Manuscripts DepartmentManuscripts Department

Whether or not the authors of letters, diaries, records, and reports fully recognized it at the time, they were recording eye-witness history — creating the materials that researchers use today to study the social, political, cultural history of Illinois and the Midwest. The ALPLM holds a vast collection of such unpublished, primary sources — an estimated 12 million items — including documents generated by great leaders, such as Abraham Lincoln, as well as the written observations of everyday Illinoisans, dating from the late 18th Century through the early 21st Century.


In the Manuscripts Collection, there are nearly 4,700 individual collections with descriptions available in ArchivesSpace. This includes large or box collections (BC) that may include from one to more than 500 boxes and small collections (SC) that include from one to as many as seven folders of materials. The collection’s strengths include:

  • Writings of Abraham Lincoln, his family, and his contemporaries
  • Letters and diaries of Civil War soldiers
  • Records generated by Illinois-based businesses and organizations
  • Records and correspondence from Illinois families

Search our Collections

To search Manuscripts Collections please click here to access ArchivesSpace. Our collection finding aids are constantly being uploaded into ArchivesSpace as we process new accessions. Please contact the Manuscript Department staff if you require assistance locating a collection. Materials may be ordered by the box (only one request is needed per small collection) using Aeon, ALPLM’s online request system.

Collections must be viewed in the Reading Room. To make an appointment, contact the Manuscripts Department staff listed below. Please visit our How to Access page for more information.


Onsite researchers may take photographs of research material using their own camera with flash suppressed. For a fee onsite and remote researchers may order scans of specific documents through Aeon, our online ordering system. Please thoroughly review our copyright statement and fee schedule. If you have questions about ordering a document scan please contact Manuscripts Department staff. Personal photographs may be taken in the Research Room, please review our camera policy.


Manuscripts Album


Christopher A. Schnell, Ph.D.
Manuscripts Curator
Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum
112 North Sixth Street
Springfield, Illinois 62701

Michelle Miller
Manuscripts Librarian
Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum
112 North 6th Street
Springfield, IL 62701

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