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Papers of Abraham Lincoln project featured in PBS program

August 24, 2007

Contact: John Lupton, 217/785-9130, jlupt1@uis.edu

Associate director asked to assess document for “The History Detectives”

SPRINGFIELD -- John Lupton, associate director/associate editor of the Papers of Abraham Lincoln -- a project of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum and the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency, and cosponsored by the Center for State Policy and Leadership at the University of Illinois at Springfield -- will be featured in the Monday, August 27, episode of "The History Detectives" on PBS.

WILL Channel 12 will broadcast the program at 8 p.m.  Charter Communications customers who receive PBS out of St. Louis can see it at 9 p.m.

In the segment, program host Elyse Luray talks with Lupton about his assessment of a possible Lincoln document. Lupton explained: "In a nutshell, a Florida man bought some items at an estate sale and found what he thought was a Lincoln document. He contacted the 'History Detectives' with two questions: Is the document genuine? If so, what is its significance?

"The program contacted The Papers of Abraham Lincoln and asked us to examine the document to determine whether it was genuine and to give them some context as to what was going on in Lincoln's political career at that point."

Lupton said that the letter is from August 1858 and contains a short, cryptic note to someone named Henry Clay Whitney. "Whitney appears to be warning Lincoln of a plot within the Republican Party," said Lupton.

He explained that at that time there was, in fact, intrigue by some conservative Republicans who wanted to leave the party because they didn't like the direction it had taken on slavery. "These conservatives thought that the Republican party had become a party of abolitionists and wanted nothing to do with that particular issue," Lupton said.

The Papers of Abraham Lincoln is a long-term project dedicated to identifying, imaging, and publishing -- both comprehensively in electronic form and selectively in print -- all documents written by or to Abraham Lincoln during his lifetime (1809-1865). Working from electronic surrogates, project editors create authoritative transcriptions of the documents, mark structural features according to established guidelines, and provide explanatory annotations. The text files, linked to graphic images of the originals, are published on a publicly accessible website.

The combined expertise of Lincoln scholars, 19th-century historians, information technology specialists, and historical documentary editors is producing a comprehensive collection that offers scholars, students, and lay readers a fresh look at Lincoln's words and works.

For more information, contact the Papers of Abraham Lincoln at 785-9130, or go to www.papersofabrahamlincoln.org/.

 

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The University of Illinois at Springfield, one of three U of I campuses, is a small, public liberal arts university that offers 42 degree programs: 21 bachelorís, 20 masterís, and the Doctorate of Public Administration. UIS has a special mission in public affairs and service and is known for extraordinary internships, a wireless campus, extensive online offerings, and a commitment to teaching.

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