Presidential Historian and Lincoln Authority Steven Lee Carson Dies at 66

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Steven Lee Carson, 66, a former archivist and editor who became a historian and lecturer on presidential history, notably as an authority on the life of President Abraham Lincoln, died March 27 at his home in Silver Spring after a heart attack.

During the past few years, he was a presidential historian at the Woodrow Wilson House. He spent his early career at the National Archives as well as writing for and editing the Manuscript Society News and other publications aimed at librarians, archivists and curators.

He wrote a play about Robert Todd Lincoln, the only child of Abraham and Mary Todd Lincoln to live into adulthood. The play was staged in the mid-1980s at Ford's Theatre.

Mr. Carson chaired a conference on presidential children as well as a National Press Club conference on covering White House families. He was a past president of the Lincoln Group of the District of Columbia, a historical society, and a board member of the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission. Over the years, he led tours of Washington's historical landmarks.

Mr. Carson was a New York native and as a young man attended with his mother meetings of the Civil War Round Table there. He was an American history graduate of New York University, where he was granted a Ford Foundation fellowship. He received a master's degree in American history from Johns Hopkins University, where he was awarded another fellowship.

His wife, Yvonne D. Carson, died in the mid-1970s.

Survivors include his mother, Mattie Carson of New York; and a brother.

-- Adam Bernstein

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