By Brett Stolpestad
The obituary for Richard N. Current in the New York Times follows the standard structure of an obituary. The lead follows the New York Times style, leading with the full name of the person who has died followed by an identifier that summarizes notable characteristics and achievements. In this case, the New York Times describes Richard N. Current as a Civil War historian whose work helped "demythologize" Abraham Lincoln and helped further legitimize Lincoln studies. The first paragraph also includes the time and place element as well as the age at which Current died.
The New York Times uses primarily family and colleagues of Current as sources. For the circumstances of his death, they cite his wife, Marcia Ewing Current. For other information about his characteristics and accomplishments, they site other professional historians and former colleagues.
The news value of this story are found in the impact of Current's accomplishments as well his age at the time of his death. He was 100 years old before he died of complication's from Parkinson's disease, his wife said. But what is also newsworthy is Current's influence on the study of Lincoln and the Civil War. Current wrote, co-wrote and published a number of titles on Lincoln and the civil war. Current was one of the leaders in the field during the 1960s. The story of the Civil War and Lincoln is still being told in many different ways today. Current was one of the ones who brought Lincoln studies to the forefront of a new generation of scholars.