The Lincoln Tomb and Its Custodial History

On May 4, 1865, the body of Abraham Lincoln arrived at Oak Ridge Cemetery in Springfield, Illinois. His coffin was placed in the cemetery’s receiving vault along with the coffin of his son, Willie, who had died three years earlier. In the days following, the National Lincoln Monument Association was founded by then Governor Richard J. Oglesby to construct a memorial that would honor the memory of the fallen president. Funds were raised across the country to support the cost of the memorial. Because construction would take six years, a temporary vault was built, and Lincoln’s body was placed there on December 21, 1865.… Read More

The IHLC’s COVID-19 Collection Project

It’s been approximately one year since the Illinois History and Lincoln Collections (IHLC) unit of the University of Illinois Library began collecting evidence of Illinoisans’ experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic. Like many libraries, archives, museums, and special collections across the country and around the world, the IHLC invited Illinoisans throughout the state to share a variety of materials. These contributions could take many forms, such as emails, typed or handwritten journal or diary entries, photographs, screenshots of social media posts, video and audio recordings, digital art, or other documents that reflect this time and the impact of COVID-19. Our goal is to capture the experiences of Illinoisans during this unprecedented period so that future researchers will be able to better understand how we felt, experienced, reacted, and adapted during this period.Read More

70 Years of Lincoln at the University Library

This year the Illinois History and Lincoln Collections will celebrate the 70th anniversary of a significant event in our history. In 1951, two generous alumni, Harlan Hoyt Horner (1878-1965) and Henrietta Calhoun Horner (1880-1964), gifted the University of Illinois their extensive personal library of books and other materials documenting the life and legacy of Abraham Lincoln. With this donation came the founding of the Library’s Lincoln Room, predecessor to the Illinois History and Lincoln Collections.

Harlan and Henrietta Horner were graduates of the Class of 1901 at the University of Illinois. Following graduation, Harlan worked for the State of New York’s Department of Education, where, in 1909, he was tasked with publishing a pamphlet about Abraham Lincoln in honor of the centennial of his birth.… Read More

Kate Baker Busey: A Social Justice Advocate in 20th Century Urbana

Kate Baker Busey was an artist, teacher, and social reformer in Champaign-Urbana in the early 20th century. Born in 1855 just before the Civil War and raised by socialist parents, Kate grew up in a time and place where progressive notions were rare and racial inequality was pervasive. Kate had a unique childhood among the former members of the socialist commune Ceresco in Cobden, Illinois—a town in the southern tip of the state. Kate’s community of social reformers had moved to Cobden from Wisconsin when Kate was a baby, after the experimental phalanx failed to sustain itself in the northern forest.… Read More