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February 10, 2000

First Lady Lura Lynn Ryan To Present Documentary Edition Of Lincoln's Law Practice To Library Of Congress

WASHINGTON, D.C., -- First Lady Lura Lynn Ryan on Friday will present the Library of Congress with the first electronic copy of the most comprehensive examination of Abraham Lincoln’s legal career ever assembled.

Mrs. Ryan will present the first DVD-ROM copy of "The Law Practice of Abraham Lincoln: Complete Documentary Edition" to Dr. James Billington, the Librarian of Congress, at a special ceremony at 11 a.m. at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. The DVD set was purchased by businessman Don Jones and will be donated to the Library of Congress.

"I am pleased and proud to present this unprecedented body of Lincoln research to one of the world’s finest libraries," Mrs. Ryan said. "This is a work of international significance, and one which will also find a home in the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library that will be built in Springfield."

The DVD-ROM is the pinnacle of more than 15 years of research by The Lincoln Legal Papers, a project that has intensively researched Lincoln’s legal career and gained world-wide acclaim for shedding light on this previously little-known aspect of Lincoln’s life.

The DVD-ROM edition will be unveiled during a demonstration at 2 p.m. Friday at the Lincoln-Herndon Law Offices State Historic Site in Springfield.

"The Law Practice of Abraham Lincoln" contains more than 5,600 cases and legal matters, nearly 100,000 documents with nearly 250,000 pages, as well as a comprehensive reference section. The publication makes available for the first time the full documentation of the cases and legal actions in which Lincoln participated.

The DVD-ROM edition will be an invaluable resource for Lincoln researchers, social and legal historians, and genealogists. It will allow users to search for cases by case name, participant, date, court, legal action, or subject. Documents may be searched by type, date, author or signer.

In addition to shedding light on the significance of Lincoln’s law practice, the DVD-ROM edition will allow users to trace the formation of Illinois’ court system, research legal history and the development of law, and discover antebellum social history through court records. The edition’s reference section will help users to understand the law and its practice at the time, the locale, and the people who were Abraham Lincoln’s peers and clients.

"The Law Practice of Abraham Lincoln: Complete Documentary Edition" may be ordered for $2,000 per set by contacting the University of Illinois Press or by calling The Lincoln Legal Papers at (217) 785-9130.

The Lincoln Legal Papers was created in 1985 under the auspices of the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency to reconstruct from all surviving sources the complete documentary record of Lincoln’s 25-year legal career and to publish their findings.

The Abraham Lincoln Association and the University of Illinois at Springfield Center for Legal Studies are co-sponsors of the project. Lincoln Legal Papers staff traveled to 88 Illinois counties, many other states, and the Library of Congress as they traced Lincoln’s law practice. Staff located nearly 230 previously unknown documents written or signed by Lincoln, as well as 100,000 documents relating to 5,600 cases Lincoln or his law partners handled between 1836 and 1861. A selective four-volume printed edition will be available by 2006.


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