John L. Scripps

“The Short and Simple Annals of the Poor”

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Among the earliest newspaper men to arrive in Springfield after the Chicago convention was the late J. L. Scripps of the Chicago Tribune, who proposed to prepare a history of his life. Mr. Lincoln deprecated the idea of writing even a campaign biography. “Why, Scripps,” said he, it is a great piece of folly to attempt to make anything out of me or my early life. It can all be condensed into a single sentence, and that sentence you will find in Gray’s Elegy, The short and simple annals of the poor. That’s my life, and that’s all you or anyone else can make out of it.


Quoted in Herndon’s Lincoln: A True Story of a Great Life Written by William H. Herndon and Jesse W. Weik, ed. Herndon-1-07