One of the projects of the Works Progress Administration was the search of a number of Illinois newspapers for articles and entries relating to Abraham Lincoln from 1831 to 1865. The staff of the project examined newspapers in several Illinois depositories, including the Chicago Historical Society, the Illinois State Historical Library, the Alton Telegraph Office, the Belleville Public Library, and the Princeton Historical Society. The staff focused on the Alton Telegraph, the Alton Courier, the Illinois Journal, the Chicago Tribune, the Chicago Democrat, the Belleville Advocate, the Belleville Tribune, the Bureau County Republican, the Quincy Herald, and the Quincy Whig.
By the conclusion of the project, the staff had prepared approximately 11,500 notecards. These 3" x 5" cards, on thin paper stock, document the Lincoln entries that were found. In 1942, the Illinois State Archives distributed several sets of these cards. The set now in the Library is filed in six index card boxes, in alphabetical order by city and newspaper and then in chronological order.