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Grant supports effort to digitize Abraham Lincoln's favorite newspaper

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[December 18, 2012]  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, with searchable text, through the Illinois Digital Newspaper Collection at the University of Illinois.

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. Like all Lincoln enthusiasts, our board members eagerly anticipate the digitization of the Sangamo Journal."

Eileen Mackevich, executive director of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, was previously director of the Lincoln Bicentennial Commission.

"I know firsthand how hard the commission worked to create enduring and accessible monuments to the legacy of Abraham Lincoln," Mackevich said. "I am gratified the Lincoln Bicentennial Foundation is continuing this important work with this grant."

Earlier this year, the National Endowment for the Humanities awarded the Papers of Abraham Lincoln a startup grant to digitize the Sangamo Journal from 1834 to 1842 and to analyze the issues for anonymous and pseudonymous editorials and letters to the editor that may have been written by Abraham Lincoln. That analysis continues, but the digitized issues are already becoming available through the Illinois Digital Newspaper Collection at the University of Illinois.

The digitized editions are available at Select "browse archive" and then choose a publication from the drop-down menu.

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No newspaper is more associated with the life and career of Abraham Lincoln than the Springfield newspaper known as the Sangamo Journal, Illinois Journal and Illinois State Journal. Beginning publication in 1831, shortly after Lincoln settled New Salem when he was a young man, the Sangamo Journal faithfully supported Abraham Lincoln and the Whig Party. Changing to the Illinois Journal in 1847, shortly after Lincoln left for Congress, the newspaper continued its support of the Whig Party. In 1855, the name changed again, to the Illinois State Journal, and the paper supported the Republican Party as Abraham Lincoln rose to national prominence.

This project hopes to digitize this vital source from its origin in 1831 through 1865, when the Illinois State Journal had the sad duty of reporting Lincoln's assassination, his funeral train's slow progress northward and westward, the funeral in Springfield, and the final interment ceremonies in Oak Ridge Cemetery.

"This generous grant from the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Foundation will help us preserve an important window into the world of Abraham Lincoln and make it freely available to researchers, and the general public, around the world," said Daniel W. Stowell, director and editor of the Papers of Abraham Lincoln.

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 co-sponsored by the Center for State Policy and Leadership at the University of Illinois Springfield and by the Abraham Lincoln Association.

[Text from Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum file received from the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency]

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