Simon & Schuster has requested, and I am working on, a bibliography for the back of the book.
In a sense, the bibliography is the first document I created, when I started work on Stanton, creating a list of books and articles and papers. I still have that document, edited over the course of five years, on my computer. (For more on the use of a bibliography as a research tool see my Seattle Prep talk on this blog.) But I have had to edit it quite a bit to create the bibliography for the published book, because in many cases I listed books and articles on tangential issues. Some of those I looked at but did not cite; some of them I never even looked at. There is not much point sending the poor reader to look at things I decided were not much use.
I also found many instances of books and articles cited in the current version of the book that I did not have in my bibliography. Many were sources that I found late in the process. An example: as I was revising I dimly remembered that Tocqueville had some comment about the difference between the slave and free states. I found the quote, first online, and then in a wonderful new edited edition of Tocqueville’s letters from America, and the quote now has a prime place in the first chapter, about the difference between free Ohio, where Stanton was born, and slave Virginia, just across the Ohio River from Stanton’s birthplace. So, another source to include in the bibliography, not one that I had “in my sights” at any time before a few weeks ago.
As I look through the bibliography I am especially struck by the books that are NOT about the Civil War or Reconstruction. My book is richer, I think, because I have looked at lots of books about Ohio and California, places Stanton lived and worked, and used those to “bring to life” his life in those places. Stanton loved Dickens, and he actually met Dickens, late in his life, during the author’s second American tour. I was able to find, in the twelve volumes of published letters of Dickens, letters in which Dickens described Stanton, talked about Stanton’s remarkable memory for the words of Dickens. No other Stanton author has found this Dickens letter, and I am rather proud of this little item.