Lincoln Legal Briefs

January  - March 2001, Number 57

Lincoln Legal Papers Wins Book Award

The Directors of the Abraham Lincoln Institute of the Mid-Atlantic chose to award the organization’s Annual Book Award to the Lincoln Legal Papers for The Law Practice of Abraham Lincoln: Complete Documentary Edition. On March 24, Dr. John R. Sellers, President of the Institute, and Mrs. Ethel Scwhengel, widow of Iowa Congressman Frederick D. Schwengel, presented the award to co-editors Martha L. Benner and Cullom Davis at the organization’s annual symposium in Washington, D. C.

The Abraham Lincoln Institute of the Mid-Atlantic made the award, which carries a cash prize of $5,000, in recognition of the “monumental contribution to scholarship” made by The Law Practice of Abraham Lincoln: Complete Documentary Edition. The $5,000 cash prize will be applied to the future work of the Lincoln Legal Papers in preparing the companion selective book edition.


Mrs. Ethel Schwengel presents the Abraham Lincoln Institute’s Annual Book Award to Marty Benner, as John R. Sellers and Cullom Davis look on.


Project Welcomes New Staff Member

On February 5, Dr. Glenna Schroeder-Lein joined the project as an Assistant Editor. Dr. Schroeder-Lein has ten years of experience with the Papers of Andrew Johnson, one of three presidential papers projects housed at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. The Papers of Andrew Johnson is an impressive sixteen-volume edition of the Seventeenth President’s papers. The project published its final volume last year and ended on July 31, 2000, the 175th anniversary, to the day, of its subject’s death. Dr. Schroeder-Lein holds a doctorate in American History from the University of Georgia, as well as a master’s degree in library science. She is the author of Confederate Hospitals on the Move: Samuel H. Stout and the Army of Tennessee (University of South Carolina Press, 1994), based on her dissertation, and the co-author of Andrew Johnson: A Biographical Companion (ABC-CLIO, 2001), as well as several articles and book reviews.


Curriculum Materials on Website

The Lincoln Legal Papers has released The Lincoln Legal Papers Curriculum, a collection of six lesson plans for classroom use by junior and senior high school students and their teachers. With a generous grant of $5,000 from the Abraham Lincoln Association, the Lincoln Legal Papers commissioned Professors Lawrence W. McBride and Frederick D. Drake of Illinois State University to create the lesson plans with documents and transcriptions provided by the Lincoln Legal Papers staff. The lesson plans contain background materials, document facsimiles, document transcriptions, maps, and worksheets for classroom use. With these instructional materials, teachers can supplement their current curriculum with the use of documents from Abraham Lincoln's legal cases. These primary sources introduce students to a variety of legal, transportation, migration, settlement, agricultural, economic, material culture, and property rights issues facing antebellum Americans.

The publication of these web-based lesson plans marks the completion of the first of three phases in the project's Educational Outreach Initiative, designed to bring the data collected by the Lincoln Legal Papers to the classroom. Next, thanks to a $15,000 grant from the Illinois Bar Foundation, the Lincoln Legal Papers will produce a magazine-style publication of lesson plans and contextual essays.

The Lincoln Legal Papers Curriculum:

Understanding Illinois' Social History Through Documents
from the Law Practice of Abraham Lincoln, 1836-1861

Introduction and Teachers' Resources

Abraham Lincoln and the Rule of Law
    Document 1-A
Document 1-B
Document 1-C

Moving People through the Prairie State, 1820-1860
    Document 2-A

Illinois Agriculture and the Marketplace, 1830-1860
    Document 3-A

Material Culture on the Prairie
    Document 4-A
    Document 4-B

Social Role and Status: Marriage on the Illinois Prairie
    Document 5-A
    Document 5-B
    Document 5-C
    Document 5-D

Canals and Railroads Open Illinois
    Document 6-A
    Document 6-B

Available online at:



The project acknowledges with deep appreciation the generosity of the following contributors:

Paul Bargren
Molly M. Becker
Richard Bjorklund

Edward M. Bredin, Q.C.

James A. Burns Jr.

Herbert Channick

Kent M. Conness in memory of Kim H. Conness

Steve Coco

Mr. and Mrs. Sheldon S. Cohen

Thomas L. Cooper

Chris H. Doss

Melvin Duke

Thomas D. Eilers

E. Duane Elbert

Lawrence Elliott

Virginia Fehrenbacher

Tom Forgue

French Fraker

Mr. and Mrs. Guy Fraker

Robert S. French

Fulton County Historical and Genealogical Society

Malcolm Garber

Richard Grosboll

Bruce Hart

Robert Higley

Robert W. Hoffman

Clifford R. Hope Jr.

Ronald and Susan Krause

Robert and Jeanne Lanphier III

Dr. and Mrs. Victor Lary

Harvey E. Lemmen

Travis Lewin

Looking for Lincoln, Inc.

John Lupton

Dr. James K. Martin

Joseph E. McMenamin

Frederick Olson

Paul L. Pascal, Esq.

Gregory M. Perry, Esq.

The Honorable James “Pate” Philip

Merrill S. Rosenthal

John C. Ryan, Esq.

Donald Rydgren

Thomas Schwartz

Stark County Genealogical Society

Mark E. Steiner

Mr. and Mrs. F. John Taylor

Richard Thies

Joshua E. Thompson

Don Tracy

Daniel Weinberg

Robert Willard

Editorial Board Member Resigns

Charles Cullen, the President of the Newberry Library in Chicago, resigned in February from the Editorial Board of the Lincoln Legal Papers. Cullen has served on the Board since the beginning of the project and brought important editorial expertise from his years with the Papers of Thomas Jefferson and the Papers of John Marshall. He edited or co-edited four volumes of The Papers of John Marshall and three volumes of The Papers of Thomas Jefferson. He was particularly helpful with the project’s early database efforts.

Cullen has served as the president of the Association of Documentary Editing (ADE) and serves as ADE’s representative to the National Historical Publications and Records Commission, a post he has held for several years. In his letter of resignation, he graciously noted, “I admire your work very much and wish you all success as things move forward.” The staff of the Lincoln Legal Papers would like to thank Dr. Cullen for his many years of service.


Staff News

In January, John Lupton, Stacy McDermott, and Christopher Schnell presented papers and demonstrated The Law Practice of Abraham Lincoln: Complete Documentary Edition at the Conference on Historic Site Interpretation sponsored by the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency.

Daniel Stowell and Stacy McDermott attended a Digitization for Cultural Heritage Professionals course at Rice University in Houston, Texas. During the week-long workshop, they learned about digitizing images in a variety of formats.

John Lupton spoke to the Sangamon County Genealogical Society in Springfield, the Stark County Genealogical Society in Toulon, the Fulton County Genealogical Society in Canton, and the Shelby County Historical and Genealogical Society in Shelbyville about conducting genealogical research using The Law Practice of Abraham Lincoln: Complete Documentary Edition. He also spoke to law students from St. Louis University College of Law about Lincoln’s law practice.

Stacy McDermott spoke to fifth graders at Iles Elementary School in Springfield about Abraham Lincoln and the famous Almanac Trial. She also spoke to the Sangamon County Historical Society about Henrietta Ulrich, a Springfield land speculator who was a litigant in three of Abraham Lincoln's legal cases.

© Illinois Historic Preservation Agency
Springfield, Illinois