reflected this perspective in sending the following announcement to the high schools of the nation: "In view of this city being the former home and burial place of our martyred president, Abraham Lincoln, and desiring to encourage the study of his life and character, this company without selfish motives have [sic] been considering for some time the advisability of presenting annually, to a student in the senior class of each High School in the United States, a very handsome medal of Abraham Lincoln. The idea in mind," Bunn continued, "is to present the medal on Lincoln's birthday" to the student Page  [End Page 41] at each high school who is deemed by a panel of at least three teachers to have written "the best short essay" on Lincoln (Figure 2).[8]

Bunn was already in touch with Walter C. Heath, president of the Whitehead & Hoag Company of Newark, New Jersey, which welcomed the opportunity to strike the medal for the essay contest. A leading maker of emblems and pins, buttons and badges, and other "advertising novelties," Whitehead & Hoag had by 1924 manufactured at least seventy-five medals, plaques, tokens, and coins in honor of Lincoln, including the Illinois Watch Company's medalet.[9]

On June 1, 1923, Heath of Whitehead & Hoag wrote Douglas Volk the first of many letters relating to Bunn's plans for the essay contest and the medal. An established artist, Volk had recently begun a series of Lincoln portraits that were based in part on the Lincoln life mask made by his father, Leonard Volk. Heath quoted Bunn's praise of a photograph of the Lincoln portrait that Douglas Volk had sold to the Albright Art Gallery in Buffalo, New York, in 1922: "This picture is my ideal of a Lincoln portrait. I like it better than any I have ever seen ..." (Figure 3). [10]

Others who had viewed the portrait on exhibition were no less enthusiastic. "I can suggest no criticism of it at all," wrote Robert Lincoln. "Mr. Volk's father made from life the bust of my father which is absolutely perfect as a likeness. Mr. Douglas Volk's portrait shows him later in life and much changed in appearance, but Page  [End Page 42]

Figure 2. Jacob Bunn Jr. (1864–1926), president of the Illinois Watch Company, invited twenty-three thousand American high schools to organize a Lincoln essay contest. Bunn's portrait was used as the frontispiece of Sangamo: A History of Fifty Years (1949), an account of the watch company's successor. Page  [End Page 43]

Figure 3. The medallion awarded to winners of the Lincoln essay contest was based on a painting of Lincoln by Douglas Volk, a portrait admired by Robert Todd Lincoln, among others. A reproduction of this portrait was evidently once displayed at the Illinois Watch Company. This photograph of that reproduction is in the Sangamon Valley Collection of the Lincoln Library in Springfield. Page  [End Page 44]

it is to me in every way a most satisfying and gratifying work." Ida Tarbell, the Lincoln biographer, wrote Volk a virtual encomium of the portrait: "It's been many a day since I have had anything that took hold of me in the way this Lincoln portrait of yours has. You've got that great pondering soul of his as nobody has so far in any medium, either by pen or brush." [11]

Douglas Volk first ventured into Lincoln portraiture in 1908, and that canvas, reworked in 1917, eventually found its way into the National Gallery of Art. It also achieved a kind of anonymous familiarity between 1954 and 1968, when it was featured on the regular four-cent U.S. postage stamp. During the 1920s, Volk became preoccupied with Lincoln portraits, beginning with the canvas that Bunn chose for the Illinois Watch Company award (Figure 4). To simplify the medal's design, however, Whitehead & Hoag could not use Volk's three-quarter-length portrait, which included Lincoln's hands and a background, but only a close-up view of Lincoln's head and shoulders. Furthermore, to reproduce the two-dimensional painting as a three-dimensional medal, Whitehead & Hoag required a sculptor capable of making a relief, the mold of which, much reduced, would define the die used in striking the medal.

Bunn suggested that Charles Keck be approached to make the model from which to cut the die. Keck was a prominent sculptor who had trained under Augustus Saint-Gaudens and had perfected his craft as a Rinehart scholar abroad. Bunn referred to him as a friend, and gave Heath the address of his studio in New York City.[12]

Volk, however, was not acquainted with Keck's work "in the medal line." He referred instead to other sculptors, including Daniel Chester French, Herbert Adams, Robert Aitken, and J. Massey Rhind. But as an alternative to Keck, Volk clearly preferred Charles Louis Hinton ( Figure 5 ). Volk recommended Hinton as "a talanted [sic] young sculptor," although his fifty-three-year-old friend was also a painter and book illustrator. In addition, Hinton, like the others, was an experienced medalist. But the important point was that Hinton "might be willing to collaborate" with Volk, while the other Page  [End Page 45]

Figure 4. Douglas Volk (1856–1935) submitted this self-portrait to fulfill a requirement for membership in the National Academy of Design, New York City. A photograph of the portrait, completed in 1924, was provided by Mrs. Jessie Volk, the painter's daughter-in-law. Page  [End Page 46]

sculptors "might wish to carry out their own conception of Lincoln." [13]

Figure 5. Charles L. Hinton, Douglas Volk's friend and fellow artist, sculpted the Lincoln essay contest medallion, closely following Volk's wishes in executing the commission. This grainy image of Hinton (1869–1950) appeared in the May 4, 1932, issue of the Mamaroneck, N.Y., Daily Times.

Hinton and Volk were close friends at the National Academy of Design in New York City. In 1923 Hinton was midway through a forty-seven-year career as an academy instructor, while Volk, who also taught there, was the institution's recording secretary. Hinton had named one of his sons Douglas, and later, during the Depression, Volk turned for help to Hinton, president of the Artists Fellowship, Inc. Hinton's father, like Volk's, had been a stonecutter in upstate New York, and the two academicians seemingly inherited a belief in permanent, classical standards, a commitment that they upheld against "the wild aberation [sic]" of younger artists "into the ugliness and incompetency of the modernistic."[14]Page  [End Page 47]

In planning the Lincoln medal, Volk and Hinton thought in terms of the Beaux Arts style as shaped by American sculptors since the 1880s. By taking advantage of improvements in the technology of the reducing machine and by using the Janvier lathe to engrave a reduced copy of the medal directly into a steel die, the sculptors of the day created a rich legacy of artistic medals. On April 14, 1923, the National Sculpture Society, of which Hinton was the secretary, opened a major exhibition of sculpture and medals that took for granted that medallic art, "a difficult and worthy art," had become a branch of sculpture. The show included medals and sculpture by Adams, Aitken, French, and Hinton.[15]

By July 2, 1923, after Whitehead & Hoag had "interviewed and negotiated with several sculptors," Hinton was commissioned, as Volk wished. Hinton, as he developed the casts for the medallion, was eager to follow Volk's every suggestion. Convinced that the project would yield "the finest Lincoln medal ever made," Hinton found the work such a "heaven of delight" that he gave it ten-hour days and "hated night to come along to stop me."[16]

Hinton and Volk corresponded frequently as the project went forward. For more direct consultations, Volk visited Hinton in Bronxville, New York, and Hinton traveled to Hewnoaks, Volk's summer retreat near Center Lovell, Maine. "Mr. Hinton is here," Volk reported to Heath on July 27, "and working like a Trojan with excellent results. " Volk paid close attention to the details of Hinton's work, one indication of which is a page with their letters on which Hinton sketched Lincoln's right eye and right ear, and carefully identified the anatomical parts of each. [17]

Hinton, an "unassuming gentleman," was wholly deferential to Volk, "the master mind" of the project. What Hinton did not fully gauge, however, was Volk's insistence that Whitehead & Hoag, and even the Illinois Watch Company, defer to him on other questions that arose. Volk's obstinacy—for such it really was—nearly scuttled the whole project, even after Hinton had delivered the molds Page  [End Page 48] to Newark on August 6, and the Whitehead & Hoag people had declared themselves "very much pleased" with the work.[18]

Volk was, first of all, a stickler about copyright. He agreed at the outset to accept $150 as "nominal" compensation for letting Whitehead & Hoag reproduce his portrait of Lincoln as a medallion, but he returned the check for this purpose when the memorandum on the back of it seemed to infringe upon his own copyright of the painting. Heath promptly sent Volk a second check, specifying that it gave Whitehead & Hoag the right to use the artist's work only on the medal, but Volk returned that, too, because he took issue with the wording on the design of the medal.[19]

The trouble was not the face of the piece, on which was stamped Lincoln in large capital letters, the years of his birth and death in smaller numerals, and, in minuscule size, in large and small caps, the names of the artist who drew the original (delineavit) and the sculptor who modeled it (sculpsit): Douglas.Volk. / Del. and Chas.L.Hinton. / Sc: (with the copyright symbol preceding Volk's name).[20] What bothered Volk was the back of the medal. The words Lincoln / Essay Medal / Awarded to (all in capital letters) were followed by spaces (set off by two ribbons) on which the winner's name and date of the award were to be inscribed. To this was added in Whitehead & Hoag's design: From the Illinois Watch Co.

Such wording was unacceptable to Volk. It created the impression that the medal was a mere advertisement for the company. It contradicted Bunn's announcement of the contest in which he assured high-school officials that the company's sponsorship was "without selfish motives." As Volk saw it, the proposed medal would be "robbed of dignity if it bore the name of any firm as donor." Volk had accepted a "nominal" payment for use of his painting in light of the company's apparently "lofty and patriotic" intentions. Had he realized that a mere "advertising idea" lay behind the medal, "no price would tempt me to use the head of Lincoln in this way." Hinton, ever compliant, wrote Volk that his stand against commercializing Lincoln was "the only right one," for "it does seem awful to use Lincoln as an ad." [21]Page  [End Page 49]

Heath was baffled by Volk's insistence that the medallion would be corrupted if it carried the sponsor's name. No other artist, in his experience, had taken such a stand, objecting in principle to any association of the sainted Lincoln with a mere commercial enterprise. Numerous Whitehead & Hoag medals had been "executed by sculptors of renown, such as Bela Pratt," who had created the medalet for the A. Lincoln watch, and none expressed the least scruple about commercializing Lincoln. Heath thought that Bunn deserved "some slight consideration" in view of his choice of Volk's Lincoln over Lincoln portraits by other artists, the watch company's substantial investment in the project, and the "patriotic and educational" value of the essay contest. Heath also invoked the example of Tiffany's which, in a similar contest sponsored by the New York Times, had readily let the newspaper affix its name to thousands of medals. The watch company had already tentatively ordered eight thousand medals, and expected to increase the quantity to twelve or thirteen thousand "when they have heard from all the High Schools of the country." [22] This was no trifling transaction.

Hinton was also worried lest the project miscarry. He realized that he could not properly keep his name on the medal if Volk's was not there also, and it hurt him "not to have our names associated together on the medal. " He hesitated to endorse Volk's alternatives. In place of the watch company's name, Volk had suggested that the medal be inscribed "From friends in the home town of Lincoln," but this was hardly an adequate identification of the sponsor. Similarly, Volk had proposed in place of his own name the phrase, "From the Volk Life Mask," but this reference to the artist's use of his father's cast of Lincoln's face was also vague.[23]

Perplexed by the situation, Hinton turned to Will H. Low, his teacher and close friend whom he settled near in Bronxville, New York. Low lightheartedly observed that the medal would be two-sided: It would not "discredit" Volk to have his image of Lincoln on one side and the watch company's name on the other. More tellingly, as Hinton reported, Jacob Bunn himself, when he saw the initial design of the medal, "telegraphed right off" to "make the words of the watch co. even smaller" than sketched, to make them "as small as possible."[24]

Volk remained adamant. "After years of work devoted to the development of my picture of Lincoln I could never justify its use for Page  [End Page 50] advertising purposes, no matter how delicately veiled they might be."[25] And so the matter came down to Volk's ultimatum: Either his name or the watch company's had to come off the medal.

There was no way for Whitehead & Hoag to resolve the issue until Jacob Bunn could be consulted, and he had left in July for an extended tour of Europe. Moving from place to place, he could not be cabled, nor did Heath think that all the nuances of the situation could be reduced to writing. For nearly two months, Whitehead & Hoag waited for Bunn's return and the opportunity to discuss the medal with him directly. [26]

Then, suddenly, Volk learned that Bunn was back in the country and had "agreed to leave the name of his Company off from [sic] the medal. " Volk was of course pleased by the news. He thanked Whitehead & Hoag for its "tempered patience in the situation. " He also admitted that, from Bunn's point of view, the change "entails something of a sacrifice," adding, however, that "Lincoln's life itself stood for sacrifice." [27]

Heath, Whitehead & Hoag's president, soon visited Bunn in Springfield, probably to hasten arrangements for the production of the medal. Writing to Volk, he described the place of Jacob Bunn Sr. in the Lincoln story, adding that Jacob Bunn Jr. thus came "naturally by his interest in and affection for Mr. Lincoln." Bunn showed Heath Lincoln's home, causing Heath to ask Volk for signed copies of Volk's portrait of Lincoln both for Bunn and the home. Altogether, as Heath wrote, Bunn was "a man of very fine sentiments."[28]

Those who knew Bunn closely felt the same, including, for example, Robert C. Lanphier, who developed the "meter department" Page  [End Page 51] of the watch company into Sangamo Electric, a business that survived long after the demise of the parent company. Lanphier remembered Bunn, who was president of both companies, as "patient and understanding," a model of "tact and fairness." [29]

In 1923, as plans for the Lincoln essay contest took shape, Bunn demonstrated his integrity in another way. With his sister and two brothers, he initiated a search for the beneficiaries of the depositors in their father's bank. When the J. Bunn Bank failed in 1878, a casualty of the depression of the previous five years, it was able to pay some fourteen hundred depositors only 71.5 cents on the dollar. Although legally discharged from any further obligation, the elder Bunn felt a moral obligation to repay the depositors in full, with interest at 5 percent per annum. By 1925, the success of the watch company and other family businesses enabled his surviving children to distribute to the depositors or their heirs the full amount of the unpaid balance plus interest (240 percent). Altogether, nearly five thousand beneficiaries received $800,000. It was a singular gesture that gave the family an almost Lincolnesque reputation for honesty. The Bunns were such a prominent and respected family in Springfield that the press across the country reported the story as an act of noblesse oblige.[30]

Whether or not Douglas Volk ever knew of the largess of the Bunn family, he must have been pleased with the booklet that accompanied the Illinois Watch Company's Lincoln medal. Embossed on the front and back covers were the two sides of the medal. For the frontispiece, the watch company reproduced Volk's full painting, Page  [End Page 52] "considered by the critics as the finest portrait of Lincoln ever painted." The booklet included brief biographies of Volk and Hinton and a description of the medal's production. The medal, "made of the finest solid government bronze," was about three inches in diameter (sufficient to qualify as a medallion), and it weighed nearly six ounces.[31] The raised image of Lincoln stood out on the front, and, in lower relief on the back, a wreath of oak leaves encircled the inscription. Together, they made the piece approximately three-eighths of an inch thick. The manufacturer's name—Whitehead-Hoag—appeared on the rim of the medal but not in the booklet.[32]

The collaboration of painter, sculptor, and die-maker yielded a medallion at once attractive and distinctive. The lettering of Lincoln's name on the obverse and the descriptive wording on the reverse were simple and harmonious, although local jewelers often inscribed the winner's name and date of the contest in an incongruous font. At Volk's suggestion, or at least with his concurrence, Hinton accentuated Lincoln's head, especially his shock of hair. Hinton also modeled the face with sensitivity, becoming unsure of himself only in rendering the president's eyebrows. He silhouetted the sharply defined head against both a flat background and the soft, low relief of the shoulders. Unlike most sculptors who contributed to medallic art in America, Hinton based his Lincoln on a painting of the subject. The piece was altogether a worthy addition to the art of the medal in the Beaux Arts tradition.

Whitehead & Hoag were proud of the watch company medallion. It was singled out for a step-by-step display of medallic production in a "process exhibit" at the Newark Museum in 1928 (Figure 6). Newark was at that time not only the home of Whitehead & Hoag but also the showcase of John Cotton Dana's expansive redefinition of the public library. As director of the Newark Museum as well as the Newark Library, Dana manifested a lively interest in machine art. "I would much prefer to show a Whitehead & Hoag Exhibit than I would an oil painting," he wrote to Chester R. Hoag, whose company had for years loaned or donated its products to Dana's museum. The exhibit of 1928 included different patinations of the watch company's medal, partly because Whitehead Page  [End Page 53] & Hoag had borrowed back the dies to make additional medals for the Lincoln essay contest.[33]

Figure 6. To manufacture the Lincoln medallion, the Illinois Watch Company turned to Whitehead & Hoag, maker of innumerable "advertising novelties. " Based in Newark, New Jersey, the company often mounted "process exhibits" of its work in the Newark Museum. This display of the Lincoln medallion is pictured in The Medal in America (1988).

The booklet announcing the contest was sent to twenty-three thousand American high schools. The watch company gave participating schools wide latitude in setting up the contest, yet it also offered the assistance of both its Lincoln Essay Bureau and the Lincoln Centennial Association (of which Paul M. Angle was the executive secretary and Jacob Bunn was a director). Principals and teachers could expect to receive "information and stories of the life of Lincoln" from time to time, and they could send in the name of each winner and a copy of each winning essay, if they wished. But nothing was required, and the efforts of the essay bureau were probably focused on mailings of the medal. The details of the contest were incidental to the company's hope that it would "increase the study of Lincoln," advance "the high ideals that Lincoln's life exemplified," and serve "as an incentive to better government."[34]

Although the medals first struck for the contest were dated on the anniversary of Lincoln's birthday in 1924, the booklet concluded with a letter of March 4, written by Francis G. Blair, the Illinois Superintendent of Public Instruction, which referred to "unavoidable Page  [End Page 54] delays" in starting the contest—delays occasioned at least partly by Volk's stand against commercializing Lincoln.[35] When Volk opened the shipping carton containing the finished product, however, he must have been surprised to see that the medallion itself rested in a velvet-lined display case, on the lid of which was printed, in capital letters, the words Presented by / Illinois Watch Co. / Springfield (Figure 7). It seems never to have occurred to Volk, when he campaigned against the company's name on the medal, that it would appear on the case instead. Of course, case and medal often became separated in 1924 and afterwards. The number of medals now extant far exceeds the number of boxes and booklets. Nevertheless, Volk's victory was a limited one. In the end, he appeared rather like an artistic Canute, attempting to turn back the tide of commercialization that has ever engulfed Lincoln.

The Illinois Watch Company's essay bureau was apparently the responsibility of its advertising manager, William J. Barnes.[36] It was probably Barnes who ordered additional medals from Whitehead & Hoag from time to time. The patina of different medals varies substantially, and in one case, at least, even the year (1925) was stamped on the upper edge of the back of the medal.[37] Since the 1920s, thousands of the watch company's medals have become keepsakes, but the piece itself and the story behind it, except as reconstituted here, are unknown.

Bunn died in 1926, and in 1927 the family sold the company, although the Hamilton Watch Company used the plant to make Page  [End Page 55]

Figure 7. Although Bunn out of deference to Volk omitted the words Illinois Watch Company from the Lincoln medallion itself, the name appeared on the lid of the case for the medal, as seen in the company's booklet, Lincoln Essay Contest to Increase Knowledge and Admiration of Lincoln Among School Children in the United States (1924). Page  [End Page 56]

"Illinois" watches for the next five years. In American high schools, the essay contest expired after February 12, 1928. Later, Angle simply noted that Hamilton had "discontinued" the competition. [38] Not only was the legacy of Lincoln of no particular interest to the new owners in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, but the Springfield company itself had been dependent upon the schools to start and sustain the contest. In effect, each year's competition was left to local initiative, which was sure to languish, sooner or later.

Meanwhile, Charles Burnett, a career army officer with ties to Springfield, carried the idea of a Lincoln essay contest to Japan. Raised in Carlinville, where he attended Blackburn College, Burnett graduated from West Point in 1901. In 1925, en route to his third tour of duty as military attaché of the U.S. embassy in Tokyo, Lt. Col. Burnett visited his brother in Springfield and became aware of the watch company's essay contest. Back in Japan, he arranged for the America-Japan Society (Nichi-Bei Kyokai),[39] of which he was the secretary, to organize a similar competition, inasmuch as Lincoln belonged "to the world and not to the United States alone" ( Figure 8). [40]

Figure 8. Lt. Col. Charles Burnett, U.S. military attaché in Tokyo, arranged for the America-Japan Society to sponsor the Lincoln essay contest in Japanese schools. Through his brother in Springfield, Illinois, Burnett maintained close relations with the Lincoln Centennial Association (now the Abraham Lincoln Association), which played an increasing role in the contests after the Illinois Watch Company was sold to an out-of-state competitor. Burnett's picture appears in The National Cyclopaedia of American Biography.

Thus began a forgotten chapter in the story of Japan's veneration of Lincoln. After the Japanese earthquake of 1923, the America-Japan Society (safely based in Frank Lloyd Wright's Imperial Hotel, which did not collapse) fostered American relief efforts in Tokyo and otherwise endeavored to cultivate good relations between the two nations. The society promptly endorsed Burnett's proposal that it invite Japanese students to write essays in English about Lincoln. Writing to Springfield, Burnett enclosed a copy of the society's circular about the contest, portions of which he translated into English (Figure 9). [41]

The Lincoln Centennial Association accepted the responsibility Page  [End Page 57] for judging the Japanese papers on Lincoln on the understanding that "only the obviously superior essays would be forwarded for its decision." Accordingly, Burnett sent fifty-nine essays to Paul M. Angle, who, with three leaders of the association—Henry A. Converse, Logan Hay, and George W. Bunn Jr.—painstakingly chose three winners in each class of participants, including at first not only college and university students (above the age of sixteen) but also middle-school pupils (between eleven and sixteen). The judges were "amazed at the grasp of the factual aspect of the subject exhibited in these essays" and were also impressed by the quality of the writing. To illustrate the point, Angle quoted a paragraph about Lincoln's Cooper Institute address in the prize-winning essay of a first-year student of Peers' College, Tokyo, and asked, rhetorically, "How many American College freshmen could surpass this passage, were they compelled to write in Japanese on the Emperor Meiji?" [42]Page  [End Page 58]

Figure 9. This broadside advertised the Lincoln essay contest in Japan, where medallions were first awarded in 1927. Because the Japanese characters are turned on their side in this reproduction, Burnett's translation of portions of the text runs across the page rather than parallel to the vertical format of the original. The broadside, which is more than twice the size of this reproduction, is filed in folder "1926: A-B" of the archives of the Abraham Lincoln Association in the Illinois State Historical Library. Page  [End Page 59]

The following February and on subsequent occasions close to Lincoln's birthday, the America-Japan Society met to present the prizes and listen to speeches. After each program, the society published the major addresses and selected essays. Prince Iyesato Tokugawa, president of the society, celebrated Lincoln as "a gallant and democratic American Samurai," and declared that the "spontaneous and unaffected reactions of the young men and women of Japan to his great personality" was proof that "there is no barrier nor difference between the souls of the East and of the West." The American ambassador to Japan reiterated Lincoln's transcendent role in cementing friendly relations between the two nations.[43]

"The reading of these papers," Angle observed, "offered some very interesting glimpses of the psychology of young Japanese." For example, the essays of many older students manifest a "keenness of feeling ... at our policy of Asiatic exclusion.... Repeatedly the statement was made that if Lincoln were alive today he would never have permitted the adoption of such a policy. " When Angle published one of the winning essays, even though it made no reference to immigration restriction, a reader sought to have it reprinted in the Seattle Times, so as to diminish the widespread "feeling of distrust" of the Japanese community on the West Coast.[44]

From the Lincoln Centennial Association (renamed the Abraham Lincoln Association in 1929), the prize winners received individually inscribed medals. In addition, the America-Japan Society awarded cash prizes: one hundred yen to first-place winners, fifty yen to the runners-up. Such prizes, Prince Tokugawa opined, are "humble ones," but the study of Lincoln's life was more valuable than "any material reward," for it enriched the winners "mentally and spiritually." [45]

The Illinois Watch Company's Lincoln medal was used as the frontispiece of each set of addresses and essays published by the Page  [End Page 60] America-Japan Society. Burnett at one point alluded to the essay program in the United States, established by "Mr. Jacob Bunn, whose father had been a life-long friend of Lincoln,"[46] but nowhere in the society's annual publications was the watch company itself mentioned. The omission would have pleased Douglas Volk.

Nevertheless, so long as the America-Japan Society awarded watch-company medals to the best essayists, it depended upon corporate support. In the spring of 1928, before announcing the third competition, Burnett inquired about "the feasibility of continuing the essay contests even though the Illinois Watch Company is no more. " To clarify the situation, he turned to his brother, Samuel T. Burnett, clerk of the U.S. District Court in Springfield, who then explained to a Hamilton Watch Company executive how the Illinois Watch Company supplied the medals. "That of course has been pure philanthropy, since the Company's name has not appeared in any manner" (at least not on the medal itself). Admitting that Hamilton's attention to business may "leave little room for ventures such as this," Burnett pointed out "the difficulty of continuing the contest without medals of some kind." Although Angle suggested that a biography of Lincoln might be awarded in lieu of the watch-company medal, the America-Japan Society, in cooperation with the Lincoln Centennial Association alone, decided in effect to carry on as long as the supply of medals lasted. On this basis, Angle handled the judging of Japanese student essays for two more years.[47]

In 1930, however, the America-Japan Society postponed its Lincoln program until March due to a "delay in the arrival" of the prizes. Of the thousands of medals made by Whitehead & Hoag for the Illinois Watch Company, Angle had obtained the last few that the manufacturer had on hand, and the Abraham Lincoln Association lacked the means to order more. Furthermore, Angle, an Page  [End Page 61] accomplished writer himself, had become critical of the essays. The best of the lot was chosen because of its content but the "language of the paper" was "not particularly good."[48] Angle had no doubt become bored with the task of reading awkward prose. Yet, if the contest had not expired for internal reasons, it would surely have collapsed after 1930, as the rise the Japanese militarism strained relations between the United States and Japan.

After only four or five years, interest in the Lincoln essay contest both in the United States and in Japan waned. Those who succeeded Bunn and Burnett lacked their commitment to the purposes of each program, and corporate support came to an end. Angle was realistic about the commercialization of Lincoln. When a director of the Abraham Lincoln Association complained about an advertisement for the Lincoln National Life Insurance Company of Fort Wayne, Indiana, Angle replied: "It is entirely impossible, I suppose, to prevent 'commercialized' use of the name of Lincoln." Angle could not see that the insurance company's use of the name, however regrettable, was "any different from the use to which it was put" in the Illinois Watch Company's essay contest. In fact, in 1905 Robert Todd Lincoln himself had given the insurance company permission to use Lincoln's name and image. [49] Jacob Bunn's aim in creating the watch company's essay contest was no less acceptable. Indeed, it was commendable in its restraint, compared with the crass appropriation of Lincoln that was so widespread by the 1920s. In retrospect, it was not merely the Japanese continuation of Bunn's program that made it distinctive but, more especially, the short, obstinate, and essentially futile effort of Douglas Volk to stem the commercial exploitation of Lincoln. Page  [End Page 62]


  1. The phrase is Douglas Volk's, in Volk to Walter C. Heath, July 21, 1923, one of a series of twenty-nine letters on the subject in the Volk family papers. The collection is now owned by Mrs. Jessie Volk of Center Lovell, Maine, and includes the letters of 1923 and the undated sketches that are cited in these notes. The author wishes to thank Mrs. Volk for making this collection available for research and for her hospitality at Hewnoaks, her summer home. The author is also indebted to James Cornelius of the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, for critiquing drafts of this article. This study was supported in part by a grant from the University's Research Board. More generally, the author wishes to acknowledge the assistance of Mark L. Johnson of the Historic Sites Division of the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency, who has freely shared his discoveries of "Volk stuff" of every description.
  2. Conversely, Lincoln was Bunn's lawyer.
  3. The company's name was embossed on the back cover of a book of albertypes issued by Adolph Wittemann, the ubiquitous publisher of that genre. The company also distributed complimentary copies of Souvenir of Springfield (circa 1890), another accordion-style viewbook with larger pictures published by H. E. Barker and copyrighted by J. C. Power.
  4. William "Bill" Meggers and Roy Ehrhardt, American Pocket Watch Encyclopedia and Price Guide, vol. 2, Illinois Watch Co. (Kansas City, Mo.: Heart of America Press, 1985), 45, 154, and advertisements, passim. The "Mary Todd" was briefly included in the company's line of ladies wrist watches, circa 1928. Ibid., 226. (If correctly dated, the Mary Todd was marketed just after Hamilton bought out the Bunns.) The Book of A. Lincoln Watches, a handsome booklet published in 1924 by the Illinois Watch Company and Lebolt & Company, New York, combined a sketch of "Lincoln in Springfield" with a description of several models of the watch. For information regarding the A. Lincoln watch, the author is indebted to Russell W. Snyder, Urbana, Ill.
  5. Robert T. Lincoln to C[leveland] C. Bierman (lawyer and secretary, Lincoln College of Law, Springfield, Ill.), August 13, 1910, Robert Todd Lincoln letterbooks, Illinois State Historical Library, Springfield (microfilm, roll 77, p. 265), and see Mildred V. Schulz, "For the Record," Dispatch from the Illinois State Historical Society 4 (June 1972), [7].
  6. The medalet is no. 564 in Robert P. King, "Lincoln in Numismatics," The Numismatist 37 (February 1924), 139. It is pictured, for example, in Stuart Schneider, Collecting Lincoln (Atglen, Pa.: Schiffer Publishing, 1997), 146. Pratt's signature is barely visible on the truncation of the bust of Lincoln. He "pacified" the design on the back by placing an olive branch in the eagle's talons and removing the battle-ax from the fasces. Atop the piece is a loop to fasten it to a watch chain or badge. The watch company's medalet was adapted from a medal for the New York Lincoln Centenary Committee's commemoration of Lincoln's birth simply by expunging the year "MCMIX" and substituting "1809–1865. " See Cynthia (Pratt) Kennedy Sam, "Bela Lyon Pratt (1867–1917): Medals, Medallions and Coins," The Medal in America, ed., Alan M. Stahl (New York: American Numismatic Society, 1988), 176, and, for four renderings of the New York medal, King, "Lincoln in Numismatics," nos. 313, 322, 335, and 389. The manufacturer further extended the life of Pratt's profile of Lincoln by changing the wording on the back to serve other purposes—for example, to advertise newspapers, to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the Gettysburg Address, and to recognize the trek of Boy Scouts from New Salem to Springfield, Illinois. (For more than three decades, beginning in 1926, the Abraham Lincoln Council of the Boy Scouts of America awarded the Pratt medalet to scouts who took the "Lincoln Trail," inscribing in capital letters that the hiker had "walked in Lincoln's steps" on a specified date. That experience no doubt continues to leave hundreds of scouts with the impression that Lincoln, as Donald Hoffmann once put it, was "the world's first commuter.")
  7. Again, hundreds of the prints survive and have become a staple of online auctions, where they are inaccurately or incompletely described. Even when the picture is recognized as a print, not a painting, the piece is sold without identifying Rudolf Bohunek as the artist whose portrait of Lincoln was the basis of the print. "R. Bohunek" was indistinctly stamped on the back of the canvas, and part of his last name was folded under the frame. Bohunek arrived in Chicago in 1913, the date on the Lincoln print. In subsequent years, he moved to Oak Park and established a studio in the Loop, first at 536 S. Clark St. and then at 616 S. Michigan Ave. Born in Bohemia about 1875, and trained in Prague, he lived in New Orleans from about 1909 to 1911, painting copies of early portraits of such French founders as La Salle and Iberville. After briefly returning to Prague, he settled in Chicago. See Lakeside Annual Directory of the City of Chicago, 1913, and the annual Directory for 1914, 1915, 1916, and 1917; John A. Mahé II and Rosanne McCaffrey, eds., Encyclopaedia of New Orleans Artists, 1718–1918 (New Orleans: Historic New Orleans Collection, 1987), 45; Robert Glenk, Handbook and Guide to the Louisiana State Museum (New Orleans: Louisiana State Museum, 1934), 48, 51. Bohunek derived his Lincoln portrait from one of Anthony Berger's photographs of February 9, 1864, taken at Mathew Brady's studio in Washington, D.C. See Charles Hamilton and Lloyd Ostendorf, Lincoln in Photographs: An Album of Every Known Pose, revised ed. (Dayton, Ohio: Morningside House, 1985), 178, 395.
  8. Bunn, quoted in Heath to Volk, June 1, 1923.
  9. Whitehead & Hoag, incorporated in 1892 by Benjamin S. Whitehead and Chester R. Hoag, were pioneers in the design and manufacture of advertising art. A collection of their products, which were "astronomical in their variety," is in the Newark Museum. Unfortunately, when Whitehead & Hoag was bought in 1959, the records of its main office and plant were destroyed, although the Hoag family has collected other company materials, including records of its satellite offices. Verdenal H. Johnson (Hoag's granddaughter) to the author, October 13, 2001. Whitehead & Hoag's Lincoln items are numbered and described in several lists, beginning with Robert P. King, "Lincoln in Numismatics," The Numismatist 37 (February 1924). King published two supplements, and Paul H. Ginther and Nathan N. Eglit compiled a third. Ibid., 40 (April 1927), 46 (August 1933), and 72 (December 1959). In 1966 the Token and Medal Society reprinted King's work as Lincoln in Numismatics, and a year later the society issued Edgar Heyl, A Comprehensive Index to King's Lincoln in Numismatics. See also Robert L. Kincaid, "Lincoln in Numismatics: The Story of Robert P. King, Authority on Lincoln Coins and Medals," Lincoln Herald 46 (October 1944), 34–38. For information on Lincoln medals and answers to other numismatic questions, the author is indebted to Francis D. Campbell and Michael L. Bates of the American Numismatic Society, New York City.
  10. Heath to Volk, June 1, 1923.
  11. Lincoln to C. Powell Minnigerode (Director, Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.), January 23, 1922, copy in Volk Family Papers; Tarbell, quoted in Buffalo Fine Arts Academy, Albright [Albright-Knox] Art Gallery, Buffalo, N.Y., Academy Notes, July–December 1922, 49.
  12. See Heath to Volk, June 1, 1923.
  13. Volk to Heath, June 7, 1923. Demonstrating his versatility in painting, Hinton executed oils, water colors, and murals as well as copies of the masters. Volk offered one such copy to Florence (Mrs. William) Sloane for the Hermitage, her home in Norfolk, Va. In effect, he thus shared the commissions which she gave Volk himself. See Volk to Mrs. Sloane, April 12, 1918, Archives, Hermitage Foundation Museum.
  14. Charles C. Curran (Secretary, National Academy of Design) to Volk, January 22, 1935, and see Hinton to Volk, January 26, 1933, Archives, National Academy of Design, New York City. The author is indebted to David B. Dearinger, the academy's chief curator, for making available its files on Volk and Hinton. Regarding Hinton, see also New York Herald Tribune, October 14, 1950, p. 12, col. 5.
  15. National Sculpture Society, Exhibition of American Sculpture Catalogue ... (New York: National Sculpture Society, 1923); George F. Hill on portrait medallions, Preface to Theodore Spicer-Simson and Stuart P. Sherman, Men of Letters of the British Isles ... (New York: William Edwin Rudge, 1924), 12; and see Barbara A. Baxter, The Beaux-Arts Medal in America ... (New York: American Numismatic Society, 1987).
  16. Heath to Volk, July 2, 1923; Hinton to Volk, June 29, July 7, July 9, 1923.
  17. Volk to Heath, July 27, 1923; Hinton sketches, n.d.
  18. Joan Parks, "Our Famous Neighbors," Daily Times (Mamaroneck, N.Y.), May 4, 1932 (clipping in Hinton file, National Academy of Design); Hinton to Marion Volk, August 3, to Douglas Volk, August 6, 1923.
  19. Volk to Heath, June 7, July 21, 27, August 6, 1923; Heath to Volk, July 25, 1923.
  20. Rather distinctively, Hinton placed the shaft of a burning torch through the center of the numbers, which gave the years of Lincoln's birth and death.
  21. Volk to Heath, July 21, August 15, 1923; Hinton to Volk, August 4, 1923; and see Volk to Heath, July 27, 1923.
  22. Heath to Volk and see Hinton to Volk, both August 6, 1923.
  23. Volk to Hinton, July 21, August 13, 1923; Hinton to Volk, August 6, 1923.
  24. Hinton to Volk, August 6, 15, 1923, and see Heath to Volk, July 25, 1923.
  25. Volk to Hinton, August 15, 1923.
  26. See Heath to Volk, July 25, August 6, 28, 1923.
  27. William A. Jones (Vice President, Whitehead & Hoag) to Volk, September 18, 1923; Volk to Jones, September 21, 1923, and see Heath to Volk, September 24, 1923. Benjamin S. Whitehead, although not directly engaged in breaking the impasse between Volk and Bunn, was a friend and summer neighbor of Volk's in Maine. He evidently so admired the painting of Lincoln which was used for the medal that he acquired another portrait in the series, "Lincoln, the Ever-Sympathetic" (1931). In 1966 Whitehead's granddaughters gave the portrait to the White House. It was promptly hung in the Lincoln Room, replacing Volk's first Lincoln portrait, which had been on loan from the National Gallery of Art. See "A New View of Lincoln in the White House," Washington Post, July 3, 1966, Sec. F, p. 2.
  28. Heath to Volk, July 25, October 12, 1923. It seems possible that the reproduction of Volk's painting that Bunn received is the three-quarter-length portrait, on the frame of which are the labels Illinois Watch Company and Springfield. The Sangamon Valley Collection of the Lincoln Library (Springfield's public library) contains a photograph of this reproduction as so framed (see Figure 3).
  29. Robert C. Lanphier and Benjamin P. Thomas, Sangamo: A History of Fifty Years (Chicago: privately printed, 1949), 27, 66.
  30. F. A. Behymer, "For the Honor of the Family," St. Louis Post-Dispatch, January 3, 1926, Part 7, p. 1 (entire page). This article was abridged in Literary Digest 88 (January 30, 1926), 48, 52, 54. Of the dozen paragraphs excised in whole or part, one noted the effort of Jacob Bunn Sr. to build up the Illinois Watch Company so as to pay the bank's indebtedness: "At the watch factory he worked night and day. He kept it from failure, but it was a business that would only be made to grow slowly ... " On December 27, 1925, numerous papers, including the Post-Dispatch (p. 1, col. 1) and the New York Times (Sec. 1, p. 2, col. 4), carried the announcement of the Bunn family disbursements. It was the lead story in Springfield's Illinois State Journal and Illinois State Register. See also "Bunn Memorial Trust," Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society 18 (January 1926), 1063–65. Mindful of the Bunn family's Lincoln interests, several beneficiaries turned over their checks to the Lincoln Centennial Association. George W. Marney, "'A Good Name is Rather to be Chosen than Great Riches': Jacob Bunn's Pledge Redeemed by His Heirs," Illinois Journal of Commerce 8 (February 1926), 28.
  31. More exactly, the medal in the American Numismatic Society (1924.150.11), according to the Society's database, is 75 millimeters in diameter and weighs 168.791 grams.
  32. Lincoln Essay Contest to Increase Knowledge and Admiration of Lincoln Among School Children in the United States (Springfield: Illinois Watch Company, [1924]), 12, 16.
  33. Dana to Hoag, October 20, 1927, quoted in Dorothy Budd Bartle, "John Cotton Dana and the Ideal Museum Collection of Medals," in Stahl, Medal in America, 115, and see 102–17, passim. Interestingly, Douglas Volk completed a portrait of Dana in 1923, although he gives no indication in his correspondence with Whitehead & Hoag that he knew of the company's support of Dana's museum. The portrait is reproduced in The Museum (Newark Museum Association), 15 (1963), 47.
  34. Lincoln Essay Contest, [6], 11, 21.
  35. Blair's letter to High School Principals as printed in Lincoln Essay Contest, 23–24, differs from the text in the Thirty–fifth Biennial Report of the Superintendent of Public Instruction of [the] State of Illinois, July 1, 1922–June 30, 1924 (Springfield: Schnepp & Barnes, 1924), 25–26. It seems possible that the circular was edited at the watch company to shorten it and to delete Bunn's name. In King's first supplement (cited in note 9), the medal is no. 891. However, Blair's letter and related evidence cast doubt on King's statement that Bunn presented the first medal to be struck to David Lloyd George, who, on October 18, 1923, came to Springfield for an address on Lincoln. The former prime minister's moving tribute was printed in the Lincoln Centennial Association's first Bulletin (December 20, 1923).
  36. See Barnes to Angle, May 11, 1927, January 13, May 28, 1928, Abraham Lincoln Association Papers, Illinois State Historical Library. This collection contains all the correspondence that is subsequently cited in these notes.
  37. In recent years, Bill Jacques, owner of the StonePost Corporation of East Dummerston, Vermont, has marketed a uniface reproduction of the medal, giving the image of Lincoln a bronze finish, mounting the piece on a square plaque of cherry wood, and advertising it as dating from 1909 (a common error among collectors).
  38. Angle to Helen Roberts (English instructor, Star, Idaho), January 17, 1930.
  39. In the Japanese translation, the association is the Japan-American Society.
  40. America-Japan Society, The Third Lincoln Essay Contest Conducted by the America-Japan Society in Co-operation with the Lincoln Centennial Association, Springfield, Illinois, Special Bulletin 8 (Tokyo: America-Japan Society, 1929), 5, and see ibid., The Second Lincoln Essay Contest ... , Special Bulletin 6 (1928), 5–6, and ibid., The Fourth Lincoln Essay Contest ... , Special Bulletin 10 (1930), 5. Regarding Burnett, see The National Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 76 vols. (New York: James T. White & Co., 1891–1984), 29 (1941): 404–5.
  41. C. Burnett to Secretary, Lincoln Centennial Association, October 12, 1926, and enclosures. The author thanks Yuriko Oono of the University of Illinois Library for translating the America-Japan Society circular in its entirety.
  42. Angle to Burnett, December 2, 1926; Lincoln Centennial Association, Bulletin, no. 7 (June 1, 1927), 3, 7; America-Japan Society, The Lincoln Essay Contest Conducted by the America-Japan Society in Co-operation with the Lincoln Centennial Association, Springfield, Illinois, Special Bulletin 4 (Tokyo: America-Japan Society, 1927), 12.
  43. Lincoln Essay Contest, 2; Second Lincoln Essay Contest, 2; and see remarks of Ambassadors Charles MacVeagh and William R. Castle in the America-Japan Society's Lincoln essay contest publications. That the contest would inspire Japanese students to emulate Lincoln was also assumed by Emanuel Hertz, in Lincoln of Illinois: The Testimony of the Nations (n.p., n.d., 1930), 20–21.
  44. Lincoln Centennial Association, Bulletin, no. 7, 7; Jonathan Smith to Angle, June 14, and see Angle to Smith, June 22, 1929; Sumiko Tokuda, "Abraham Lincoln: A Japanese Interpretation," Abraham Lincoln Association, Bulletin, no. 15 (June 1, 1929), 1–4, 7–8.
  45. Third Lincoln Essay Contest, 4.
  46. Second Lincoln Essay Contest, 5.
  47. Charles Burnett to Angle, March 13; S. T. Burnett to Robert E. Miller (Vice President, Hamilton Watch Co.), May 24; and see Angle to Miller, May 24, 1928. The number of submissions fluctuated (down to 19, then up to 55), even though middle-school students were excluded from the contest after the first year. Charles Burnett to Angle, October 24, 1927, Eugene H. Dooman (Secretary, America-Japan Society), September 30, 1929. Additional letters in the Abraham Lincoln Association Papers indicate how Samuel T. Burnett facilitated mailings between Tokyo and Springfield. For biographical data on Burnett, see George W. Smith et al., History of Illinois and Her People, 6 vols. (Chicago: American Historical Society, 1927), 4:38–39, and Illinois State Journal, February 10, 1944, p. 10, cols. 4–5.
  48. Fourth Lincoln Essay Contest, 3, 10, and see Angle to Dooman, October 28, November 14, 1929.
  49. Paul M. Angle to Arthur D. Mackie (Springfield), April 27; and see Mackie to Angle, April 26, 1929. See also Frank F. Fowle (Chicago) to Angle, April 20, Angle to Fowle, April 22, 1929, and Merrill D. Peterson, Lincoln in American Memory (New York: Oxford University Press, 1994), 197. Peterson overlooks the watch company's contest in the United States but briefly alludes to the competition in Japan. However, he cites only reports in the New York Times of gatherings of the American Association of Tokyo and Yokohama, not of the America-Japan Society. Ibid., 206; 415, n. 18. Although Angle at one point thought that the Lincoln National Life Insurance Company had "acquired the rights to use" the watch company medal in a continuation of the Lincoln essay contest, there is no record that it took any steps toward that end. Angle to F. M. Thompson (Vice Principal, Riverdale, Calif.), August 7, 1929; Cindy VanHorn (Lincoln Museum) to the author, October 5, 2001.

0 Replies to “Shryock Essay Medal Winners”

Lascia un Commento

L'indirizzo email non verrà pubblicato. I campi obbligatori sono contrassegnati *