This collection consists of correspondence primarily written to William W. Orme, a lawyer and Civil War general, and David Davis, a Supreme Court Judge appointed by Abraham Lincoln, both of Bloomington, Illinois.
William W. Orme (1832-1866) lived in Bloomington, McLean County, Illinois, where he practiced law at the firm Swett & Orme with law partner Leonard Swett (1825-1881). During the Civil War, Orme entered the 94th Illinois Volunteer Infantry (known as the "McLean Regiment") and later served as brigadier general. He was a friend of David Davis, a politician and Circuit Court Judge from Bloomington, Illinois, who served on the Eighth Circuit Court, where Lincoln brought cases as a lawyer. In 1862, Davis was appointed by Lincoln to the United States Supreme Court. Both Orme and Davis were early associates and supporters of Abraham Lincoln and played an integral role in his presidential election in 1860.
This collection contains personal and political correspondence written to William W. Orme of Bloomington, Illinois. Primary correspondents are Illinois lawyers and political figures, Ward Hill Lamon, Leonard Swett, and Judge David Davis. Correspondents discussed Illinois and national politics during the Civil War, legal and business affairs, and military and personal matters. Several letters discuss the death of William McCullough, a Civil War Colonel and the father-in-law of William Orme, an event that caused Abraham Lincoln to write his famed letter to McCullough's bereaved daughter, Fanny McCullough (sister-in-law of Orme). Also included is a draft of a speech for the 1860 presidential campaign, likely written by Orme; notes on the voting records of Owen Lovejoy and Richard Yates pertaining to Illinois Black laws (1858).
The collection also includes letters written to Judge David Davis and his wife, Sarah Woodruff Walker Davis, from correspondents such as Ward Hill Lamon, Leonard Swett, Adlai and Letitia Stevenson, and Thomas Drummond. Additional letters from Adlai and Letitia Stevenson written to Colonel Wharton Green and his wife, Esther Sargent Ellery Green, are also in the collection. Box 1 contains original letters as bound by the Library, while Box 2 contains typescripts.
Lucy Orme Morgan, daughter of William W. Orme, donated the collection to the Illinois Historical Survey, predecessor to the Illinois History and Lincoln Collections, in 1930 and 1931.