Nicolay, John G.

Born: 1832-02-26 Essingen, Bavaria

Died: 1901-09-26 Washington, D.C.

Nicolay and his family migrated to the United States in 1838. Over the next few years, they lived in Louisiana, Ohio, Indiana, and Missouri before settling in Pike County, Illinois. Nicolay briefly worked as a clerk before becoming a typesetter for the Free Press in Pittsfield, Illinois. He assumed the editorship of the paper in 1854 but sold it in 1856 and moved to Springfield, Illinois, where he clerked for the Illinois secretary of state. A Republican, Nicolay worked closely with Abraham Lincoln and became his private secretary during the 1860 presidential election. Nicolay also convinced Lincoln to appoint John Hay, who Nicolay had met in Pittsfield, as his assistant secretary. When Lincoln became president, he took Nicolay and Hay to Washington, where they continued to serve as his secretaries and became intimately acquainted with Lincoln and his family. In 1864, Lincoln appointed Nicolay as consul to Paris, France.

Daniel Hamilton, "Nicolay, John George," American National Biography (New York: Oxford University Press, 1999), 16:412-13; Joshua Zeitz, Lincoln's Boys: John Hay, John Nicolay, and the War for Lincoln's Image (New York: Viking, 2014), 12-22; Michael Burlingame, ed., Abraham Lincoln: The Observations of John G. Nicolay and John Hay (Carbondale: Southern Illinois University, Press, 2007), 17-27; Helen Nicolay, Lincoln's Secretary: A Biography of John G. Nicolay (New York: Longmans, Green, 1949), 3-248.