Approximately 2,500 items relating to the 16th president of the United States and the Civil War including several original letters written in Lincoln’s hand and a notebook he kept while a candidate for the U. S. Senate in 1855. In addition, the collection holds a set of the War of the Rebellion Records along with atlases and several contemporary accounts of the war among which are a manuscript diary kept by an area resident who saw action on the Mississippi and a body of correspondence between another central Illinoisan and his fiancée while the young man fought in the western theater. The largest group of material is contained in the Martin L. Houser Collection which consists of approximately 1,000 books and 300 pamphlets. Houser was widely acknowledged as a leading authority on the books read by the self-educated Lincoln from his earliest childhood. Houser collected duplicates of every book Lincoln was known to have read, always in the same edition.