Lincoln Legal Briefs

May 1987, Number 1

Thanks to a generous grant from the Abraham Lincoln Association, the Lincoln Legal Papers Project has acquired three desktop computers and one laptop computer. All the machines are MS-DOS. The desktops are each supplied with a hard disk, a floppy, and a microfloppy. In addition, a tape backup and a modem that will serve all three desktops were acquired. The Project purchased letter-quality printers, and stands, as well. In addition, it acquired the software necessary to operate the computers efficiently. The laptop is equipped with two 720k microdiskette drives and an internal modem.

In addition to using the computers for the Lincoln Legal Papers Project, they will be used to store membership information and records concerning the Annual Abraham Lincoln Symposium. It will be relatively easy to maintain an up-to-date and accurate mailing list for the Association with this equipment.

I met with a portion of the Lincoln Legal Papers Project Editorial Board at the Organization of American Historians Annual Meeting on April 4, 1987. Those board members present were Stanley N. Katz, American Council of Learned Societies, and Princeton University; Harold M. Hyman, William P. Hobby Professor of History, Rice University; and John P. Kaminski, Documentary History of the Ratification of the Constitution, University of Wisconsin at Madison. Others on the Editorial Board who were unable to attend are Robert W. Johannsen, James G. Randall Distinguished Professor of History, University of Illinois at Urbana/Champaign, Charles T. Cullen, President, Newberry Library; and John Y. Simon, Ulysses S. Grant Association, Southern Illinois University at Carbondale.

On March 25, 1987, I flew to Madison, Wis., for consultation with the editors of the Documentary History of the Ratification of the Constitution about editorial matters and the use of computers in editing.

In an effort to locate necessary funds for the Lincoln Legal Papers Project I have been occupied much of the past month preparing a proposal to the NEH. The preliminary draft was placed in the mail on April 30. The final proposal will be mailed by June 1, 1987.

Michael H. Hoeflich and Eric T. Freyfogle, Legal History Professors in the College of Law, University of Illinois, have joined the project as Consulting Legal Editors. Librarian Patti Norcott, a data base expert, will be assisting in the design of a more sophisticated document control system than the Project is presently utilizing. Meanwhile, I will become a Research Associate in the Office of Legal Research just established by the College. This beneficial affiliation is the result of discussions begun early in 1987 at the request of the Honorable Harlington Wood, Jr., U.S. Circuit Judge and chairman of the Lincoln Legal Papers Advisory Board.

Our thanks go to Jim Hickey and the Logan County Circuit Clerk for the relevant case files from the Logan County Circuit Clerk's office.

Many people, including practicing attorneys, are unaware that when the early Illinois Supreme Court Reports were reprinted there were significant unnoticed omissions. While the first editions of the early Reports included chunks of lawyer arguments and other comments, when they were reprinted in the 1870s and 1880s, those items that did not appear to figure directly in the Judges' decision, nor to be particularly relevant to any matter of law being considered, were silently omitted. In order to have a complete record of those early decisions, the Project microfilmed the first 27 volumes of the Reports. This will insure a more complete and accurate look at Lincoln's practice before the State's highest court.

The pleasant voice you often hear when you call is efficient Marty Benner who joined the staff as secretary/office-manager and computer whiz in late February.

We are grateful to the Honorable John B. Hannum of Philadelphia, a U.S. District Judge and member of the Advisory Board, and the Illinois Bar Foundation for their financial contributions to the Project.

Copyright, Illinois Historic Preservation Agency
Springfield, IL