Lincoln Legal Briefs

July 1987, Number 3

Two graduate interns joined the Lincoln Legal Papers Project in June. They are Laura Clower and Phil Tomlinson. Laura received her J.D. degree from the University of Illinois College of Law in June. She will work with the Project throughout the year as a legal researcher. In addition, she will assist in supervising the Illinois legal history seminar students in the anticipated courthouse document searches. Phil, a graduate student in History at Illinois State University, is working in the Springfield office. In addition to accessioning the Logan County case records, he has prepared a comprehensive list of citations to early court activity found in Illinois county histories.

William Beard has rejoined the project full-time after his temporary assignment with the Research Staff of the Historic Sites Division. He continues to accession the photostats obtained from the Lincoln legal files of the Historical Library.

In June I attended a two week Documentary Editing Institute sponsored by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission. In recent years, the institute has been held at the State Historical Society of Wisconsin on the University of Wisconsin campus in Madison. Some of the nation's leading documentary editors are brought in to discuss editorial matters. Three of the experts who addressed the institute this year serve on the Lincoln Legals Papers Project Editorial Board--Charles Cullen, John Kaminski, and John Y. Simon.

While the accessioning of Lincoln Legal documents proceeds, we continue to refine the document control format. We are working to develop more consistent descriptors. In order to benefit from the computerization of records, the terminology used must be consistent. Marty Benner, who has been entering the control records earlier recorded on cards, is the chief gate-keeper for this function. This refinement has led us to change from PC-File database to the more flexible Nutshell database. Eventually we will probably move the records to the more powerful dBase database. Such a shift will be relatively easy to accomplish.

The news for the Project from the General Assembly was a mixture of good and bad. On the positive side, despite an absolute reduction in the Agency's overall budget, the Project remains at last year's level. On the negative side, without an infusion of money from elsewhere, the Project will lack funds for many essential activities including telephone calls, commodities, equipment maintenance and necessary research, fund-raising and informational trips.

As noted in the last Lincoln Legal Briefs, the fund-raising committee of the Abraham Lincoln Association has begun to function. Director Devine and I met with a representative of the American Bar Foundation to explore possible avenues of support which we could bring to the committee. The representative made several positive suggestions which the committee will be asked to explore.

The Lincoln Legal Papers Project Advisory Board will meet in New Salem on September 25; the Board of Directors of the Abraham Lincoln Association, one of the Lincoln Legals' sponsoring organizations, will meet in Springfield the following day. Anyone attending either or both of those meetings is warmly invited to visit us in our new quarters at 211 South Sixth Street, the third floor suite. The offices will be cozier than those we will vacate before the end of the month. At the same time, how-ever, we should be free from the construction hassles which have bedeviled us the past two months.

Copyright, Illinois Historic Preservation Agency
Springfield, Illinois
1987