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Japanese Diplomacy Amid Civil War

Papers of Abraham Lincoln receives images of Lincoln letters to Japan

March 26, 2015

SPRINGFIELD—The Papers of Abraham Lincoln has added three more documents to its collection by obtaining images of letters Lincoln wrote to the Shogun of Japan in 1861.

Many historic documents were destroyed by fire in the bombing of Tokyo during World War II, but these letters survived. They are held in the Diplomatic Archives of Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Ms. Takako Day, a native of Japan who lives in DeKalb, Ill., contacted the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum regarding her research on Lincoln’s 1862 meeting with Joseph Heco, the only Japanese person Lincoln ever met. Day agreed to help obtain copies of the diplomatic documents, and she personally obtained the digital images on a recent visit to Japan.

The letters concern America’s ambassadors to Japan. In one, Lincoln assures Shogun Tokugawa Iemochi that Townsend Harris would represent the views of the Lincoln administration. The second and third letters announce Harris’s resignation and the appointment of Robert H. Pruyn as the new Minister Resident to the Japanese government.


Read more: Japanese Diplomacy Amid Civil War

Papers of Abraham Lincoln receives $100,000 gift honoring UIS' Cullom Davis

Cullom DavisAugust 19, 2014

SPRINGFIELD--A gift of $100,000 to the Papers of Abraham Lincoln honors Cullom Davis, professor emeritus of history at the University of Illinois Springfield. From 1988 to 2000, Davis served as editor and director of the Lincoln Legal Papers, which later expanded into the Papers of Abraham Lincoln.

The anonymous gift will provide support for this long-term documentary editing project. Staff at the Papers of Abraham Lincoln are dedicated to identifying, imaging, transcribing, annotating, and publishing all documents written by or to Abraham Lincoln during his lifetime (1809-1865). The collection will be published on the internet and available free of charge. The Papers of Abraham Lincoln is part of the UIS Center for State Policy and Leadership.

"I am delighted with this gift that honors my predecessor, advisor, and friend Cullom Davis," said current editor and director Daniel W. Stowell. "To paraphrase the subject of our project, it is altogether fitting and proper that this gift recognizes Cullom’s achievements. Our work on the Lincoln papers is indeed a great task that Cullom nobly advanced, and we are pleased to carry on the work that he began."

Read more: Papers of Abraham Lincoln receives $100,000 gift honoring UIS' Cullom Davis

New Lincoln papers found in the heart of Dixie

Lincoln to CameronPapers of Abraham Lincoln collection adds letters located at University of Alabama

August 11, 2014

SPRINGFIELD – The Papers of Abraham Lincoln announced that it has scanned two previously unknown Lincoln documents from the A. S. Williams III Americana Collection at The University of Alabama Libraries in Tuscaloosa.

The first is a letter to Lincoln’s former secretary of war, Simon Cameron, written on Nov. 6, 1863. The letter concerns a series of treason cases against prominent Baltimore officials. Cameron had imprisoned many of them during his time in Lincoln's cabinet, and in turn, several of them had sued him in federal court for false imprisonment. Cameron wrote to Lincoln urging the president to press the treason trials to demonstrate the government's intolerance for treason and to help Cameron's case.

Lincoln responded that he had sent an attorney to Baltimore to investigate the matter and had learned that the judge did not want to proceed without the presence of the Supreme Court justice responsible for Maryland's federal circuit.


Read more: New Lincoln papers found in the heart of Dixie

New Lincoln document poses a mystery

Papers of Abraham Lincoln finds political motive behind cryptic note with missing sectionLincoln to Swett

March 8, 2014

SPRINGFIELD – The note is scrawled in Abraham Lincoln’s distinctive hand and carries his signature, but little else is clear. When was it written and to whom? What are the views that Lincoln wants to know more about? And, above all, why was a key name cut out of the note?

Historians at the Papers of Abraham Lincoln believe they’ve solved the riddle of this new Lincoln document. It was a note asking one of Lincoln’s allies to maintain a secret relationship with a notorious political insider during the election of 1860.

Manuscript dealer David Lowenherz of Lion Heart Autographs, Inc., in New York City recently contacted the Papers of Abraham Lincoln about the document, which says:

My dear Sir,
      I thank you for the copy of [clipped section] If you can keep up a correspondence with him without much effort, it will be well enough. I like to know his views occasionally.
                                                                       Yours in haste
                                                                       A Lincoln

Read more: New Lincoln document poses a mystery

Abraham Lincoln and the Case of the Mysterious Letter

Johnston to Lincoln letter fragmentPapers of Abraham Lincoln determines who wrote mouse-eaten letter found in walls of Lincoln home

January 3, 2014

SPRINGFIELD – More than 25 years ago, workers repairing Abraham Lincoln’s former home found part of a letter in the walls. Although stained by time and damaged by mice, the letter had clearly been sent to the future president in 1846. But just who had written it was a mystery.
Not anymore. The Papers of Abraham Lincoln, thanks to research by Associate Editor Stacy Pratt McDermott, has discovered the letter was written by Andrew Johnston, a newspaper editor, lawyer and fan of Lincoln’s poetry.
McDermott compared the handwriting on the letter found in Lincoln’s home to another letter Johnston wrote to Lincoln in 1865 and to a note Johnston wrote in 1872 on an old letter from Lincoln. The handwriting was a perfect match.

“Discovering the identity of the author and connecting the letter to a part of Lincoln's life about which we know very little illustrates the importance of the editing work we are doing at the Papers of Abraham Lincoln, and it is an example of why I love my job,” McDermott said.

Read more: Abraham Lincoln and the Case of the Mysterious Letter