Johns, Jane M. Correspondence, 1918 | Illinois History and Lincoln Collections
This collection contains a letter from Jane M. Johns to Clarence W. Alvord dated June 21, 1918, and Alvord's response on June 26, 1918.
Jane Martin Johns (1827-1919) was born in Ohio and moved to Decatur, Illinois, in 1854. She and her husband, Harvey C. Johns, built a farm and became a prominent family in the community. Harvey C. Johns helped organize the Illinois State Board of Agriculture. The Johns met Abraham Lincoln and Judge David Davis several times, and they were early supporters of Lincoln's presidency. Jane Johns wrote a book about living in Decatur, her acquaintance with Lincoln, and life during the Civil War. She lived in Decatur until her death at ninety-one years old.
Jane Martin Johns handwrote this letter to Clarence W. Alvord, a professor of history at The University of Illinois, on June 21, 1918. In it, she asked Alvord to edit Volume III of the Centennial History of Illinois to include a more detailed retelling of Lincoln's senatorial campaign in 1854. Of the campaign, Johns wrote that Lincoln asking his supporters to vote for Lyman Trumbull, after being unable to obtain a majority, was "the most tragic moment in; not only the history of Illinois, but in the history of the nation." Johns also argued that the event created the new Republican Party, and therefore should be explored more in the Centennial History. Alvord responded noting that the job of any historian is to tell stories as they happened and not place emphasis on events they deem to be important. He thanked Johns for her interest in the subject but stated that he believed the volume did not require further edits.
The Illinois Historical Survey, predecessor to the Illinois History and Lincoln Collections, acquired this collection prior to 1967.