Dirck's new book earns him Benjamin Barondess Award

Mon, 2008-02-11 08:05 -- univcomm
February 11, 2008

History Professor Brian Dirck will receive the 2008 Benjamin Barondess Award for his latest book, Lincoln the Lawyer, on Feb. 13 in New York City.

The Benjamin Barondess Award was established in 1960 by the Civil War Round Table to honor persons or institutions for their contribution to the greater appreciation of the life and works of Abraham Lincoln. Mr. Barondess was a distinguished charter member and former vice president of the Civil War Round Table of New York. The award, in the form of a copy of a bust of Lincoln, is presented annually at the February meeting of the Round Table.

"I was surprised, and very gratified," said Dirck. "The Barondess Award in the past has been given to some of the leading scholars in my field, like Doris Kearns Goodwin. It was very humbling to keep that sort of company."

Dirck said that Lincoln the Lawyer offers a broad overview of Abraham Lincoln's legal career, which spanned twenty-five years and generated thousands of cases: everything from debt collection and bankruptcy to divorce and murder trials. It addresses the nuts-and-bolts of his practice, his daily routines and the effect of his law practice on his political career and his personality.

It is one of the first comprehensive studies of Lincoln's practice to appear in the last forty years according to Dirck. Lincoln's law practice has been a relatively neglected facet of his career, because most people think, at first glance, that it doesn't offer much in the way of insight or interest.

"I believe this is not true," Dirck said. "We can learn a great deal about Lincoln by studying the primary means he used to earn a living."

Dirck is an associate professor of history at AU and has published five books, including Lincoln & Davis: Imaging America. He is currently working on a new study of Lincoln and race.

Anderson University is a private Christian university of 2,700 undergraduate and graduate students in central Indiana. Anderson continues to be recognized as a top Christian college: in 2008, U.S. News and World Report ranked Anderson University among the best colleges and universities in the Midwest for the fourth consecutive year. Established in 1917 by the Church of God, Anderson University offers more than 60 undergraduate majors and graduate programs in business, education, music, nursing and theology.