Paul Angle

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

Ohio connection: Birth


Author and historian Paul McClelland Angle was born on December 25, 1900 in Mansfield, OH. Angle was a noted Abraham Lincoln scholar who, in 1922,  graduated from Miami University in Ohio with a degree in history. 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 (now the Abraham Lincoln 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 Historical Library (now the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library). 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.

In 1947 Angle published The Lincoln Reader, perhaps his most popular book. Other books include: Abraham Lincoln: An Authentic Story of His Life (1926), Bloody Williamson: A Chapter in American Lawlessness (1952), By These Words; Great Documents of American Liberty, Selected and Placed in Their Contemporary Settings (1954), The American Reader: From Columbus to Today (1958 ), and  The great Chicago fire, October 8-10, 1871,  (1971).  He wrote an impressive number of  articles relating to Lincoln and his times. Paul McClelland Angle died on May 11, 1975 in Chicago. He was  74 years old.

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.