May 19, 2022

Serious Funding and Staffing Problems For “Papers of Abraham Lincoln” Project & Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library

From Illinois Times:

The Papers of Abraham Lincoln Project, which aims to digitize every document written by or read by the Great Emancipator, is in an existential crisis, the project’s director Thursday told an advisory board to the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, where the project is headquartered.

On orders from the governor’s office, the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency that sponsors the project has refused to renew a contract with the University of Illinois Springfield that last year provided $243,000 in state money to pay employees. Except for Daniel Stowell, the project’s director, the project’s employees are university employees, but salaries come largely from the state as well as federal grants that require matching funds and private gifts.


For now, employees remain on the job, Stowell said, with salaries coming from a UIS [University of Illinois Springfield] private foundation account that is rapidly being depleted


Advisory board members at Thursday’s meeting also discussed the deterioration of the library division of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, which was recently chronicled by Illinois Times (“Ghost of a Library,” Sept. 10). Staff shortages have become so acute that departments are closing earlier in the day than scheduled due lack of staff.

Board members discussed the possibility of requiring researchers to schedule appointments 48 hours in advance. Patrons now can simply walk in unannounced to conduct research. The notion of research-by-appointment didn’t sit well with Sam Wheeler, a research historian for ALPLM. He called such an idea “reckless.”

Much More in the Complete Article (1250 W0rds)

See Also: The Papers of Abraham Lincoln: Images from the National Archives and Library of Congress (Preview Web Site)

Hat Tip: History News Net

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.