May 27, 2022

Papers of Abraham Lincoln Project Suspending Search for Documents at National Archives in DC

From The State Journal Register:

The state [of Illinois] is shutting down a project to search the National Archives for papers written by Abraham Lincoln.

The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum confirmed Monday that the search for Lincoln documents is being suspended in Washington, D.C. The National Archives has provided the bulk of Lincoln documents added in recent years to the

“The current priority for the Papers of Abraham Lincoln is to improve its policies and procedures so that our staff’s hard work and the taxpayers’ money is not wasted,” ALPLM spokesman Chris Wills said in a statement. “The search for Lincoln-related documents at the National Archives is on hold while we focus on how to handle the 100,000 documents that have been collected and what additional material should be gathered. The Papers will not lose access to any additional Lincoln documents at the National Archives.”


There are two researchers based in Washington conducting the search. They are employed under contract to the University of Illinois Springfield. Money for the workers is provided by the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum Foundation. UIS spokesman Derek Schnapp said contracts for the two workers, which run year-to-year, will expire June 30. He said it is his understanding no money will be provided by the foundation after that.

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From the Illinois Times:

Alan Lowe, ALPLM director, this spring put together an ad hoc group of five experts from around the nation to recommend the best way to publish documents that have been gathered since 2000, when the project, which began as an effort to gather papers related to Lincoln’s work as a lawyer, broadened its search to include every document read or written by the Great Emancipator. The IHPA last week denied a request by Illinois Times for correspondence between agency officials and the five experts, saying that the newspaper’s request was overly broad.

The National Archives have yielded about 75 percent of the papers gathered by researchers who’ve been working since 2000 to gather every document ever read or written by Lincoln, according to testimony at a recent civil service commission hearing in which former project director Daniel Stowell is appealing his January dismissal. Vast portions of the archives remain unsearched by the papers project, including U.S. Army records from the Civil War.

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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.