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Papers of Abraham Lincoln receives $300,000 matching grant

Will be used to make Lincoln's pre-1860 political and personal correspondence available to the public

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[October 22, 2012]  SPRINGFIELD -- The National Endowment for the Humanities 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. This 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 Daniel W. Stowell, project director and editor. "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 grant covers the period from July 1, 2013, to June 30, 2016. It will support more than half 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 the pre-1860 period will be complete by the time the 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.

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Because the National Endowment for the Humanities 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. Thus, the grant award 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 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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