Abraham & Isaac

President Abraham Lincoln called soldiers like Private Isaac Taylor “my boys,” and they called him Father Abraham. But saving the Union required Father Abraham to send tens of thousands of Isaacs to fight and perhaps to die. In July 1863, the Civil War's bloodiest battle left 40,000 men dead or wounded. The president would honor their sacrifice in the Gettysburg Address even as he launched our young nation toward its future. Syd and his wife Adrienne created this story to honor the Lincoln bicentennial. See Syd perform excerpts from the story.

Voices of Gettysburg Follow Abraham, Isaac, and others day by day as their paths converge at Gettysburg. voicesofgettysburg.com On Lincoln's 200th birthday, Syd appeared on public television to discuss and perform a section of the story. Watch the 6-minute clip. To listen to the final track, "These dead shall not have died in vain" (11 minutes), please click here: Listen Syd and Adrienne wrote an article for Storytelling World about creating this story.
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“Well researched and beautifully presented. The seamless interweaving of personal history drawn from the diary of Isaac Taylor with the sweeping scope of the Civil War and all its horrors makes for a moving account of the events at this seminal moment of American history.”
—George Rogers, Director of Development, President Lincoln's Cottage at the Soldiers’ Home

“Enormously moving and beautifully done…a real contribution to the bicentennial that will live beyond it.”
—Harold Holzer, Co-Chair, Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission

“The theme of Father Abraham agonizing over the sacrifice of so many young men…and seeking in the Gettysburg Address to explain and justify their sacrifice is a powerful one.”
—James McPherson, Author of the Pulitzer-prize winning book, Battle Cry of Freedom

“Taylor’s diary is clearly a terrific source, and you capture very well the conditions and commitment of the loyal Union soldier.”
—Richard Carwardine, Professor at Oxford University and author of Lincoln: A Life of Purpose and Power

“A very powerful story, beautifully told, based on two men who rose to our nation's greatest challenge. Abraham Lincoln made me proud to be an American. Isaac Taylor and the First Minnesota Volunteers made me proud to be from Minnesota. There's more to us than lutefisk and frostbite.”
—Kevin Kling, author of The Dog Says How and regular contributor to NPR's All Things Considered

“Abraham and Isaac should be required listening for every eleventh grader in our country. You have created a masterful reminder of a piece of our history that must not be forgotten, and you have done it with a rare combination of historical accuracy and human compassion.”
—Kathryn Windham, storyteller, photographer, reporter, and author of 26 books

“Total silence filled the room after Lieberman delivered the last words. Then 400 people rose to their feet. The applause went on and on, giving vent to their deep emotional response. Abraham and Isaac: Sacrifice at Gettysburg is a masterpiece of research and performance.”
—Janet Low, Timpanogos Storytelling Festival Coordinator

2009 Storytelling World award for Storytelling Recordings

To purchase a recording of Abraham & Isaac, go to the Store

For information about a live performance, please contact Syd