The power of the visual image and the spoken word is showcased in the Library's substantial Audio-Visual Collection, with photographs dating from the founding of photography in the 1840s to taped interviews from the present day.


More than 400,000 photographs visually document Illinois politics (especially governors since the 1920s, Adlai Stevenson III, and Senator Scott W. Lucas), labor (Barber-Greene Company, On the Job Illinois, Pure Oil Company, and coal-mining), and family life.

The Library’s photograph holdings of Illinois Civil War soldiers are recorded in the Library’s Boys in Blue Database.  The Boys in Blue database was created in 2006 as part of a Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) grant. Funding for this grant was awarded by the Illinois State Library, a Division of the Office of Secretary of State, using funds provided by the Institute of Museum and Library Services, under the federal Library Services and Technology Act.

The Boys in Blue database is a listing of the soldiers, primarily from Illinois, whose images are held in the institutions listed below:
Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library
Sangamon Valley Collection
Christian County Historical Society
Champaign County Historical Archives, Urbana Free Library
Danville Public Library
Vermilion County War Museum
Bradley University, Special Collections
Little White School Museum
Rock island Arsenal Museum
Peoria Historical Society
Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) Museum
Aurora Historical Society
Knox College Archive
Historical Society of Quincy and Adams County

Click here to view the civil war photos that we have in our collection.

A growing sample of images from the photographic holdings can be viewed at Chronicling Illinois.  All images may be seen in the Library’s Audio-Visual Collection.


More than 5,000 broadsides — most used as posters — are part of the collection, with an impressive group of World War I and II posters.

Audio and Videotapes

Although politics dominates the 10,000 audiotapes in the collection, more than 1,000 are oral history interviews of Illinoisans who fought in World War II and those who remained on the Illinois homefront. All recorded materials of the ALPL’s Oral History program are housed in the Audio-Visual Collection. 

Research Appointments

Collections must be used in the Research Room.  Appointments are recommended.  To make an appointment, contact the Audio Visual Department at (217) 785-7955, or email Requests to view materials may be made in advance through Aeon, please visit our Plan Your Visit page for more information.

Reproduction of Images

To order an image, please submit a request through Aeon, our online ordering system. Please thoroughly review our copyright statement and fee schedule. Personal photographs may be taken in the Research Room, please review our Camera Policy.


Megan Klintworth, MLIS
Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library
112 N. Sixth St.
Springfield, IL.  62701
(217) 785-7955