The Alfred Whital Stern Collection of Lincolniana is a collection of more than 11,100 items donated to the Library of Congress in 1953; the items encompass not only President Lincoln’s life (1809-1865), but also the events of the time, particularly slavery, the Civil War, and Reconstruction. Currently, 1,300 items are available online. Created between 1824 and 1931, the digitized items include newspapers, Lincoln’s law papers, sheet music, broadsides, prints, cartoons, maps, drawings, letters, campaign tickets, and more.
By studying documents from the collection, students can gain insight into President Lincoln as both a man and a historic figure. They can also learn a great deal about the historic events in which Lincoln was a pivotal figure—slavery, the Civil War, and Reconstruction. Further, the documents in the collection provide windows into public opinion and other aspects of social history in the nineteenth century.
The Alfred Whital Stern Collection of Lincolniana features three galleries that can be useful entry points into the collection: “Lincoln’s Letters,” “Objects in the Collection,” and “Collection Highlights,” which features election tickets, documents related to the Emancipation Proclamation, portraits of Lincoln, broadsides and photographs, newspapers and ephemera, and papers from Lincoln’s law practice in Illinois. Another good starting point is the brief biography of Lincoln that is provided in the collection; students could read the biography and then search the collection for documents that would provide more information about events covered in the biography.
The collection can be browsed by title, author, or subject and can be searched by keyword; both the bibliographic information and full text can be searched, which makes the content of the collection readily accessible.