Gov. Bruce Rauner's administration will find a new director for the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum instead of hiring an outside search firm. 


The director of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum has resigned following years of disagreements with the head of the state agency that oversees the museum.

Matt Turner/Flickr

The Sangamon County Historical Society is bringing back the popular cemetery walking tour this fall. “Echoes of Yesteryear: A Walk through Oak Ridge Cemetery” will be held from noon to 4 p.m. Sunday, October 11 at Oak Ridge Cemetery, 1441 Monument Avenue in Springfield. (The last tour begins at 3:15 p.m.) The rain date is Sunday, October 18.

“The walk will provide visitors with a glimpse into the history and heritage of Springfield,” said Mary Alice Davis, president of the Sangamon County Historical Society.

History buffs in Hancock County hope to increase awareness of six area cemeteries where more than two dozen relatives of Abraham Lincoln are buried.  

At least 29 relatives are buried at the Majorville, Webster, Calvary, LaHarpe, Giddings Mound and St. Simon cemeteries in Hancock County. Many of them are cousins of the nation's 16th president.  


The Papers of Abraham Lincoln has received a $400,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities that will allow more documents about Lincoln’s congressional career to be placed online.

The new three-year grant is the largest the Papers of Abraham Lincoln has received from the NEH. It comes in the form of $100,000 in outright funds and $300,000 in matching funds.


It takes a lot to upstage Abraham Lincoln.  But if anyone could, it might have been Marilyn Monroe.

The actress visited the small east central Illinois town of Bement, in Piatt County, 60 years ago this week.  Bement is known for being the site where Lincoln and Stephen Douglas met to plan their famous debates.  But in 1955, it was Marilyn's town.

The fifth Wepner Symposium on the Lincoln Legacy and Contemporary Scholarship at the University of Illinois Springfield will advance the concept of Counter-Emancipation following President Abraham Lincoln’s death, and its connections to racial inequality in the United States today.

The Funeral Train

May 1, 2015
Lincoln's funeral train
Library of Congress

 A Mourning Country Stood Watch As The Body Of The Slain President Returned To Springfield

Listen to the WUIS broadcast of the 12th Annual Lincoln Legacy Lectures, recorded at UIS Brookens Auditorium in October - a presentation of the UIS Center for State Policy and Leadership.  Hosted by Barbara Ferrara.

The UIS Lincoln Legacy Lecture Series calls on scholars and policy experts to talk about issues that engaged Abraham Lincoln and the citizens of his era, and issues that are still timely today.

We've all heard how the United States was sent into a period of shock and grief when word of Abraham Lincoln's murder spread.  Newspapers reported it that way.  But what about the average American, North or South, white or black?

Martha Hodes set out to learn more from their letters and personal notations.  The NYU Professor wrote a book on the subject.  "Mourning Lincoln" brings their intimate thoughts to light in the months after Lincoln died.

The nation went into mourning when, just after the Civil War had finally ended, Abraham Lincoln was assassinated. No one alive today can remember, but a class project may make you get a sense of what it was like, or at least what went on. Students at the University of Illinois Springfield began "live-tweeting" on April 14 - the date that that Lincoln was shot at Ford's Theater back in 1865. They've continued, tweeting in real time -- 150 years after the fact -- about the pursuit of John Wilkes Booth, and the funeral cortege from Washington, D.C. to Springfield.

Rachel Otwell/WUIS

Even if you're not into history and couldn't care less about a funeral recreation, you still might want to know what roads will be closed for the event. But according to Katie Spindell, who heads The Lincoln Funeral Coalition, it's not yet known. She says a list of road closures will go online soon. As for parking for those who do wish to attend, Spindell says, "It will be very difficult.

Rachel Otwell/WUIS

If you've made your way to the Springfield Art Association over in the Enos Park neighborhood, you certainly noticed the large brick pale-pink home with green shutters. It's well over 150 years old and it's known as Edwards Place. It has just undergone a major restoration. I went for a visit as the process was wrapping up:

Lincoln Tomb Criticized And Faces Setbacks

Apr 15, 2015

 The caretakers of Abraham Lincoln's tomb are on the defensive over an unflattering critique in National Geographic magazine and looming state budget cuts that could threaten management and maintenance of the Civil War president's final resting place.  

A ceremony in Springfield Wednesday to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the 16th president's death comes at a time when Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner has proposed eliminating the state's Historic Preservation Agency, which manages sites including the tomb. He would fold it into another department.  

Lincoln Letters Live on Digitally

Apr 1, 2015
The Papers Of Abraham Lincoln


  One hundred fifty years after Abraham Lincoln’s time as president important papers from his lifetime will be digitized. A new grant is making it possible.

A project known as “The Papers of Abraham Lincoln” has collected more than 100 thousand documents written to, or by, the president.

Lincoln Lore

Apr 1, 2015

The first couple shared a love of politics.

A South Bend museum is lending a carriage once belonging to President Abraham Lincoln to a museum in Washington, D.C.  

The Lincoln carriage is being moved Thursday from the Studebaker National Museum to the National Museum of American History. The South Bend Tribune ( ) reports it will be on display at the Smithsonian museum this spring in an exhibition commemorating the 150th anniversary of the president's assassination.  

The carriage carried Lincoln and his wife to Ford's Theatre, where he was shot on April 14, 1865.

Combat veterans in California have been working on the hearse that will be used in Abraham Lincoln's funeral re-creation later this spring. It will be at the center of events in Springfield commemorating the 150th anniversary of Lincoln's funeral processional and burial. Work on the hearse provided a number of challenges. And in a way, it served as therapy for those working to make sense out of civilian life back home.

courtesy of Tara McClellan McAndrew

Today is the primary election for municipal offices, and we're bringing you a story about a campaign tradition back in Abraham Lincoln's era. Our historical stories are sponsored by the Sangamon County Historical Society and written by Tara McClellan McAndrew, local history columnist for the State Journal-Register. The actors who joined her in this piece were Tom Hutchison and Doug McDonald. 

Listen to the WUIS broadcast of the 12th Annual Lincoln Legacy Lectures, recorded at UIS Brookens Auditorium in October - a presentation of the UIS Center for State Policy and Leadership.  Hosted by Barbara Ferrara.

The UIS Lincoln Legacy Lecture Series calls on scholars and policy experts to talk about issues that engaged Abraham Lincoln and the citizens of his era, and issues that are still timely today.

Today, on Lincoln's birthday, we look back at an important moment in Springfield history. 

The date was April 19, 2005.  The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum opened, six months after the Library began operation.  President George W. Bush spoke at the ceremony.  

This coming April will mark the 10th anniversary of museum, which has become one of Illinois' top tourist attractions as well as a place for people to learn more about the man whose name is on the building.  

wax figures of the Lincoln family inside the museum
Rachel Otwell / WUIS/Illinois Issues

Springfield’s Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum should stay paired with the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency — but changes are needed. That was the finding of a study done as a result of measures in the legislature calling for the two to separate. House Speaker Michael Madigan, a Chicago Democrat, has been behind the push for the separation. But experts in the field of historic preservation say not so fast.

Illinoisans who have led
WUIS/Illinois Issues

A collection of Abraham Lincoln memorabilia that includes a lock of the slain president's hair has been sold for more than $800,000 at auction in Dallas. 

Dallas-based Heritage Auctions says the Donald P. Dow collection brought top bids totaling $803,889. Heritage spokesman Eric Bradley says that's double expectations.  

The lock of hair taken by Surgeon General Joseph K. Barnes shortly after Lincoln was shot by John Wilkes Booth sold for $25,000.  

An 1861 letter written by Booth to a friend boasting about his career and value as an actor also brought $30,000.  

Rachel Otwell/WUIS

In 2015, it will have been 150 years since Abraham Lincoln died. It will also be the tenth anniversary of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield opening. These two milestones will be marked by special events, including an exhibit open now through 2016 that displays original speeches and Lincoln's death bed.

Abraham Lincoln is surely the most famous Republican from Illinois.
WUIS/Illinois Issues

A 165-year-old letter from Abraham Lincoln could be just the thing for the history buff in your family. That is, if you have $40,000 to spare.  

A rare documents dealer in Philadelphia is selling an 1849 letter penned by Lincoln that offers insight into his stint as a congressman.  

Raab Collection President Nathan Raab says the letter gives a revealing view of Lincoln before he became president. He says that letters from this time period are extremely rare.  

The letter describes an incident between Lincoln and a friend seeking a political appointment.  

History Series: Local Reaction To Orson Welles' War Of The Worlds

Oct 29, 2014

Listen to the latest from our history series. These are sponsored by the Sangamon County Historical Society and written by Tara McClellan McAndrew, history columnist for the State Journal-Register.  Performers included Tom Hutchinson and Eric Thibbodeaux-Thompson. 

Springfield can lay a small claim to the man behind the "War of the Worlds" radio program. Orson Welles' mother, Beatrice Ives, was from a Springfield family.


When Abraham Lincoln was assassinated in April 1865, it began a period of mourning that was emphasized in many communities as his funeral train made its way from Washington D.C. to Springfield.

The 17-hundred mile journey had an impact on the nation and certainly those who witnessed it.  But through various eyes, the passing of Abraham Lincoln was seen differently.

In a nation devastated by the Civil War, spiritualism offered grieving families some hope of connecting with lost loved ones. It also gave women another outlet for their energy and influence in a society that sharply limited women’s roles.

Jean H. Baker, author of “Mary Todd Lincoln: A Biography,” visits the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum on Sept. 30 to discuss spiritualism and attempts to contact the dead.

It's been the town square of Springfield since it was built.  But the Old State Capitol grounds has taken on a varied look through the years. 

And an effort is underway to do something different and better.

A lawn party is being held this Saturday afternoon from 5 to 7 at the site to raise money for beautifying the grounds.   

While the location is teeming with history, from it's role as the home of state government, to it's ties to Lincoln and later, Obama, something is still missing.

Papers of Abraham Lincoln

A documentary project about Abraham Lincoln has scanned two previously unknown papers from the former president for its collection.  

The Papers of Abraham Lincoln is a project dedicated to identifying and publishing all documents written by or to Abraham Lincoln during his lifetime. It's administered through the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum and co-sponsored by the Center for State Policy and Leadership at the University of Illinois Springfield and the Abraham Lincoln Association.