Scholars Series: David Gerleman on Benjamin Brown French

The United States Capitol Historical Society is pleased to present Dr. David J. Gerleman (George Mason University) on Wednesday, May 27 at noon EDT. Gerleman is the next speaker in our online Scholars Series. His presentation, “Lincoln’s Majordomo: Benjamin Brown French and Civil War Washington,” is free and open to all (please tell all your friends know about it!), though you must register to join the Zoom webinar.

As Commissioner of Public Buildings from 1861-1867, B. B. French witnessed some of the most stirring and heart-rending events of the Lincoln administration. Period photographs and insightful snippets from his voluminous journals spanning forty years of Washington life will give audiences an intimate view of the era by one of the 19th century’s most sharp-eyed political observers.


David J. Gerleman is an Abraham Lincoln scholar and nineteenth century historian at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia. An emeritus assistant editor of The Papers of Abraham Lincoln, Gerleman helped lead the project’s decade-long search effort at the National Archives and is the only scholar worldwide to have uncovered over 100 previously unknown autographed Lincoln documents. Gerleman has received distinguished fellowships from the John L. Nau III Center for the Study of the American Civil War at the University of Virginia, the Massachusetts Historical Society, the Center for Civil War Studies at Virginia Polytechnic University, the Kentucky Historical Society, the Gilder-Lehrman Institute of American History, and the U.S. Military Historical Institute. He is currently a research fellow at the Virginia Museum of History & Culture and National Sporting Library and Museum. His most recent publication, “Attuned to the Past: The Civil War Legacies of the Parton Brothers of Sevier County, Tennessee,” won the McClung Award for best article in Journal of East Tennessee History. His forthcoming article “Put Crepe on Your Hat: The 1864 Burning of the Lincoln White House Stables” will be published in the White House History Quarterly.