Lincoln expert Gerleman named Fulbright scholar


David J. Gerleman, adjunct faculty in the Department of History and Art History at George Mason University, has been selected as a recipient of a 2024-25 Fulbright Scholar Award. He will teach two courses at the University of Debrecen, one of Hungary's most prestigious higher education institutions.

Gerleman with Lincoln portrait
David J. Gerleman. Photo provided

Gerleman, an Abraham Lincoln expert and 19th-century American historian specializing in the Civil War era, served for a decade as an editor for The Papers of Abraham Lincoln Project. One of the nation’s most prolific discoverers of unknown Lincoln documents, he has appeared on multiple media outlets discussing Lincoln and Civil War topics.

“We tend to think of Lincoln as an insular American historic figure when he actually has global relevance," Gerleman said. "I also hope to convey to non-American audiences why his image still looms so large in our national consciousness and why U.S. election cycles are never complete without politicians of all stripes seeking to ‘get right with Lincoln.’"

Gerleman developed two courses he will teach at the University of Debrecen—Abraham Lincoln in American History and Memory, and U.S. Diplomatic History, 1776–1920—during his time at Mason. The Lincoln course will utilize his original document research similar to that highlighted in his recent Washington Post article, which established a previously unknown link between Abraham Lincoln and President Biden and sparked global attention.

Péter Csató, chair of the University of Debrecen’s North American Department, is looking forward to hosting Gerleman. “His expertise in 19th-century American history will contribute significantly to our students’ in-depth knowledge and understanding of this highly important period of U.S. history, and historian colleagues in the department would also benefit greatly from discussions and consultations with him. We are all thrilled to work with him.”

The Fulbright Program, the flagship international academic exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government, has fostered mutual understanding between the United States and other countries since 1946. The program provides awards to approximately 8,000 students, scholars, teachers, artists, and professionals each year from the United States and 160 countries.