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Latest news

Extra! Extra! Grant gives new digital life to Lincoln’s favorite newspaper

Support from Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Foundation allows digitization of Springfield newspaper to continue

December 10, 2012
Illinois Journal

SPRINGFIELD  The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation has received a grant of $32,745 to continue digitizing a key Springfield newspaper from Abraham Lincoln’s lifetime.

Additional issues of the Sangamo Journal, later named the Illinois State Journal, will soon be freely available through the Illinois Digital Newspaper Collection at the University of Illinois, with searchable text.

The grant from the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Foundation allows the presidential library’s Papers of Abraham Lincoln project to continue work begun earlier this year.

Said historian Harold Holzer, chairman of the bicentennial foundation: “The ALBF is delighted to support this historically important, long-needed digitization effort. With its rare combination of high-tech acumen and unmatched documentary expertise, the Papers of Abraham Lincoln is the ideal organization to assume the responsibility for preserving this precious, irreplaceable, but hard-to-find archive in the most accessible possible format.

Read more: Extra! Extra! Grant gives new digital life to Lincoln’s favorite newspaper

Intense Search Turns Up Financial Records from Lincoln’s Congressional Career

Lincoln got $8 a day, $8 for every 20 miles traveled

December 6, 2012Pay Record 1

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Even Honest Abe had to fill out paperwork to collect his salary and mileage money.

Researchers with the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum have tracked down records signed by Abraham Lincoln, then a member of Congress, to get his money from the federal government: $8 a day and $8 for every 20 miles he traveled to and from his home in Illinois.

The documents were found at the National Archives in Washington, D.C., by David J. Gerleman, assistant editor of the Papers of Abraham Lincoln project. Nineteenth-century pay records from the House of Representatives are scarce, but Gerleman came across an 1848 pay voucher for Lincoln rival Stephen A. Douglas while examining Treasury Department documents. 

Read more: Intense Search Turns Up Financial Records from Lincoln’s Congressional Career

Papers of Abraham Lincoln receives largest grant to date from NEH

Will be used to make available to the public Lincoln's pre-1860 political and personal correspondenceNEH logo

October 19, 2012

SPRINGFIELD - The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) has announced a new, three-year, $300,000 matching grant for the Papers of Abraham Lincoln, the largest grant the project has received to date from the NEH, that will be used to help make available to the public Lincoln's political and personal correspondence prior to his election as President.

“This grant is a great vote of confidence in our project,” said Director and Editor Daniel W. Stowell. “The NEH has long supported the type of fundamental research that documentary editors do to make the raw materials of history available to scholars and the general public.”

The NEH grant covers the period from July 1, 2013 to June 30, 2016. It will support more than half of the salary of the Assistant Director and the entire salary of one Research Associate in Springfield. These staff members, along with other editors, will focus their attention on the markup, annotation, and review of Lincoln's political and personal correspondence and speeches prior to his inauguration as president. The transcription and proofing of documents from this period will be complete by the time this grant begins in mid-2013.

Read more: Papers of Abraham Lincoln receives largest grant to date from NEH

Abraham Lincoln Down Under

Original Lincoln document in Australia now part of global effort to document Lincoln's life and career

October 10, 2012

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – A whaling ship built by a former slave was sunk during 1865 in the Bering Sea by a Confederate raider in what could arguably have been the last engagement of the American Civil War. The ship was carrying its registration papers signed September 1, 1862 by U.S. President Abraham Lincoln. The story gets even better – those original registration papers are in the Australian National Maritime Museum in Sydney, and have recently been added to a global effort to document Lincoln's life and career.

“This is not a new discovery, but it was previously unknown to our project,” said Daniel Stowell, Director of the Papers of Abraham Lincoln, the group conducting a monumental worldwide search for documents written by or to Abraham Lincoln. “We continue to be amazed at the places on this earth where original Lincoln documents surface. We are thrilled that the Australian National Maritime Museum shared with us a scan of the document so it could be included in our ongoing documentary project. This brings to four the total number of documents in Australia that we have identified thus far.”

In July, Stowell presented a paper to the Australian Historical Association about Australian views of Lincoln and was also invited to speak to American Civil War Round Tables in Melbourne, Sydney, and Brisbane about the Papers of Abraham Lincoln project. Following the presentation in Brisbane, a member of the audience informed Stowell about a Lincoln document at the Australian National Maritime Museum in Sydney that was unknown to the Papers of Abraham Lincoln. The document is a ship’s passport, or registration papers, for the Jireh Swift, designed and built by a former American slave. The Australian connection is a fascinating journey back to 1865.

Read more: Abraham Lincoln Down Under

“Is there a surgeon in the house?!”

Papers of Abraham Lincoln researcher discovers report of Dr. Charles A. Leale, first physician to reach Lincoln at Ford’s Theatre

June 5, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC – When someone in the Ford’s Theatre audience screamed, “Is there a surgeon in the house?!” the night of April 14, 1865, Dr. Charles A. Leale was the first to reach the stricken President. Now, 147 years later, a researcher with the Papers of Abraham Lincoln has discovered a copy of Dr. Leale’s original, clinical report of the night the 16th President of the United States was shot.

“What is remarkable about this newly discovered report is its immediacy and poignancy. You can sense the helplessness Leale and the other doctors felt that night, but it does not have the sentimentality or added layers of later accounts. It is truly a first draft of history,” said Daniel W. Stowell, director of the Papers of Abraham Lincoln, the group conducting a monumental search for documents written by or to Abraham Lincoln.

Papers of Abraham Lincoln researcher Helena Iles Papaioannou came across something unexpected while searching the records of the Surgeon General in the National Archives in Washington, DC. Papaioannou discovered a copy of a twenty-one-page report by Dr. Charles A. Leale, the army surgeon who was the first to reach the presidential box to care for a wounded Abraham Lincoln on the night of April 14, 1865. Leale wrote out his story just hours after the President died the next morning, but the text of that first report had remained undiscovered, until now. The newly discovered report is not in Leale’s hand, but is a “true copy” written in the neat and legible hand of a clerk. For nearly a century and a half, it has been tucked away in one
of hundreds of boxes of incoming correspondence to the Surgeon General, until Papaioannou discovered it.

Read more: “Is there a surgeon in the house?!”