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Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library & Museum

Lincoln document search project receives $1.4 million grant

Will help researchers identify and catalog Lincoln papers in Washington, D.C., repositories

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[June 02, 2008]  SPRINGFIELD -- The ongoing project to identify and catalog every document Abraham Lincoln wrote or received during his lifetime has received a $1.4 million grant to search the vast holdings of repositories in the nation's Capitol.

GlassMrs. Kathryn W. Davis and her family recently awarded the Papers of Abraham Lincoln a five-year grant of $1,412,993 to support the search for Lincoln documents at the National Archives in Washington, D.C.

Mrs. Davis, 101, is a noted philanthropist and the widow of Shelby Cullom Davis, the great-nephew of Sen. and Gov. Shelby M. Cullom (1829-1914). Cullom was both a legal and political contemporary of Abraham Lincoln and an active organizer of the nation's celebration of the centennial of Abraham Lincoln's birth in 1909. He also served as the chairman of the commission to erect the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C.

The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation will administer the grant for the Papers of Abraham Lincoln.

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"Our family has long been connected with the legacy of Abraham Lincoln," Mrs. Davis said. "My late husband, Shelby, and I shared a deep interest in the history and the tenets of our country. I am pleased to support a project dedicated to preserving the papers of such an important figure in America's past."

"This award is an enormous vote of confidence in the Papers of Abraham Lincoln. It will prompt support from other sources and speed the project along," said Rick Beard, executive director of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation and the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum.


The grant will allow the project to hire four additional researchers in Washington to expedite the searching and scanning processes. The National Archives holds tens of thousands of documents written or signed by Abraham Lincoln or written to him. Since June 2006, a small team of researchers has been combing records from the State, Treasury and Interior departments at Archives II in College Park, Md. This grant will augment the research there and allow the project to begin work on the more numerous records at the National Archives in downtown Washington. When the research at Archives II is complete, all researchers will focus their attention on the records in the main archives on Pennsylvania Avenue. The new researchers will join the existing team in Washington in the fall of 2008.

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"This grant represents an unparalleled opportunity for the Papers of Abraham Lincoln," according to Daniel W. Stowell, director. "Together with other funding sources, it provides us with the personnel necessary to complete the search of the largest repository of Lincoln documents in the world."

Researchers from the Papers of Abraham Lincoln have already discovered more than 12,000 documents written by or to Abraham Lincoln at Archives II. Staff members based in Springfield have visited nearly 400 repositories and private collectors in 45 states to locate and digitize an additional 7,500 documents. Project staff members are also assisting with the ongoing digitization of more than 20,000 documents at the Library of Congress.


As the Papers of Abraham Lincoln proceeds toward its ultimate goal of a freely accessible online edition of all of Lincoln's papers, it has also produced several publications. Series I: Legal Papers included two publications -- the comprehensive electronic edition entitled "The Law Practice of Abraham Lincoln: Complete Documentary Edition" on three DVD-ROMs (2000) and the four-volume selective print edition entitled "The Papers of Abraham Lincoln: Legal Documents and Cases" (2008). In addition, the Papers of Abraham Lincoln has published a revised and updated version of "Lincoln Day by Day" online as "The Lincoln Log" and will soon publish online a second edition of "The Law Practice of Abraham Lincoln." (See "The Lincoln Log" for today in LDN.)

[Text from Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum file received from the Illinois Office of Communication and Information]


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