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The Man Who Killed Lincoln

PDF Philip Van Doren Stern was an American author, editor, and Civil War historian whose story "The Greatest Gift," published in 1943, inspired the classic Christmas film It's a Wonderful Life (1946).

Philip Van Doren Stern was born in Wyalusing, Pennsylvania into a family of humble means. His Pennsylvania-born father was a traveling merchant of Bavarian descent, who came to Wyalusing from West Virginia with his New Jersey-born wife. Stern grew up in Brooklyn, New York and New Jersey, and graduated from Rutgers University.

After graduating from Rutgers in 1924, Philip Van Doren Stern worked in advertising before switching to a career as a designer and editor in publishing.

He was a historian and author of some 40 books and editor most known for his books on the Civil War[1] that a New York Times obituary called "authoritative" and "widely respected by scholars". As an editor, he worked at Pocket Books, Simon & Schuster, and Alfred A. Knopf.[1] He compiled and annotated short story collections and the writings and letters of Abraham Lincoln, Edgar Allan Poe, and Henry David Thoreau.

During World War II, he was a member of the planning board of the United States Office of War Information. He was the general manager of Editions for the Armed Services, which resized popular books so Americans serving in the military could store them in the pockets of their uniforms.[1] He compiled and edited many collections and anthologies of short stories, pictorial books, annotations, and books on historical subjects.

Stern edited, compiled, and introduced The Viking Portable Poe in 1945, a compact collection of letters, short stories, poems, and essays by Edgar Allan Poe. Stern wrote the biographical introduction to the collection, selected the contents included, and wrote introductory essays on the varying genres. The collection became a standard single-volume anthology of Poe's works for almost fifty years.

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