Abraham Lincoln Institute Fifth Annual Symposium (Library of Congress, Thomas Jefferson Buidling, Coolidge Auditorium, Saturday, March 16, 2002 from 9am-5pm - The Latest in Lincoln Scholarship

John R. Sellers


Dr. John R. Sellers is the Historical Specialist on the American Civil War and the Lincoln Curator at the Library of Congress. Dr. Sellers began his career at the Library in June 1969, working first with the locating and identifying manuscript sources in the Library on the American Revolution, and since 1982, the American Civil War. He has written and spoken widely on both 18th and 19th century military history, and he has served as curator on several major historical exhibitions, most notably, the history of the United States Constitution, the U. S. Congress, and the political geography of the U. S. Congress. His exhibit on the U.S. Constitution was reproduced in facsimile for the United States Supreme Court following the viewing at the Library of Congress. His publications include The Virginia Continental Line (Virginia Bicentennial Commission, 1975) "The Common Soldier in the American Revolution," (United States Air Force Academy, 1976), Manuscript Sources in the Library of Congress for Research on the American Revolution (GPO, 1975), Maps and Charts of North America and the West Indies, 1750-1789 (GPO, 1981), and "Northern Soldiers Meet the Freedman" (University of Maine, 1993). Dr. Sellers is best known among Civil War enthusiasts for his award winning resource guide: Civil War Manuscripts: A Guide to Collections in the Manuscript Division of the Library of Congress (GPO, 1986). Publications in progress are "Lincoln's Washington: the Diary of Horatio Nelson Taft," and "John G. Nicolay." Dr. Sellers is currently working on a book on Washington during the Lincoln Administration.

Since 1985, Dr. Sellers has served as the resource person at the Library of Congress on the American Civil War and Lincoln historiography. He is a recognized expert on the authentication and evaluation of Lincoln autographs, and he is particularly knowledgeable on the history of the Gettysburg Address and the Emancipation Proclamation. Dr. Sellers has acquired hundreds of documents for the Library of Congress, both by gift and purchase, relating to the Civil War and the Reconstruction.

During the last decade Dr. Sellers has made the acquaintance and often gained the friendship of many Civil War and Lincoln scholars. He has provided assistance to such accomplished writers as Doris Kearns Goodwin, Michael Fellman, Lee Kennett, Jack Waugh, David Long, Michael Burlingame, Geoffery Perret, James I. Robertson, Rodney Davis, Douglas Wilson, and Alan Guelzo.

Since the Internet gained acceptance as an educational tool, Dr. Sellers has assisted in the award and implementation of a contract between the Library of Congress and the Lincoln Studies Center at Knox College, IL, to digitize and annotate all of the incoming and outgoing correspondence of President Abraham Lincoln. When the project is complete, Lincoln students and scholars around the world will be able to read and download the writings and the images of the Great Emancipator. Dr. Sellers is also involved in parallel digital programs in Civil War history with West Point Military Academy and the National Archives and Records Administration.

Dr. Sellers appears with some frequency on the History Channel, C-Span, and related programs for commentary on the life and writings of Abraham Lincoln, Grover Cleveland, Benjamin Harrison, and various Civil War generals. With the popularity of President Lincoln, he handles written and oral questions from around the world concerning the career and accomplishments of the 16th President.

Dr. Sellers is the current president of the Lincoln Institute of the Mid-Atlantic. In that capacity he had help to organize several symposia on the latest in Lincoln research. These symposia have been held at the Library of Congress, the National Archives and Records Administration, and the Smithsonian Institution.

Dr. Sellers holds the Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Divinity degrees from Florida State University and the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, respectively, and the Master of Arts and Doctor of Philosophy degrees from Tulane University.

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