Abraham Lincoln, Papers and Writings


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

Abraham Lincoln is one of America's most famous politicians who is consistently ranked as one of the greatest presidents ever to occupy the White House.

Any scholarly study of his life is reliant on his written words to understand his thoughts, motives, and actions, however his assassination prevented Lincoln from organizing his papers himself. After his father's death, Robert Todd Lincoln gathered a large collection of papers and entrusted their organization to David Davis with the assistance of Lincoln's private secretaries John G. Nicolay and John Hay. Nicolay and Hay subsequently drew upon these nearly 20,000 documents to write their ten volume Lincoln biography published in 1890.

Robert Lincoln subsequently deposited this collection of papers at the Library of Congress in 1919 and formally deeded them to the library in January 1923 under the stipulation that they remain sealed until twenty-one years after his own death. The records were finally opened to the public in 1947.

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