Papers of Abraham Lincoln

Mission Statement

The Papers of Abraham Lincoln is a documentary editing project dedicated to identifying, imaging, transcribing, annotating, and publishing online all documents written by or to Abraham Lincoln during his lifetime (1809-1865).

Project Background

From 1985 to 2000, the Lincoln Legal Papers searched county, state, and federal records for documents relating to legal cases handled by Lincoln or his partnerships.  Images of more than 96,000 documents, arranged by case, were published in DVD-ROM format in 2000 as The Law Practice of Abraham Lincoln: Complete Documentary Edition (University of Illinois Press, 2000).  In 2009, that publication went online as The Law Practice of Abraham Lincoln: Second Edition.  It features all of the documents from the DVD edition, plus an additional 45 cases, 12 non-litigation activities, and nearly 1,300 new documents, as well as updated color images of more than 1,500 documents, many written by Lincoln.

The selective 4-volume print edition of this series, The Papers of Abraham Lincoln: Legal Documents and Cases (University of Virginia Press, 2008), provides transcribed and annotated documents from sixty-five of Lincoln's most significant and representative cases, with additional chapters documenting his travels on the Eighth Judicial Circuit and other aspects of Lincoln’s life as a lawyer. 

About the Project

In 2001, the Lincoln Legal Papers was expanded and transformed into the Papers of Abraham Lincoln.  The project is a department within the Research Division of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum.  Beginning in 2003, teams of researchers visited private and public repositories around the U.S. and in several foreign countries, searching for, identifying, and scanning thousands of documents.  To date, the Papers of Abraham Lincoln has identified approximately 70,000 documents written by and to Lincoln in repositories and collections around the world. 
The project has received generous support from the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation, Abraham Lincoln Association, Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Foundation, Iron Mountain, Shelby Cullom Davis Charitable Fund, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the National Historical Publications & Records Commission. 

On April 19, 2018, the Papers of Abraham Lincoln published more than 5,000 documents, transcriptions, and annotations.  You can view the digital library at

Staff/Contact Information

Mailing Address:
The Papers of Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library
112 N. Sixth St.
Springfield, IL 62701
Daniel E. Worthington, Ph.D.
Director, Papers of Abraham Lincoln
(217) 558-8868

Kelley B. Clausing
Assistant Editor
(217) 558-8870
Gayle Newenham
Image Technician
(217) 785-9130


Do you have a Lincoln document?

If you or someone you know owns a document written by or to Abraham Lincoln, please tell us about it! We may be interested in obtaining an image of the document for inclusion in our database, please email Gayle Newenham at


Images from the National Archives:​

The Papers of Abraham Lincoln has been made possible in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities: Exploring the human endeavor.  Additional support has come from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission, Iron Mountain, the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation, and the Abraham Lincoln Association.