By thy rivers gently flowing, Illinois, Illinois,
O’er the prairies verdant growing, Illinois, Illinois,
Comes an echo o’er the breeze.
Rustling through the leafy trees, and its mellow tones are these, Illinois…
This first verse to Illinois’s state song beautifully paints an image of the “Land of Lincoln” and why Abraham Lincoln and his family chose to settle in the Prairie State. Rivers, gentle breezes, leafy trees—abundant opportunities all there for the 16th president whose time in Illinois saw him progress from boyhood to manhood—from frontier life on a farm to his departure for city life in the White House. While Lincoln chose to settle down, marry, raise a family and buy his first house in Illinois it was the entire nation he sought to serve.
The “Land of Lincoln” is having a birthday and it’s a big one—its 200th. Previously known as the Illinois Territory, it received official statehood on December 3, 1818 when President James Monroe signed legislation designating it our nation’s 21st state. Nowhere can you learn more about Lincoln, Illinois, and their history which continues to influence the nation and the world than at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum (ALPLM).
Other iconic items preserved by the ALPLM include an 1814 issue of The Illinois Herald, the first newspaper published in the Illinois Territory; John Melish’s Map of Illinois published just prior to Illinois statehood; the Louisiana Purchase document of 1804; a receipt of Joseph Smith’s authorizing the printing of the Book of Mormon, as well as a first edition of the book itself; a portrait of Black Hawk depicting Native Americans prior to statehood and still more which tell the history of the state which four U.S. Presidents: Abraham Lincoln, Ulysses S. Grant, Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama all called home at one time in their lives.
On the advent of the Land of Lincoln’s 200th birthday and in recognition of the important role Illinois has played in shaping America and the American presidency, we invite you to make a commemorative Bicentennial gift in the amount of $200. Your gift would have major impact as it is used to further advance the ALPLM’s vital work preserving and protecting our national heritage. The ALPLM, an institution at which Lincoln’s light burns eternally bright and his hopes and dreams, even brighter, needs you. Please make your fully tax-deductible gift today. Thank you in advance for your generosity.
Carla Knorowski, Ph.D.
Chief Executive Officer