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Tuesday, December 20, 1859.+-

Springfield, IL.

Lincoln writes to his friend Jesse W. Fell of Normal, Illinois. Fell prompted Lincoln to provide an autobiography that could be used to promote Lincoln's political career. Lincoln writes, "Herewith is a little sketch . . . There is not much of it, for the reason, I suppose, that there is not much of me. If any thing be made out of it, I wish it to be modest, and not to go beyond the material." Of his early years in Indiana, Lincoln recalls, "It was a wild region, with many bears and other wild animals still in the woods . . . There were some schools, so called; but no qualification was ever required of a teacher, beyond ' readin, writin, andcipherin' . . . If a straggler supposed to understand latin, happened to sojourn in the neighborhood, he was looked upon as a wizzard." Abraham Lincoln to Jesse W. Fell, Enclosing Autobiography, 20 December 1859, CW, 3:511-12.