Whether or not the authors of letters, diaries, and reports fully recognized it at the time, they were recording eye-witness history — creating the materials that researchers use today to study the social, political, cultural history of Illinois and the Midwest. And the ALPL holds a vast collection of such materials — nearly 12 million items — including the letters and diaries of Civil War soldiers, the personal papers of legislators and governors, and the records of businesses. And although many items are associated with prominent Illinoisans, an equal number record the observations and activities of everyday life in nineteenth- and twentieth-century Illinois.
In the Manuscripts Collection, there are more than 6,000 individual collections, with millions of unpublished items, including:
Some particularly interesting collections deal with:
For many of our larger collections, a description and inventory is available at the Library. PDFs for many of the larger collections exist. Finding aids on many topics have been developed. Please contact the Manuscripts Curator for availability.
To search for collections in our online catalog, please click here.To search our collections in Archon, please click here. Our collection is still being uploaded into Archon, please search the Catalog and Archon to make sure you are searching our whole collection.
Collections must be used in the Manuscript Reading Room. Appointments are recommended. Personal computers are welcome; cameras, scanners, and other personal copying devices are not permitted. To make an appointment, contact the Manuscripts Reading Room desk at (217) 558-8923, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Christopher Schnell, Ph.D. Manuscripts Curator Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library112 North Sixth StreetSpringfield, IL email@example.com.Manuscripts reading room desk: (217) 558-8855