Latest news

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.

Editors will use a sophisticated process to identify people, organizations, and places in the documents and prepare an explanatory annotation that will allow researchers to understand the context and importance of the documents. Prominent among these documents will be correspondence and proposed and passed legislation from Lincoln’s four terms in the Illinois General Assembly (1834-1842) and his single term in the U.S. House of Representatives (1847-1849). These documents shed more light on Lincoln’s role in the economic development of the state and nation in a time of great expansion, as well as his stance against the Mexican War, an unpopular position that cost him a second term in Congress. They also help build new audiences for the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, which administers the Papers of Abraham Lincoln project.

Because this offer comes in the form of a matching grant, the project must raise at least $100,000 per year from private sources to match the amount offered by the NEH. Thus, this award from the NEH effectively doubles each private donation from friends and supporters of the Papers of Abraham Lincoln. 

Created in 1965 as an independent federal agency, the National Endowment for the Humanities supports research and learning in history, literature, philosophy, and other areas of the humanities by funding selected, peer-reviewed proposals from around the nation. Additional information about the National Endowment for the Humanities and its grant programs is available at:

The Papers of Abraham Lincoln is a long-term documentary editing project dedicated to identifying, imaging, transcribing, annotating, and publishing all documents written by or to Abraham Lincoln during his lifetime (1809-1865). The project is administered through the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum (, and is cosponsored by the Center for State Policy and Leadership at the University of Illinois.