If you google Abraham Lincoln, you’ll find 11.1 million documents — everything from a detailed report on the creation of the 1909 Lincoln penny to the Lincoln page for Mrs. Payton’s first grade class at Loogootee Elementary West, in Loogootee, Ind. These sites are both pretty cool. Still, it’s a thicket out there — more than most people want to hack through. The following is an annotated introduction to the web highlights on Lincoln and his time. The aim is to guide the casual student by presenting resources drawn on by serious scholars. Then, with our homework is done, we’ll have some fun (see the final category).
Primary Sources on Abraham Lincoln
The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln A full-text, searchable edition of Lincoln’s letters, speeches, and other documents, edited by Roy P. Basler for the Abraham Lincoln Association. (To try it out, check out Lincoln’s “naturally of nervous temperament” letter to Joshua Speed, from early January 1842.)
Abraham Lincoln Papers at the Library of Congress Images and transcriptions of the “Robert Todd Lincoln Collection,” so named for Lincoln’s son, who donated them to the library in the 1920s. This is the bulk of Lincoln’s presidential papers. (Here is Lincoln’s amazing “Memorandum on the Probable Failure of Re-election,” August 23, 1864.)
Illinois Legacy Online
A joint production of the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency and
the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library (ALPL), this site presents a
“digital archive of significant and interesting historical
materials from Illinois’ past.” It includes images of the
many major Lincoln documents held by the ALPL.
Lincoln Collections Vast as they are, the Lincoln offerings on
the web are only a small portion of the resources available at
research libraries. Make no mistake, it’s worthwhile to leave
your desk, get to a library, and feel the smudge of real print, and
the crinkle of actual documents. (Here’s one account of an
Contextual Material on Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln Online The top source for news and links relating to Lincoln.
Abraham Lincoln Research Site A very thorough research site maintained by retired history teacher Roger Norton.
Mr. Lincoln’s White House One of five impeccable education sites created by The Lincoln Institute. The others are Mr. Lincoln and Freedom, Mr. Lincoln and Friends, Mr. Lincoln and the Founders and Mr. Lincoln and New York.
Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum The homepage for this major institution.
The Time of the Lincolns The companion website for “Abraham and Mary Lincoln: A House Divided,” a film by David Grubin for PBS’s The American Experience.
If you want to visit Lincoln sites, here’s a complete list. If you want to join a Lincoln group, check here. The Abraham Lincoln Bookshop in Chicago specializes in Lincolniana, material related to the Civil War and material related to U.S. presidents.
Photographs & Images
Lincoln, photographed in Chicago by Samuel M. Fassett on October 4, 1859, from CivilWar@Smithsonian.
PictureHistory.com “An on-line archive of images and film footage illuminating more than 200 years of American history.” Includes the famous Meserve-Kunhardt Collection of 19th century photography.
CivilWar@Smithsoneon Produced by the National Portrait Gallery, this site draws on the Smithsonian Institution’s vast collection of Civil War material. The Lincoln gallery includes photographs, paintings, cartoons, and Lincoln’s beaverskin tophat.
The Matthew Brady Portrait Gallery A virtual tour of the master photographer’s work.
CivilWarPhotos.Net Includes more than 1,000 Civil War images, photographs and cartes de visites.
Jack Smith Lincoln Graphics Collection A distinctive collection of photographs, lithographs, engravings, and busts of Lincoln, housed at the Indiana Historical Society. (Also take a look at the society’s gorgeous negative of Alexander Gardner’s Lincoln photograph.)
Significant Resources on American History
American Memory Online collections from the Library of Congress.
The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies. From The Making of America (see below)
Digital History A superb online encyclopedia.
A Biography of America Twenty-six online videos on American history from “New World Encounters” to contemporary history. Includes timelines, maps, and outstanding links to primary and secondary sources. Produced by Annenberg/CPB, an arm of the The Annenberg Foundation.
Born in Slavery: Slave Narratives from the Federal Writers’ Project, 1936-1938 In the 1930s, interviewers for the Federal Writers’ Project fanned out to collect oral histories from former slaves. They assembled 2,300 first-person accounts which are posted here, searchable by keyword, or by state, alongside 500 photographs. See also Uncle Tom’s Cabin and American Culture, a multimedia archive presenting Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin, along with primary documents including songs, ads, articles, illustrations and responses to the novel.
From Revoluution to Reconstruction A “Hypertext on American History from the colonial period until Modern Times.” From the University of Groningen, The Netherlands. Includes an impressive list of documents.
American Civil War Portal “One of the largest and most comprehensive collections of Civil War related material available on the Internet.” See also The U. S. Civil War Center and the American Civil War Homepage.
The Valley of the Shadow: Two Communities in the American Civil War A portrait of Civil War life in Augusta County, Virginia, and Franklin County, Penn. seen through diaries, letters, newspapers, census and court records. See also Documenting the American South, a collection of Southern history, literature and culture from the colonial period through the first decades of the 20th century.
The American Civil War: Letters and Diaries A subscription-only assemblage of diaries, letters and memoirs from 2,009 authors, including of Civil War politicians, generals, slaves, landowners, farmers, seaman, wives, and even spies.
North American Women’s Letters and Diaries Another subscription-only service, with material from 1,325 American women from colonial times to 1950. See also Civil War Women, an annotated list of Internet primary sources from Duke University.
Journals & Newspapers Online
The Making of America is hosted by the University of Michigan and Cornell University, supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. It offers the searchable text and images of American books and journals from the antebellum period through reconstruction.
HarpWeek Provides electronic access to Harper’s Weekly, the illustrated 19th century “Journal of Civilization” from 1857 to 1912. Featured areas are open access, others required a subscription.
Historical New York Times Open access includes selected articles from 1860 to 1866; restricted access, available via Proquest — see below — includes searchable text and images of every issue of the Times from 1851 to 2001.
The Brooklyn Daily Eagle Online Free access, via the Brooklyn Public Library, to the images and text of this seminal newspaper, from 1841 to 1902.
ProQuest A subscription-only database of articles originally published in magazines, newspapers, and journals. Includes word searchable content from The New York Times, 1851 to 2002; The Wall Street Journal, 1889 to 1987; The Washington Post, 1877 to 1988; The Christian Science Monitor, 1908 to 1991; the Los Angeles Times, 1881 to 1984; and the Chicago Tribune, 1849 to the present.
Project Muse Full-text online access to more than 300 top journals in the humanities, arts, and social sciences.
Questia.com A consumer subscription database of books and magazine articles. Bills itself as the “world’s largest online library.”
A subscription-only database of the complete runs of academic
journals, primarily in the sciences and humanities.
Lexis-Nexis A subscription-only database of modern magazines, newspapers, wire services, and transcripts.
Lincoln in Popular Culture
“Hard as Rock and Soft as Drifting Fog.” Carl Sandburg’s speech on Lincoln before a Joint Session of Congress, February 12, 1969.
Johnny Cash reads the Gettysburg Address.
Hard Drinkin’ Lincoln, created by Mike Reiss, a series of animated shorts on “Abraham Lincoln: statesman, leader, beloved President — and America’s favorite boozehound!”
Star Trek, episode 77, “The Savage Curtain” “The U.S.S. Enterprise is scanned by a powerful energy source coming from the planet Excalbia… The image of Abraham Lincoln appears in space and requests to be beamed aboard ...”
Wendy Allen paints Lincoln exclusively.
Lincoln in Recent Cinema
In Fight Club, Tyler and Narrator are discussing ideal opponents:
From Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure:
From Dazed and Confused: