The Frank and Virginia Williams Collection of Lincolniana consists of approximately 12,000 artifacts, statuary, prints, paintings, broadsides, ephemera, photographs, philately, collectibles/miniatures, and numismatics. Materials are housed in 20 map case drawers, 30 cartons, and a variety of loose statuary, prints, and paintings. The collection also includes nearly 100 original manuscripts and the Claude Simmons collection which consists of approximately 12 bankers boxes of Lincoln related materials and scrapbooks. There are also approximately 15,000 books, journals, and pamphlets separated into two collections: the Lincoln Book Collection and the Civil War/Collateral Book Collection.
Justice Williams is a native of Rhode Island, a graduate of Boston University Law School and a long-time jurist in the Rhode Island court system. He is a veteran of the United States Army, having served three years in Germany and one year in Vietnam, and he is the founding chair of the Lincoln Forum and long-time president of the Ulysses S. Grant Association. He is a scholar whose books include, Judging Lincoln (Southern Illinois University Press, 2002) and, with Edna Greene Medford and Harold Holzer, The Emancipation Proclamation: Three Views (Louisiana State University Press, 2006). His book, Lincoln Lessons: Reflections on America's Greatest Leaders, with William D. Pederson, was published by Southern Illinois University Press in 2009 and includes a chapter by John F. Marszalek, Ulysses S. Grant Association Executive Director.
Virginia Williams was born and raised in Texas, graduating from North Texas State University. She served as a teacher overseas for the Department of Defense and then as a kindergarten teacher in the Cranston, RI, public schools for 29 years. In so doing she acquired an interest in outhouses, about which she lectures all over the country. She serves as Chair of the Museum of Primitive Art in Peacedale, RI, and as Deacon of Dunns Corner Presbyterian Church in Westerly, RI.
The digital collection features more than 1,300 cultural objects that relate to the life and presidency of Abraham Lincoln and to the Civil War. These items include digital representations of artifacts, broadsides, ephemera, paintings, photographs, prints, statuary, and textiles. Thanks to ongoing digitization efforts, digital objects are routinely added to the online collection, so users should check frequently for new items.
The Frank and Virginia Williams Collection of Lincolniana Pamphlet Digital Collection contains hundreds of original political tracts, speeches, pamphlets, broadsides, and other printed works from the 1830s to the 1920s. Included are original printings of Abraham Lincoln speeches made in the Illinois House of Representatives, copies of the Lincoln/Douglas debates, General Orders issued during the Civil War, and Republican Party tract’s organizing African American voters during Reconstruction.