The Hammer and the Anvil

In fall of 2013, residents of Hamilton and Wenham were invited to read The Hammer and the Anvil, a dual biography of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln.

The Book

book cover

In The Hammer and the Anvil, author Dwight Jon Zimmerman and artist Wayne Vansant recreate the turbulent era of American history that culminated in the Civil War through the lives of two pivotal figures: Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln. Douglass, an escaped slave and brilliant orator, railed against the inequities of human bondage, while Lincoln used his time as a state legislator to try to curb the westward expansion of slavery.

Although the two men had their differences, they had experiences in common as well, and were ultimately united by the same cause. Their dynamic personalities, motives and efforts are skillfully portrayed in this engrossing historical graphic novel.

Reserve your copy of The Hammer and the Anvil today!

Related Events

On October 10th, 2013, we watched Full Metal Corset, a History Channel documentary that explores the stories of women who disguised themselves as men and enlisted to fight on both sides during the Civil War.

Librarian and genealogist Connie Reik went Beyond Pension Files on October 8th in her illustrated talk about federal publication and documents from and about the Civil War. She discussed a broad spectrum of resources that people can use to discover their civil war ancestors, some of which she used to uncover a story about one of her own ancestors.

On October 10th, local historian, author and teacher Scott Jewell presented on Local Boys Off to War, telling about the experiences and lives of area soldiers during the Civil War as revealed in primary source materials.

In Looking Deeper, on October 16th, Kevin O’Reilly (of History Fair fame) moderated a lively panel discussion with Dr. David Goss from Gordon College and Salem State University’s Dr. Bethany Jay, exploring the themes of standing exhibits on loan to the library.

The detailed Letters of Pvt. Ira P. Knowleton, preserved in a small metal box for decades, describe the adventures, and some horrors, of his enlistment. Local historian and author Annette Janes, together with Butch Crosby, President of the Hamilton Historical Society, gave their presentation on the letters on October 22nd.

On October 23rd, South Coast Historical Associates took their audience into the Lives of Civil War Soldiers & Civilians, using replica firearms and original artifacts such as medical devices, battle flags and everyday items to create an interactive and engaging experience for ages 10+ and adults.

Since the early 18th century, both slaves and free blacks have been part of Beverly history. On October 24th, in Slavery to Freedom: Blacks in Early Beverly, Beverly Historical Society’s Terri McFadden shared their stories as gleaned from personal accounts, court records and city documents.

The library held rare extended hours on Sunday, October 27th for a special presentation: Civil War Photography in 3-D. The Civil War represents the first generation of photojournalism; many famous pictures were shot with stereo cameras, and photo gallery exhibitions brought the war home to people like never before. Combining the stereo camera photography of the 1860s with the 3D cinema technology of the 1950s, presenter John Wojtowicz showed us these amazing images as they were meant to be seen!

Montserrat College of Art professor Adam Miller presented Word Bubbles and Thought Balloons: The Graphic Novel as an Art Form on November 5th, lecturing on the history of comics and graphic novels, followed by a survey of the artistic styles and subgenres, from fantasy to autobiography and historical nonfiction, that make up this growing, evolving art and literary form. He also discussed his own experience and perspective as a creator in the comics industry, what it means to be “successful” in comics, and how to achieve that success.

On November 7 the library closed early for all to convene at Gordon College, where Dwight Jon Zimmerman, Keynote Speaker for our 2013 Community Read, signed copies of The Hammer and the Anvil, then took the lectern for a fascinating author discussion of the research and the creative process that went into making the book. He also shared his personal story and insights as a writer of comic books and graphic novels.

Dwight Jon Zimmerman

Learn More About the Author

Dwight Jon Zimmerman is an award-winning author and producer who has written extensively on military-history subjects for American Heritage, the Naval Institute Press, Vietnam Magazine, and numerous military-themed publications, including one previous work of collaboration with renowned illustrator Wayne Vansant: The Vietnam War: A Graphic History.

Zimmerman lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Brought To You By…

Major funding by the Library of America, the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, and by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.