Trying to find contact details for Jon Wynne-Tyson of Centaur Press
September 9, 2014 6:47 AM   Subscribe

I used a quote in a greeting card but when I delved deeper I could not find a source for the quote. It is supposedly by Abraham Lincoln and it is: "I am in favor of animal rights as well as human rights. That is the way of a whole human being."

I wrote to the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation in Springfield, Illinois and I asked them for the origin of the quote.

They said the earliest reference they had found was in a book published in England in 1985. The book was 'The Extended Circle: A Dictionary of Humane Thought'.

In the book, the editor Jon Wynne-Tyson says the quote comes from 'The Complete Works of Abraham Lincoln'.

Mt Hunt said team at the ALPLF searched all twelve volumes of the complete works and could not find the quote.

So where did it come from? Did they miss it? Is the quote from somewhere else?

Jon Wynne-Tyson is the founder of Centaur Press. According to Wikipedia he was born in 1924. I tried to find an address to write to him, but no luck. And Centaur Press was sold in 1998, so that's a dead end too.

He may have passed away, but if he is around I'd like to ask him whether he knows of a source for the quote that escaped the Collected Works.

So I am trying to trace his whereabouts so I can ask him.
posted by Quillcards to Writing & Language (6 answers total)
Have you read this article asking the same question? The author has tried to find the same origins and turned up nothing too
posted by MarvinJ at 7:20 AM on September 9, 2014 [2 favorites]

His autobiography was published by Michael Russell Publishing. Their mailing and email addresses are at the bottom of this page. You could see if they have contact info for him.
posted by interplanetjanet at 7:28 AM on September 9, 2014 [1 favorite]

It's highly likely the quote was never said by Abraham Lincoln. A quick search of the databases confirms what your source said: the quote pops up in the mid-1980s in obscure sources with nothing before that.

Given that Lincoln has been a figure of study since his death, it's highly unlikely -- like, as close to impossible as to operate as if it were impossible -- that he said it or wrote it. There are no obscure Lincoln quotes at this point.

It is said in some circles (where librarians, speechwriters reference-book publishers, historians and language buffs intersect) that quotes are misattributed to Lincoln (and Twain) by default when the original speaker can't be remembered.

But ask the folks at Quote Investigator to help. They're top-notch talents.
posted by Mo Nickels at 9:38 AM on September 9, 2014

I should add that it's the gap in the historical record which makes this quote highly unlikely. It doesn't happen with a big public figure like Lincoln. You would have a continuous trail of the quote back to the original source.
posted by Mo Nickels at 9:42 AM on September 9, 2014

Nothing in the quote sounds like it came from the 19th century. Was "human rights" even a phrase back then? In the post-Enlightenment, people spoke rather of the "rights of man".

Similarly, "animal rights" is not a phrase that I think Lincoln would have used.

The "quote" was probably made up and just attributed to Lincoln. If it came from any statesman in the past 150 years, it would probably be Adolf Hitler. Hitler was into animal rights.

Jon Wynne-Tyson's last book was published by Michael Russel Publishing Ltd. This webpage:

lists the following contact information for Michael Russel Publishing Ltd.:

Michael Russell Publishing Ltd, Wilby Hall, Wilby, Norwich NR16 2JP. E-mail:

They may have contact info for Wynne-Tyson.

But the quote almost certainly did not originate with Lincoln.
posted by jingzuo at 4:27 PM on September 9, 2014

Response by poster: Thank you to everyone who responded. I have written to Michael Russell Publishing. I'll close this and mark as resolved.
posted by Quillcards at 1:10 AM on September 10, 2014

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