New collection offers insight into early Illinois
SPRINGFIELD — The Abraham Lincoln Library and Museum in Springfield has received documents tracing a southern Illinois family’s history back to the 1790s.
The library said Monday that the centerpiece of the collection is a rare 1796 atlas that family patriarch Samuel Spence brought to Illinois from Scotland in 1838. The hand-colored atlas is inscribed with notes and family history. The paperwork also includes hundreds of manuscripts, newspaper clippings and photographs about the Spence family.
Lincoln museum director Alan Lowe says the “incredible detail” sets the collection apart, offering an “in-depth picture of daily life in southern Illinois from the state’s early days to the modern era.”
The Spence family settled on the Ohio River near what is now Olmstead.
The Lincoln library also serves as the state’s historical library.