Several dozen items from the Lincoln Collection that were created by, owned by, or associated with Abraham Lincoln, his family, and his colleagues are on display every day at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum, located across the street from the Presidential Library. The remainder of the collection—the premier collection of Lincoln manuscripts, family possessions, published works, and fine or popular art depicting the sixteenth president—is safeguarded in the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library. The Lincoln Collection is available to researchers by appointment only on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Contact Lincoln Curator James Cornelius to schedule a research appointment.
The Lincoln Collection began in the 1890s as part of the Illinois State Historical Library, and new items are added all the time. The three largest sources have been 1) Henry Horner, Governor of Illinois (1933–1940), a zealous Lincoln collector whose first law partner, Frank A. Whitney, was the son of Lincoln friend Henry Clay Whitney. Horner amassed one of the nation's great Lincoln collections and donated it shortly before his death in office in 1940; 2) the Lincoln family, through a number of bequests of papers, books, and items from their homes since the 1920s; and 3) Louise and Barry Taper, donors of the Library’s Taper Collection.
The largest collection of Lincoln artifacts in private hands—gathered by California collector Louise Taper over the course of three decades—was acquired by the Library through donation and purchase from 2004 to 2007. Taper concentrated on collecting items relating to Abraham Lincoln’s personal life and his assassination. Among the collections highlights are:
Some items have been exhibited in the Presidential Museum’s Treasures Gallery. Items from the Taper Collection have been featured in the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum’s “Artifact of the Month.”
The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation is heading a multi-year effort to retire the debt from the purchase of the Taper Collection. Find out how to contribute on the Permanent Home Campaign page.
On site: Lincoln Collection materials must be used at the Library. They are not available through inter-library loan. The Lincoln Collection is available to researchers by appointment only on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. To schedule an appointment, contact:
James CorneliusLincoln CuratorAbraham Lincoln Presidential Library & Museum112 North Sixth StreetSpringfield, IL 62701Phone: (217) 785-7954Fax: (217) 558-1574
Online: Many items have been digitized and are accessible through Illinois Legacy Online
The staff is prohibited by law from appraising historical artifacts, documents, signatures, or other items. A list of professional appraisers and dealers of historical artifacts is provided upon request for informational purposes only and is not an endorsement of the individuals or businesses listed.
Contact: Ian HuntAcquisitions ChiefAbraham Lincoln Presidential Library & Museum112 North Sixth StreetSpringfield, IL 62701(217) 524-5939