To promote studies on Abraham Lincoln, the sixteenth president of the United States, and disseminate scholarship in the Lincoln field.
The Abraham Lincoln Association was organized in 1908 as the Lincoln Centennial Association. It led the national celebration of Lincoln's one-hundredth birthday and continued to mark that day until 1925, when Paul M. Angle became the association's first executive secretary. Under his leadership, the association began a distinguished program of research and publication, which ultimately led to many landmark contributions in the field of Lincoln scholarship.
Each year on Lincoln's birthday on February 12, the association hosts a banquet and symposium that features renowned Lincoln scholars who have presented new and exciting work concerning the sixteenth president. The symposium, which is also sponsored in part by the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency and the Illinois State Historical Library with support from the Illinois State Historical Society, is held at the Old State Capitol in Springfield, Illinois, and is free and open to the public.
The association also has a hand in publishing a number of articles, papers, and books devoted to Abraham Lincoln and his influence on the development of the United States. The Journal of the Abraham Lincoln Association, which is published through the University of Illinois Press, was started in 1987 and became a semi-annual publication in 1993. The group began publishing a quarterly newsletter called For the People in the spring of 1999. The newsletter is published for members of the association, but back issues are available on the organization's Web site.
The organization also sponsors two awards: the Logan Hay Medal and the Lincoln the Lawyer Award. The Logan Hay Medal has been awarded nine times since its establishment in 1967 to recognize individuals who have made special contributions to the observation of Lincoln's birthday, helped preserve the landmarks associated with his life, and promoted the collection and dissemination of information related to his life and career. The award is named after Logan Hay, who had an instrumental role in the association in its formative years. The purpose of the Lincoln the Lawyer Award is to honor lawyers who reflect the character and ideals of Abraham Lincoln in their careers. The association has given the award nine times since 1985.
The most recent symposium in 2002 featured the release of Ronald White Jr.'s new book, Lincoln's Greatest Speech: The Second Inaugural, published by Simon & Schuster, Inc. Allen C. Guelzo, a longtime student of the Civil War and American intellectual history, was also featured as a key speaker at the event. Guelzo, a Grace Kea Professor of American History and Dean of the Templeton Honors College at Eastern College, is currently writing a book on Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation.
The Web site of the Abraham Lincoln Association provides information on its programs and scholarship. In addition to several publications available online, the association offers an electronic version of the Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln on the site, which is searchable by keyword. The publication is a multi-volume set of Lincoln's correspondence, speeches, and other writings and was originally published by the association in 1953.
The Abraham Lincoln Association Board established an endowment fund in 1999 to support its Lincoln scholarship and other projects. Prospective donors may contact the association for instructions on how to make tax-deductible gifts to the endowment.