“Three Rivers South: A Story of Young Abe Lincoln”

In honor of President’s Day (only a few days late!) we’re presenting Benton’s original illustrations used for “Three Rivers South: A Story of Young Abe Lincoln” (Virginia S. Eifert, Published in 1953 by Dodd, Mead & Company, New York).

The book follows Lincoln through his adventurous youth, long before he was president of the United States. The book offers this intriguing introduction: “In the spring of 1831, after the Lincoln family had survived the Winter of the Deep Snow, young Abe Lincoln was more than willing to accept an offer to pilot a flatboat full of produce down three rivers of middle America, from Sangamo Town to the roaring city of New Orleans. Although others went along, it was Abe Lincoln who planned everything, made the important decisions and avoided danger or fought it down all along the way.

[The author] knows the background of his trip. Against this she has dramatized one unforgettable adventure after another, each bringing out the character of the great and beloved American in light of his future principle achievements.”

Henry Adams reproduces the illustrations in his book Thomas Hart Benton: Drawing from Life. About the illustrations, Henry Adams writes:  “The imagery of these works, with their steamboats and river characters, resembles that of his earlier designs for Life on the Mississippi.  However they are far more polished, even a bit slick – rather in the manner of Benton’s late historical murals.”

View available drawings.

Three Rivers South

From the book: Virginia S. Eifert was born and grew up in Springfield, Illinois. Near here runs the Sangamon River, down which Abraham Lincoln once traveled via three rivers south to New Orleans. The endless fascination of these woods and waters of middle America prompted the writing of her distinguished book, Three Rivers South: A Story of Young Abe Lincoln.”

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