Abraham Lincoln

Here are to be found articles about Abraham Lincoln in all his aspects, living and posthumous—the man himself, Lincoln tourism, the restoration of his Springfield house and neighborhood, Lincoln scholarship, Lincoln museums, scholarly controversies about his life, his life in work in central Illinois, considerations of him as a prose artist, and reviews of books, all as they were published mainly in Illinois Issues, Illinois Times, and Chicago's Reader.


Anyone living in Springfield finds it impossible not to stumble across Lincoln, literally. My parents, recently transplanted Beardstonians, rented an apartment about a block from Lincoln home in Springfield. Years later, my morning work routines took from my office downtown past the house at the way to the founding offices of Illinois Times, which were located within the Lincoln Home National Historic Site. The Lincolns' neighborhood became as familiar to me as my own. Family history researches later took me often to the restored Old State Capitol complex, site of the "House Divided" speech. 

I made no special effort to learn about the man until I was offered a job as a tour guide at a local Lincoln site. When I was an apprentice journalist, Lincoln and the house was much debated officially. History per se had little to do with these public conversations, much less scholarship. The topic was how to better capitalize on Lincoln to boost tourism, usually with side conversations about how to get someone else to pay for it. 

As a mature journalist I wrote about him many times because there are so many Lincolns to write about. There is the official Lincoln, the popular Lincoln, the "real" Lincoln, the undiscovered Lincoln. Springfield has always thought better of itself than it deserved because he had lived there. (In fact, it was Springfield the state capital, not Springfield the town, in which Lincoln lived.) He made it a more interesting place, certainly, and I became grateful for that too. 

NOTE: For articles about non-Lincoln-related history in Illinois, click "Illinois history" on the Topics menu. A few pieces about Lincoln tourism can be found on the "Springfield" page.

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Last Among First Ladies
Reputation, reality, and Mary Todd Lincoln

Reader  January 8, 1988

The Establishment of Springfield

Is Lincoln “a special ward” of the well-to-do?

"Prejudices"  Illinois Times  February 8, 1980

The Great Enunciator

Lincoln as author

"Prejudices" Illinois Times 1992

A Bookful of Lincolns

The historians' Lincoln explained

Reader April 28, 1989

The Most Durable Ghost

Springfield and Lincoln remain strangers..

"Prejudices"  Illinois Times  February 17, 1977

Of the People and for the People—But Never Like Them

Lincoln and the Springfield democracy

"Dyspepsiana"  Illinois Times February 12, 2015

No Mere Bump on a Log

Logan Hay, once Springfield’s best-known citizen, is forgotten

"Dyspepsiana"  Illinois Times  December 21, 2017

“Someone from Outside”

Lincoln scholars

"Dyspepsiana"  Illinois Times  February 4, 2010

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Holy Inkwells

Turning Lincoln stuff into sacred relics

"Dyspepsiana"  Illinois Times  February 11, 2010

Lincoln tourism

Lincoln’s Springfield House

The Lincoln home for the automobile tourist

Adventure Road September/October 1985

A New Old Street

The NPS plans for the past of the Lincoln Home

"Dyspepsiana"  Illinois Times  January 19, 2010 

Hat Trick

What lies beneath Abe World’s Lincoln hat?

"Dyspepesiana"  Illinois Times  February 21, 2013

A Penny Here, a Penny There . . . 

Will a monumental Lincoln penny bring in tourist dollars?

"Dyspepesiana"  Illinois Times  March 14, 2013

Ghost Houses 

A plan for the Lincoln home neighborhood

"Prejudices" Illinois Times November 11, 1990

Faithful to the Period

The NPS plans the next 20 years at Lincoln’s home

"Dyspepesiana"  Illinois Times  September 2, 2010    

On Tour

My life as a guide at the Lincoln-Herndon law offices

"Dyspepesiana"  Illinois Times  November 5, 2009

Stay with Me

Enticing tourists to linger an extra night

"Dyspepesiana"  Illinois Times  December 22, 2010

Going to Mr. Lincoln's House

Authenticity and the tourist’s Lincoln

"Prejudices"  Illinois Times  February 10, 1983

Making Lincoln Come Alive

From tiny acorns Presidential libraries grow

“Prejudices”  Illinois Times  ca 1990

History By the Book

Spielberg almost gets Lincoln right

"Dyspepsiana"  Illinois Times  February 14, 2013

A Lively and Active Neighborhood

The NPS's stage-set authenticity at Lincoln's home

“Prejudices”  Illinois Times  February 11, 1982

The Old Capitol: The Higher Vaudeville

They built it; they didn’t come

"Prejudices"  Illinois Times  February 6, 1981

New Life in the Lincoln Depot

Will tourists arrive where Lincoln departed?

Illinois Times  August 4, 1978



John Hallwas

Essential for anyone interested in Illinois history and literature. Hallwas deservedly won the 2018 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Illinois State Historical Society.

Lee Sandlin Author

One of Illinois’s best, and least-known, writers of his generation. Take note in particular of The Distancers and Road to Nowhere.

Chicago Architecture Center

See Home Page/Learn/

Resources for a marvelous building database, architecture dictionary, even a city planning graphic novel. Handsome, useful—every Illinois culture website should be so good.

The Encyclopedia of Chicago


The online version of The Encyclopedia of Chicago, Crammed with thousands of topic entries, biographical sketches, maps and images, it is a reference work unmatched in Illinois.

Illinois Great Places

The Illinois chapter of the American Institute of Architects in 2018 selected 200 Great Places in Illinois that illustrate our  shared architectural culture across the entire period of human settlement in Illinois.

McLean County Museum

of History

A nationally accredited, award-winning project of the McLean County Historical Society whose holdings include more than 20,000 objects, more than 15,000 books on local history and genealogy, and boxes and boxes of historical papers and images.

Mr. Lincoln, Route 66, and Other Highlights of Lincoln, Illinois


Every Illinois town ought to have a chronicler like D. Leigh Henson, Ph.D. Not only Lincoln and the Mother road—the author’s curiosity ranges from cattle baron John Dean Gillett to novelist William Maxwell. An Illinois State Historical Society "Best Web Site of the Year."

Southern Illinois University Press

SIU Press is one of the four major university publishing houses in Illinois. Its catalog offers much of local interest, including biographies of Illinois political figures, the history (human and natural) and folklore of southern Illinois, the Civil War and Lincoln, and quality reprints in the Shawnee Classics series.

Chronicling Illinois

“Chronicling Illinois” showcases some of the collections—mostly some 6,000 photographs—from the Illinois history holdings of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library.

Illinois Digital Archives


Created in 2000, the IDA is a repository for the digital collections of the Illinois State Library and other Illinois libraries and cultural institutions. The holdings include photographs, slides, and glass negatives, oral histories, newspapers, maps, and documents from manuscripts and letters to postcards,  posters, and videos.




Southern Illinois University Press 2017

A work of

solid history, entertainingly told.

Michael Burlingame,

author of Abraham 

Lincoln: A Life 

One of the ten best books on Illinois history I have read in a decade.

Superior Achievement Award citation, ISHS Awards, 2018

A lively and engaging study

. . . an enthralling narrative.

James Edstrom

The Annals of Iowa

A book that merits the attention of all Illinois historians

as well as local historians generally.

John Hoffman

Journal of Illinois HIstory

A model for the kind of detailed and honest history other states and regions could use.

Harold Henderson 

Midwestern Microhistory

A fine example of a resurgence of Midwest historical scholarship.

Greg Hall

Journal of the Illinois

State Historical Society

Click  here 

to read about

the book 

Click  here 

to buy

the book

Contact James Krohe Jr. at CornLatitudes@outlook.com

All material Copyright © by James Krohe Jr. unless otherwise indicated