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Abraham Lincoln in McLean County exhibit logo
“Mr. Lincoln has been so well known personally, to so large a number of our people, and has so long been regarded as one of our own citizens, that his death seemed to fall with the most crushing severity upon our inhabitants.
— The Pantagraph, April 18, 1865, on Lincoln’s assassination

From 1837 until he left for Washington, D.C. in early 1861, Abraham Lincoln spent more time in Bloomington than anywhere else other than his hometown of Springfield.

Here he earned a living as an attorney on the Eighth Judicial Circuit, representing everyone from regular folk to powerful corporations.

Here he came to know Bloomington and its people, developing professional and personal relationships.

Here Lincoln returned to politics with renewed vigor, reawakened by the threat of slavery’s expansion.

And it was here, assisted by a group of devoted McLean County friends, that Lincoln was vaulted to national prominence as the leader of the reinvigorated anti-slavery movement – the new Republican Party.

In a black and white illustration, Lincoln wears a suit and bowtie, and sits on a chair with his arms folded and a penetrating gaze.


Co-Curated by

Bill Kemp
Susan K. Hartzold

Digital Curation by

Torii Moré

Assistance Provided by

  • Anthony Bowman
  • Tod Eagleton
  • Guy Fraker
  • Rochelle Gridley
  • Gina Hunter
  • Milan Jackson
  • Hannah Johnson
  • Greg Koos
  • Lauren Lacey 
  • Mike Matejka
  • George Perkins
  • Carol Straka
  • Candace Summers
  • Deb VanAntwerp
  • Daryl Watson
  • Beth Whisman
  • Jeff Woodard
  • Mark Wyman
  • Kate E. Kettelkamp
  • Gary Iverson

Designed by

Susan K. Hartzold

In recognition of the generous support of State Farm Insurance logo