March 28, 2011
Follow me on Twitter

Spatial Hypertext in 1864

by Charles Bracelen Flood

Tinderbox fans will find a familiar note on this recollection, by Noah Brooks, of Lincoln’s method of drafting his 1864 Message To Congress. From 1864: Lincoln At The Gates Of History .

It may be a matter of interest to know the the whole of the … message exists, or did exist, upon slips of pasteboard or boxboard. It is a favorite habit of the President, when writing anything requiring thought, to have a number of these slips of board near at hand and, seated at ease in his armchair, he lays the slip upon his knee and writes and rewrites in pencil what is afterward copied in his own hand with new changes and interlineations.

Then, being “set up“ by the printer with big “slugs” in place of “leads”, spaces of half an inch are left between each line in the proof. More corrections and interlineations are made, and from this patchwork the document is finally set up and printed.