For the Union

About the Book 

On February 11, 1860, the first published biography of Abraham Lincoln appeared on the front page of The Chester County Times. This biography, written and published at what is now called The Lincoln Building in downtown West Chester, is said to have influenced one million voters and propelled Lincoln towards the presidency.

In For the Union, author Malcolm Johnstone tells the story of how this biography came about to forever change the American political landscape. Follow the extraordinary story of how Quaker abolition, a hanging, a slave riot, and a small newspaper in West Chester set the stage to launch Lincoln’s quest for the presidency.

The building where this historic publication took place is currently owned and operated by the Community Foundation.

Order A Deluxe Hardback – $75

Order A Paperback – $20

About the Author

Malcolm Johnstone has been involved with downtown revitalization and historic preservation efforts for over 35 years. He was among the first to be Certified in Professional Downtown Management by the National Main Street Center. A regular speaker at local, regional, and national conferences, Malcolm enjoys sharing his knowledge of local history and downtown development.

Malcolm is a graduate of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music where he studied classical guitar and composition. His passion for music has resulted in several guitar recordings and performances of his theatrical musicals.

Malcolm has authored numerous articles for Main Line Today, County Lines Magazine, West Chester Fig, and WC Press. He has also written a number of blog posts at on the rich history of Pennsylvania’s Brandywine Valley.

If you are interested in having Malcolm speak at your event or meeting, please contact

Articles & Publications

Click here to read an article Malcolm wrote for County Lines Magazine about the historic Lincoln Room (March 2022)

Click here to read an article Malcolm wrote for County Lines Magazine about Juneteenth (June 2021).

Click here for a Q&A with Malcolm about Juneteenth and his book, For the Union (June 2021).

Book Reviews

“Stories of community leaders and their roles in propelling Lincoln to the presidency give texture to the history in For The Union. There are conversations between Lincoln and former Chester Countians, like Jesse Fell and Joseph Lewis, who had an office at the Lincoln Building and gathered autobiographical material for the biography.”

– County Lines Magazine, February 2020. Read the full article here.

“I finished reading Malcolm’s book today and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I thought he did an excellent job of organizing the material so that someone like me, who knew very little of the story before reading the book, could follow it easily. I felt transported back into those times while I was reading. I also really liked all of the illustrations. I found the ambrotype of Lincoln to be haunting, one of the best images I have seen of him. Lincoln’s personality comes through in the book. I had never read the biography, and that was quite interesting. It was such a pleasure to learn so much of the history of our area.”

– Denise Carr