Angle, Paul

Born: December 25, 1900
Died: May 11, 1975

Ohio connection: Birth


Abraham Lincoln scholar and historian Paul McClelland Angle was born in Mansfield in 1900. He was a student at Oberlin College and graduated from Miami University (1922), majoring in history and political science. He earned a master’s degree at the University of Illinois. In order to pay off debts, Angle worked temporarily as a steelworker, insurance salesman, and representative of the American Book Company. In 1925, he was recommended for the post of executive secretary of the Lincoln Centennial Association in Springfield, Illinois. He won national acclaim in 1929 when he declared that letters between Lincoln and Ann Rutledge, published in the Atlantic Monthly, were a hoax. More and more scholars supported his position; and the magazine finally admitted that the correspondence had been fabricated. Angle’s analysis was printed in the April 1929 issue. In 1932, Angle was appointed historian of the Illinois State Library and became secretary of the Illinois State Historical Society. During his tenure, the Illinois State Historical Library acquired the largest collection of pre-presidential Lincoln materials and also one of the five existing copies of the “Gettysburg Address” in Lincoln’s handwriting. In 1945, Angle became director and secretary of the Chicago Historical Society. His credits show an impressive number of books and articles relating to Lincoln and occasionally on other subjects. Paul McClellan Angle died May 11, 1975 at age 74.

Litt.D., Augustana College, 1941; LL.D., Knox College, 1944; L.H.D., Illinois College, 1947; other honorary degrees from Lake Forest College and Miami University, Oxford, OH.