In the Developing Room’s first seminar, Professor Alan Trachtenberg (Yale University) discussed selections from his recent book, Lincoln’s Smile and Other Enigmas (Hill and Wang, 2007).
On Lincoln's Smile (Hill and Wang, 2007)
Alan Trachtenberg has always been interested in cultural artifacts that register meanings and feelings that Americans share even when they disagree about them. Some of the most beloved ones—like the famous last photograph of Abraham Lincoln, taken at the time of his second inaugural—are downright puzzling, and it is their obscure, riddlelike aspects that draw his attention in the scintillating essays of Lincoln’s Smile and Other Enigmas. With matchless authority, Trachtenberg moves from daguerreotypes to literary texts to subjects as diverse as Louis Sullivan's Auditorium Building, the Brooklyn Bridge, and the early works of Lewis Mumford.