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Soon after the assassination of President Lincoln in April 1865, newspaper editor Josiah Gilbert Holland traveled to Illinois to talk with people who had known Abraham Lincoln "back when". In 1866 Holland published the earliest full-scale life of the fallen leader. A great popular success, Holland's biography introduced American readers who were hungry for personal information about Lincoln's early life to some of the most famous and enduring Lincoln stories. From Holland the reader learned about Lincoln making restitution for a ruined book, the railsplitter earning his first silver dollar, the millhorse's kick to his head, the wrestling match with Jack Armstrong. Holland relayed homey stories about the young Illinois legislator and lawyer and poignant ones about the president during the dark days of the Civil War. Holland was one of the earliest biographers of Lincoln to insist that Lincoln had always opposed slavery and had planned consistently for emancipation. Most debatable, from the viewpoint of some later historians, was Holland's demonstration that Lincoln was "eminently a Christian President". To understand the sixteenth president and the making of his public image, it is necessary to begin with Holland's Life of Abraham Lincoln.