Cast & Crew
John M. Stahl
The first of the four sections, My Mother: The Spirit Man , deals with the young Lincoln's relationship to his mother Nancy Hanks, who taught him how to read and write and who shaped his values, and with his reactions to her death. The second section, My Father: The Physical Man , shows the efforts of Tom Lincoln, Abraham's father, to stop his son's education, and how he relents after Abraham's literacy saves the family farm from a swindle engineered by Carter, a malevolent neighbor. [No information has been discovered on the plot of the third section, Myself: The Lincoln Man .] The fourth section, The Call to Arms , depicts the political pressures on Lincoln at the beginning of the Civil War in 1861, emphasizing Lincoln's determination to preserve the Union. [Either Myself: The Lincoln Man or The Call to Arms contains an episode in which Lincoln's two children play hooky, then ask Lincoln to shelter them from their mother's punishment. All the sections are presented as stories told by President Lincoln from the White House.]
John M. Stahl
Chapin, who was well known as a Lincoln scholar and impersonator, made seven two reel films, based on incidents from Lincoln's life, that were known as The Lincoln Cycle and were distributed separately, probably in April 1917. The first four of these shorts played together as a feature at New York's Strand Theatre beginning on May 27, 1917, and May have been distributed as a feature to a limited extent. The four shorts that constituted the feature The Lincoln Cycle were titled My Mother: The Spirit Man; My Father: The Physical Man; Myself: The Lincoln Man; and The Call to Arms: Humanity's Man. In 1918 Famous Players-Lasky distributed ten Chapin shorts on Lincoln's life, including the seven that were distributed in 1917, under the series title The Son of Democracy; some of the original titles of the shorts were altered for the 1918 release. The copyright holdings credit Chapin with the direction, as well as the production and the writing, of two of the shorts that were added to the series in 1918, but both contemporary and modern sources credit Stahl with the direction of the films known as The Lincoln Cycle. There is some doubt as to whether Charter Features Corp. is the film's distributor, its producer, or both; Chapin was the company's president and director, and Miss Lucile Chapin, his chief assistant, according to a company ad. The first name of the cinematographer identified as Freyer has not been determined, and the spelling of Freyer has not been verified.