The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library houses more than 172,000 books and pamphlets, 3,000 maps, and 1,200 periodical series. Major collections relate to individuals, cities and towns, agriculture, industry, religion, and transportation. There are many family genealogies and a variety of material on the Civil War (both Union and Confederate), the Northwest Territory, overland journeys, and Midwestern settlement. The earliest maps in the Library collection date from the mid-1700s. Of particular note are pre-statehood maps of the Great Lakes, Northwest and Louisiana Territories, and the United States east of the Mississippi River. There are numerous nineteenth-century Illinois transportation guides.
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The Library maintains a large and always expanding collection of general histories and topical volumes on Illinois and the Midwest. Among the Library's unique holdings are gazetteers created by settlers, material on ethnic groups in Illinois and their patterns of migration, and accounts of fraternal and religious organizations. The library also holds materials on the Native American population.
County histories, especially those published between 1870 and 1915, provide county surveys from the time of origin to the time of printing. Each contains biographical sketches of individuals and families living within the county. Most also contain family name indexes. The Library has histories from each of Illinois' 102 counties; nearly all were published in the nineteenth century. For a surname index of the biographical sketches in the Library's collection of Illinois county histories, visit the Searchable Surname Index.
County plat books contain detailed maps of the townships within the county and indicate ownership of the land at the time of printing (ca. 1870–1930). Some also contain brief histories and biographical sketches.
The Library holds indexes to federal census records for Illinois for 1810, 1818, 1820, 1830, 1840, and 1850, 1860, and 1870, as well as abridged copies of federal records for many Illinois counties (1810–1880).
Privately printed lists of cemetery inscriptions, indexes of birth, death, probate, land, marriage records, and other miscellaneous records are found in the Printed Materials Collection.
The Library holds histories, city directories, and miscellaneous publications on many Illinois cities and towns.
The Library has family genealogies and histories, publications of patriotic and veterans' organizations, journals, quarterlies, and newsletters of many local, state, and national genealogical and historical societies and other organizations. There are also genealogical research handbooks, Illinois and national DAR lineage books, and records of other patriotic and hereditary organizations. The Library is one of only five repositories in Illinois for the records compiled by the Illinois branch of the Daughters of the American Revolution.
The Library's reference collection contains a number of military roster and pension indexes for the Revolutionary War, War of 1812, Mexican War, Blackhawk War, Mormon War, Indian Conflicts, and Civil War. The library also has Spanish-American War, World War I, and World War II materials.
The library holds an extensive collection of Civil War regimental histories and reunion booklets of various regiments. Other Civil War materials are available in the Manuscripts and Audio Visual collections.Looking for a Civil War soldier? Visit the Military Directory and Guides page.
In addition to the material described above, the Library has a rich collection of state and national histories and biographies. The library also has significant genealogical holdings for Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina.
Visitors may make photocopies depending on the item's condition. Photocopies are 25¢ per page. The Library utilizes a "cash card" system. The card dispenser machine is located on the first floor in the Steve Neal Reading Room. After purchasing the card for $1, patrons may add value with bills ranging from $1 to $100. Cash cards may also be used to produce print-outs from public computers in the Reading Room and to produce copies in the Newspaper Collection. Please note that the cash card dispenser accepts only bills and does not give change.Also note the following:
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