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Treasures of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library

Treasures of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library

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Edited by Glenna R. Schroeder-Lein


Hardcover (Other formats: E-book)
224 pages, 8.25 x 9.25, 159 illustrations


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About the Book

Illinois State Historical Society Superior Achievement Award 2015

The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library in Springfield, Illinois, houses a trove of invaluable historical resources concerning all aspects of the Prairie State’s past. Treasures of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library commemorates the institution’s 125-year history, as well as its contributions to scholarship and education by highlighting a selection of eighty-five treasures from among more than twelve million items in the library’s collections.

After opening with a historical overview and extensive chronology of the Library, the volume organizes the treasures by various topics, including items that illustrate various locations and materials relating to business, the mid-nineteenth century and the Civil War, World Wars I and II, the oldest items, unusual treasures, ethnicity, and art. From the Gettysburg Address, Abraham and Mary Lincoln’s letters, and Governor Dan Walker’s boots to a Deering Harvester Company catalog, WPA publications, and an Adlai Stevenson I campaign hat, each entry includes a thorough description of the item, one or more images, and a discussion of its history and how the library acquired it, if known. Other treasures include the Thomas Yates General Store daybook, Dubin Pullman car materials, Civil War newspapers, a Lincoln coffin photograph, the Mary Lincoln insanity verdict, the Directory of Sangamon County’s Colored Citizens, andLincoln’s stovepipe hat.

To highlight the academic importance of the Library, nineteen researchers share how study in the Library’s collections proved essential to their projects. Although these treasures only scrape the surface of the vast holdings of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library, together they epitomize the rich, varied, and sometimes quirky resources available to both serious scholars and curious tourists alike at this valuable cultural institution.


Glenna R. Schroeder-Lein, a manuscript librarian at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library in Springfield, Illinois, is the author of Lincoln and Medicine, The Encyclopedia of Civil War Medicine, and Confederate Hospitals on the Move: Samuel H. Stout and the Army of Tennessee.


“[This book] is a testament to the wisdom of generations of archivists and librarians who tended to the materials presented in this lavishly illustrated volume. The occasion for Treasures is the 125th anniversary of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library. No recognition could be more durable or appropriate.”—Jean H. Baker, author of Mary Todd Lincoln: A Biography

“More than just a glimpse of Illinois history, this is an extraordinary journey of images and essays. The scope is breathtaking and worshipful. If you can’t personally dig in the archives, this is the next best thing. Take it from someone who has sampled the wonders and been amply rewarded.”—Robert E. Hartley, author of Battleground 1948: Truman, Stevenson, Douglas, and the Most Surprising Election in Illinois History

“One of the greatest of all Lincoln collections at last has a guidebook worthy of its fascinating treasures. This lavishly illustrated, well-written treasury is the next best thing to visiting the library and museum itself. A must!”—Harold Holzer, chairman, Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Foundation  

“The present volume celebrates the institution’s wide-ranging materials documenting Illinois history, and also serves to commemorate its 125th anniversary. . . . The volume is a fine introduction to a very important Illinois institution for all scholars interested in the state’s history and in the life and times of one of the nation’s critical historical figures.” –Will Hansen, Journal of Illinois History