Latest News

Latest news

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?!”

Lincoln researchers discover Japan

Largest Lincoln document repository outside of the United States yields scores of documents from the 1830s through his Presidency

May 15, 2012

TOKYO, JAPAN – Nestled among the cherry trees of picturesque Meisei University on the outskirts of Tokyo is a nondescript building that is home to something unexpected – the largest collection of original Abraham Lincoln documents outside of the United States. It was here in April that researchers from The Papers of Abraham Lincoln, a project of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, examined the university’s collection and found hidden treasures spanning Lincoln’s life from a young man in New Salem to his Presidency.

“We expected to find about 60 documents there, and we found nearly twice that number, including many we did not know were at Meisei University, and more than a dozen we did not know about at all,” said Daniel W. Stowell, Director and Editor of The Papers of Abraham Lincoln.
Meisei University officials acquired a portion of the collection in 1980 from businessman Masaharu Mochizuki, who created the Tokyo Lincoln Center in 1961. The university continued to add to the collection throughout the 1980s. Recently, Stowell was able to examine the collection to verify the documents’ authenticity and their value to Lincoln scholarship. What he found were original Lincoln documents the Papers of Abraham Lincoln did not know existed.

One early document, dated January 12, 1833, Lincoln wrote for New Salem tavern owner James Rutledge, Ann Rutledge’s father, regarding an overdue account. The document was signed by Rutledge and attested by Bowling Green, a local justice of the peace, who not only encouraged Lincoln’s law studies, but, as several villagers recalled, also helped him endure a period of deep depression following the death of Ann Rutledge. The document illustrates both Lincoln’s legal aspirations and the support he received from his friends in New Salem during this critical period in his early life.

Read more: Lincoln researchers discover Japan

On Lincoln's Side

OnLincolnsSide