Stuff from Lincoln’s pockets, and about this blog

Welcome to the study of history in Mr. Darrell’s classroom at Molina High School, Dallas, Texas.

This site will help students understand and appreciate world history, have some fun in studying the material, and provide help in preparing for the tests in the course, for the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS), and for the SAT and ACT.  Students who pay attention and engage the material will emerge better prepared for the roles they will play as residents and citizens of the nation, as well-informed voters, and as parents.

Pictured in the header: The contents of President Abraham Lincoln’s pockets on the night he was shot. Photo from the Library of Congress, America’s Story section.

Do you carry money or a favorite photo in your pocket? How about eyeglasses? The things we carry often hold clues to who we are and what’s important to us. When Abraham Lincoln was assassinated on April 14, 1865, at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, D.C., he had all the things you see in this picture in his pockets.

On that night, Lincoln was carrying two pairs of eyeglasses, a lens polisher, a pocketknife, a linen handkerchief, a watch fob, a brown leather wallet with a $5 Confederate note, and nine newspaper clippings. You might carry some of the same things today–eyeglasses and a wallet are pretty common–but you probably don’t have a $5 Confederate note in your pocket.

The Library of Congress teamed with the History Channel to produce this film on these items:

The photo in the masthead also includes a newspaper reporting President Lincoln’s assassination.

About Mr. Darrell

Ed Darrell at the Presidential Podium (mockup, at George H. W. Bush Library), 2011

Mr. Darrell at the (mock) Presidential Podium

Mr. Darrell comes to high school education late, with a wealth of experience in government at the federal, state and local levels, and rather deep experience in working in and consulting for large corporations in legal matters, management and travel.  He spent his childhood and youth in small towns in Idaho and Utah.  Mr. Darrell holds a B.S. in Mass Communication from the University of Utah, Salt Lake City, and a J.D. with emphasis in environmental protection and land development from the National Law Center at George Washington University in Washington, D.C.  Mr. Darrell also did graduate work in rhetoric and speech communication at the University of Arizona, Tucson, where he taught Business and Professional Communication and coached with the award-winning debate team.

Mr. Darrell’s work experience includes years with the U.S. Senate Staff, where he worked for Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), and held positions on Judiciary Committee and Labor and Human Resources Committee staff (now Health, Education, Labor and Pensions).  He directed the creation of the first Senate committee press operation, at Labor and Human Resources after 1981.  In the executive branch, Mr. Darrell was public affairs director for the President’s Commission on Americans Outdoors, chaired by then-Tennessee Gov. Lamar Alexander, and Director of Information Services for the Department of Education at the Office of Educational Research and Improvement (OERI), which made him the publisher of education research for the Department.  In private business, Mr. Darrell served as real estate counsel for AMR Corporation, the parent of American Airlines, manager in the Transportation Group in the national consulting practice at Ernst & Young, LLP, and as a due diligence coordinator for PrimeCo PCS, and then Real Estate Manager after PrimeCo was absorbed into the partnership operating as Verizon Wireless.   He also maintained a solo law practice.

In addition to federal government positions, Mr. Darrell served on the Utah Wilderness Commission in the 1970s, and the Beltwoods Management Commission in Maryland, in the 1980s.  He served on the Duncanville, Texas, Sign Board, and Planning and Zoning Commission.  He was active in student government in high school and college, and was a member of the Faculty Senates at the University of Utah and the University of Arizona.  He has been active in PTAs at elementary, middle, and high schools.  He remains an active Scouter, now in the Wisdom Trail District of Circle 10 Council, BSA,  as membership committee chairman.  Mr. Darrell was awarded the Silver Beaver in 2009.    Mr. Darrell and his wife, Kathryn, have two sons, one graduated from  the University of Texas at Dallas now working on a second degree, and one at Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin.  They reside in Dallas with their border setter Buddy, dachsund-plus Peanut, and cat Luna Lovegood.

In Texas, Mr. Darrell has taught business ethics and business law at local universities.  He is certified to teach grades 8-12 in social studies, and has taught economics, U.S. history, world history, street law, and psychology.


  1. am a children’s author with a new website for kids called MEET ME AT THE CORNER, Virtual Field Trips for Kids ( This free educational series of video podcasts are for kids by kids ages 7-12. We have a new episode up about the 400th Anniversary of Henry Hudson’s Voyage. Would you review our site and consider adding our link to your resources for children?

    Thank you,

    Donna Guthrie
    Phone: 858-775-9607

  2. you should have stuff about assyria (the nation) :]

  3. Very inneresting!

  4. Very impressive, I never would’ve guessed that Mr. Darrell was such an accomplished man.

    • It always pays to do your homework on your opponents, and on your friends. For your opponents, you need to prepare; for your friends, you need to know what resources they have, and where and how to compliment them, and promote them to others.

      I learned that Mario can do some sleuthing and research — good things to know about students in history.

  5. Mr. Darrell, do you know of anybody giving courses on US constitutional studies in the Dallas area? I’m not interested in getting more college credits, just want to be well informed.

  6. Free University type of stuff? No, I’m not aware of any quality programs.

    I’d wager the history departments at SMU, TCU, UNT (don’t forget the Dallas campus), U of Dallas, UT Arlington, UT Dallas, and maybe a few others, offer a course in constitutional history. When I took the course at Utah, it was offered at 7:45 a.m. partly to allow members of the community to pick it up before work, under Prof. James Clayton, one of the great teachers of con history.

    I think among the best courses would be Con Law at SMU or TWU. But that would be difficult to get into (SMU has a night division, and since it’s a required course, it will be offered at night, probably at least once a year). In law school, the cases show the real controversies, not the talk radio crap.

    Probably your best bet is to hit the bookstore and library. I’ve been very fond of Sandy Levinson’s work — you might want to start with Our Undemocratic Constitution.

    It’s always good to get the basics, too. Anthony Lewis’s classic, Gideon’s Trumpet, is always a good place to start. Pauline Maier’s work on the convention in Philadelphia, how it worked and why, is fun to read, I think.

    What are your questions about the Constitution?

  7. Basically I’d like a firm understanding of the Constitution and amendments in their original form, then a study of the various legal cases that caused us to deviate so greatly from the original intent.

  8. i took the taks practice 2009 got 53 out of 55 miss two questions out of objective 3

  9. Was interesting know a little more about lincoln.

  10. Wow…i never thought Darrell was a Scout, nice going Mr.Darrell. Why did you have to regular history. I guess you could be better than “Dr.Smith” haha.There’s more than it meets the eyes.

  11. hey,(:
    this website is very informational.

  12. Awesome.. :D

  13. Lincoln was a bad—!

  14. This is chillin’. Lincoln carried a pocketknife? I carry one too.

    • But not at school, right?

  15. very impressive!

  16. awesome

  17. Wow, look at you Mr. Darrell!

  18. Thats great Mr.Darrell!
    What made you go from working with the governtment to working in a school distric?

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