Lincoln/Net: About

In 1861 Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865) became the United States' sixteenth president. But before Lincoln became the nation's chief executive, he led a fascinating life that sheds considerable light upon significant themes in American history. This World Wide Web site presents materials from Lincoln's Illinois years (1830-1861), supplemented by resources from Illinois' early years of statehood (1818-1829). Thus Lincoln/Net provides a record of Lincoln's career, but it also uses his experiences as a lens through which users might explore and analyze his social and political context.

Project Overview

Lincoln/Net is the product of the Abraham Lincoln Historical Digitization Project. Based at Northern Illinois University, the Lincoln Project works with a number of Illinois institutions, including the University of Chicago, the Newberry Library, the Chicago Historical Society, Illinois State University, the Illinois State Archives, Lewis University, and Knox College. Collaborating institutions have contributed historical materials, including books, manuscripts, images, maps and other resources, to the Lincoln Project. You may examine them in several ways.

Lincoln/Net users may search all materials in the archives using this site's search engine. Project staff have also gathered these materials together into groups containing similar materials. Site users may restrict their research to specific media types, browsing or searching through textual materials, images and maps, sound recordings, video materials, and interactive resources.

Project staff have also reviewed these materials' contents and assembled groups of resources pertaining to eight major themes in American history: frontier settlement; Native American relations; economic development; women's experience and gender roles; African-Americans' experience and American racial attitudes; law and society; religion and culture; and political development. Materials shedding significant light upon any of these themes will be available through a series of lists available via the Lincoln/Net search page.

These resources will also be accessible through Lincoln/Net's set of interpretive materials. While a number of successful online historical archives have presented World Wide Web users with rich collections of searchable primary source materials, many users wonder "what should I search for?" Lincoln/Net addresses this question by presenting analytical discussions of its eight major historical themes, as well as an online Lincoln biography linking the life of our sixteenth president to major events and developments in the antebellum era.

Lincoln/Net's interpretive materials help the site's users to formulate historical questions that they may then test with the archive's primary source data. In order to facilitate this research, Lincoln/Net users may search all related thematic materials directly from the page containing interpretive matter. Thus a Lincoln/Net user reading the site's discussion of antebellum politics can turn directly to a search of political source materials.

The Lincoln Project staff hope that these innovations will help Lincoln/Net users to enjoy the historical materials collected in the archive. We also hope that Lincoln/Net's discussions of major themes in the American historical literature can help bring some of these fascinating debates to the general audience historians have largely abandoned in recent decades.

Copyright and Fair Use Statement, and How to Cite Materials

Certain portions of the materials on the Lincoln/Net World Wide Web site are protected under copyright laws. These materials have been made available for use in research, teaching, and private study, but may not be used for any commercial purpose. Permission to make a single copy of any material on this website through print, photocopying, or downloading to a computer terminal is granted without the need to seek prior consent, on the express condition that you properly cite the source in all copies. (Please see the citation information below.)

For other uses of materials from the Lincoln/Net website (for example, commercial products, publication, broadcast, mirroring, reuse on a website, or anything else that does not fall under concepts relating to "fair use") you are required to seek permission from the Abraham Lincoln Historical Digitization Project in advance. Contact information is given below. When requesting permission, please be prepared to refer specifically to the information you intend to use and provide details regarding your planned use.

Those inquiring about these uses should contact Drew E. VandeCreek, Director, Abraham Lincoln Historical Digitization Project, Founders Memorial Library, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Illinois 60115. Telephone: (815) 753-7179.

Citation Information

To cite sources you should include all applicable and available information available regarding:

  1. Name of author, editor, compiler, arranger, translator, creator
  2. Title of song, section, poem, short work, letter within a larger book or journal
  3. Title of larger book or journal
  4. Name of editor, compiler, or translator, arranger
  5. Publication information for the print version (publisher location, publisher and date)
  6. Abraham Lincoln Historical Digitization Project
  7. Name of owning institution
  8. Date you accessed the source
  9. <>

A Word About Historical Sources

The Abraham Lincoln Historical Digitization Project's Lincoln/Net World Wide Web site presents a large, searchable database of primary source materials from Lincoln's Illinois. Nevertheless, these materials make uponly a small fraction of the collections available in the libraries, museums and archives taking part in this project.

This project has grown from the original goal of making primary source materials available to individuals who are often unable to travel to these libraries, museums, and archives to take advantage of these resources. While scholars make use of these materials regularly, school children and members of the general public often do not. We hope that the Lincoln/Net site will increase public access to historical materials, especially in schools.

We also hope that this project will encourage students and other non-scholars to visit libraries, museums and archives to examine the vast amounts of historical materials that remain there, undigitized.

Project Staff

Drew VandeCreek, Project Director

Tara Dirst, Technical Coordinator (2005-2007)

Anitha Paruchuri, Web Developer (2005-2011)

Stacey Erdman, Digital Collections Curator

Nathan Books, Web Developer

Matthew Short, Metadata Librarian

Charles Larry, Graphic Designer

Maria Dimanshtein, Graphic Designer (2013)

Jennifer Erbach, Curriculum Designer

Matt Dotson, Recording Engineer

Scholarly Contributors

Drew VandeCreek, Northern llinois University

Edward Ayers

John Mack Faragher

Eric Foner

Michael F. Holt

James Horton

Julie Roy Jeffrey

Michael Johnson

Charles McCurdy

R.D. Monroe

Gerald Prokopowicz

Kathryn Kish Sklar

Musical Performers

Chad Sheridan

Jason Schreiber

Tara Dirst 

Dean Potter

Leslie Beukelman

Jean Austin

Kerry Ayres

Joseph Trahey

Project Sponsors

 Illinois State Library

National Endowment for the Humanities

Illinois Humanities Council

Robert R. McCormick Tribune Foundation

Institute of Museum and Library Services

DeKalb County Community Foundation

Illinois Board of Higher Education


Ruth McCormick Tankersley Charitable Trust

Participating Institutions

Northern Illinois University Library

Illinois State Library

Newberry Library

Chicago Historical Society

Lewis University Library

University of Chicago Library

Illinois State University Library

Illinois State Archives

Knox College Library

Northwestern University Library