School Children, Partners Surpass Goal to Purchase Historic Lincoln Document

Contributing their pennies and spare change, Sangamon County school children have raised the money required to purchase an historic Abraham Lincoln document and return it to Illinois for the state’s bicentennial celebration. State Representative Sara Wojcicki Jimenez and Illinois Bicentennial Commissioner Rikeesha Phelon announced today that children from schools throughout the county boosted by local business partners have raised, at current count, $18,031; surpassing the $15,000 needed to purchase the Minute Book of Sangamon County that includes the testament to Abraham Lincoln’s “good moral character” needed for him to begin practicing law in Illinois.

“I am so proud of our kids here in the 99th district, Sangamon County and our local community partners. Because of their hard work and generosity, today we can say ‘we did it - we are bringing a piece of Illinois history back to Sangamon County for everyone to see and hopefully to be inspired,” Representative Jimenez said.

The Minute Book of Sangamon County from July 1835 to July 1838 also includes information about some of Abraham Lincoln's first legal cases. It will arrive in Springfield very soon and will be donated to Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum.

Representative Jimenez said that children from more than 60 schools contributed their pennies and change, and they received a fundraising boost from the Sangamon County Bar Association and Staab Funeral Homes which each presented a check equal to 100,000 pennies to help with the document’s purchase. This project could not have been possible without other community partners including Bank of Springfield, Peases at Bunn Gourmet, Midwest Family Broadcasting, Looking for Lincoln, Springfield Pepsi Bottling Company, Giganti & Giganti, Staff Carpet, Midwest Office Supply, and the Illinois Bicentennial Commission.

“It is absolutely wonderful that we not only met our fundraising goal, but have surpassed it. The extra funds contributed will be put toward the preservation and display of the Minute Book at the museum,” Phelon said. “Years from now our children will take their own children to the museum, point out the Minute Book, and tell them that they were a part of bringing that document back home to Mr. Lincoln’s hometown.”

Representative Jimenez and Phelon said more announcements will be forthcoming as the Minute Book’s arrival date in Springfield approaches.