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LIVE from the NYPL: LINCOLN'S MELANCHOLY: POWER & DEPRESSION Former First Lady Rosalynn Carter and Joshua Wolf Shenk


November 29, 2005

First Lady Rosalynn Carter and Joshua Wolf Shenk, author of the new book, Lincoln's Melancholy: How Depression Challenged a President and Fueled His Greatness, discuss Lincoln's struggles and triumphs - and the surprising confluence of private pain and public leadership. Seen by his contemporaries as a crucial aspect of his life and character, Lincoln's lifelong depression has lurked in the shadows of history for generations. Now this dark subject is coming into the light and, with it, vital lessons about the poignant realities and potential of people living with mental illness. First Lady Rosalynn Carter and Joshua Wolf Shenk will address the stigma still associated with depression and how we might overcome that stigma.



About Rosalynn Carter:

Former First Lady Rosalynn Carter has worked for more than three decades to improve the quality of life for people around the world. Today, she is an advocate for mental health, early childhood immunization, human rights, and conflict resolution through her work at The Carter Center in Atlanta. The center is a private, not-for-profit institution founded by former President and Mrs. Jimmy Carter in 1982.

A full partner with the president in all the center's activities, the former first lady is a member of The Carter Center Board of Trustees. She created and chairs the Carter Center's Mental Health Task Force, an advisory body of experts, consumers, and advocates promoting positive change in the mental health field. Each year, she hosts the Rosalynn Carter Symposium on Mental Health Policy, bringing together leaders of the nation's mental health organizations to address critical issues. Mrs. Carter emerged as a driving force for mental health when, during the Carter administration, she became active honorary chair of the President's Commission on Mental Health, which resulted in passage of the Mental Health Systems Act of 1980.

About Joshua Wolf Shenk:

Joshua Wolf Shenk is the author of Lincoln's Melancholy: How Depression Challenged a President and Fueled His Greatness. The book was previewed by Shenk's July 2005 cover story in Time Magazine and adapted as a cover story in the October 2005 Atlantic Monthly. Newsman Mike Wallace describes Shenk's analysis as "an extraordinary story, both for the depth of its scholarship and the lure of its style."

Shenk's work has also appeared in Harper's Magazine, The New Yorker, The New York Times, and other publications. He is a contributing editor to The Washington Monthly and a member of the writing faculty at the the New School University.

Shenk began his work on Lincoln's depression as a Rosalynn Carter Fellow in Mental Health Journalism at the Carter Center. His other honors include a fellowship at the New York Foundation for the Arts in non-fiction literature and residencies at the MacDowell Colony, Yaddo, and the Blue Mountain Center.