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Collection The Alfred Whital Stern Collection of Lincolniana

About this Collection

The collection contains more than 11,100 items. This online release presents more than 1,300 items with more than 4,000 images and a date range of 1824-1931. It includes the complete collection of Stern's contemporary newspapers, Lincoln's law papers, sheet music, broadsides, prints, cartoons, maps, drawings, letters, campaign tickets, and other ephemeral items. The books and pamphlets in this collection are scheduled for digitization at a later date.

Alfred Whital Stern (1881-1960) of Chicago presented his outstanding collection of Lincolniana to the Library of Congress in 1953. Stern began collecting in the 1920s. His collection documents the life of Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865) both through writings by and about Lincoln as well as a large body of publications concerning the issues of the times including slavery, the Civil War, Reconstruction, and related topics.

Highlights of the online collection include Lincoln's own scrapbook of the 1858 political campaign against Stephen A. Douglas; the Tiffany seed pearl necklace and bracelets that Lincoln gave to his wife, Mary Todd; a Lincoln life mask cast in bronze by Clark Mills, as well as the contents of Lincoln's pockets on the evening of his assassination. Probably the single most famous Lincoln manuscript in the collection is the January 26, 1863, letter to General Joseph Hooker, placing him in command of the Army of the Potomac.

Alfred Whital Stern's gift to the Library represents the most extensive collection of Lincolniana ever assembled by a private individual.

Below is a listing of the types of items in the Alfred Whital Stern Collection of Lincolniana.

Types of Items in the Collection Number of Items
Advertisements 302
Books   5
Broadsides 515
Correspondence 81
Ephemera 206
Government publications 33
Humor, satire 76
Legal cases and case notes 224
Letters 81
Manuscripts 298
Maps    9
Newspapers 296
Pamphlets   9
Periodicals 290
Photographs 69
Poetry 57
Portraits 336
Postcards   9
Realia 24
Sheet music 249
Speeches 27