Pursuant to a joint resolution of the Illinois General Assembly, the Board of Trustees of the Illinois State Historical Library undertook to determine the exact point at which the family of Abraham Lincoln entered Illinois and the route they took in traveling to Macon County. Based on research of Charles M. Thompson (Ph.D., University of Ill, 1913), the Trustees issued two reports, The Lincoln Way (1913) and Investigation of the Lincoln Way (1915).
In introducing the second report, Evarts B. Greene, president of the Board, wrote that "the long period of time which has elapsed, and the almost entire absence of first-hand documentary evidence make it impossible to indicate with certainty the details of the route actually followed." Yet he opined that the "principal stages of the journey" may be regarded "as established beyond a reasonable doubt."
The collection includes letters and clippings collected by Thompson in his research as well as affidavits, most of which are printed in the reports. Jesse W. Weik and Albert J. Beveridge are among Thompson's correspondents. Other views are represented in articles entitled "The Zig-Zag Lincoln Way" and "Bull-Prof. Still Wrong."
These items, brought together from the Illinois Historical Survey's archives, point to the "many perplexing difficulties" that Thompson confronted; and subsequent publications indicate that the matter is yet to be fully resolved.